Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on Actions for the War Department, 10 November 1801

Notes on Actions for the War Department

Nov. 10. War. Monsr. Lorimier’s conduct in procuring delivery of the two Delawares who murdd Harrison
Secy. of state to write letter of acknolmt to Chevr. Yrujo.
Secy. at war send copy of that to Lorimier with letter of thanks.
a talk & a medal to the chief of the Delawares (Loups) Takinowtha or Capt Allen.
write to Govr. Harrison

Eli Whitney’s arms to be preferred.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 118:20350); entirely in TJ’s hand; possibly noting a conversation with Henry Dearborn or topics that TJ intended to discuss with Dearborn or the cabinet; this is the first of a series of notes TJ wrote on both sides of one sheet, printed in this volume as Notes on the Bank of the United States and Internal Revenues, [10 Nov.]; Notes on Circuit Court Cases, 12 Nov.; Notes on a Consultation with Robert Smith, 15 Nov.; and Notes on the Funded Debt, [15 Nov. 1801 or after].

Monsr. Lorimier’s Conduct: Louis Lorimier, a French Canadian who had become a naturalized Spanish subject, was a trader, Indian agent, and militia commander at Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi River (Louis Houck, A History of Missouri from the Earliest Explorations and Settlements until the Admission of the State into the Union, 3 vols. [Chicago, 1908; repr. New York, 1971], 2:170–79; Louis Houck, ed., The Spanish Régime in Missouri, 2 vols. [Chicago, 1909; repr. New York, 1971], 2:43, 47, 52, 322).

According to testimony in a trial held in Indiana Territory, Jesse Harrison was robbed and killed after he encountered three Native Americans who were hunting near the Ohio River. Two of the Indians were caught, and one of them, Johnny, gave testimony that led to the conviction of the other, Wapikinamouk, who was hanged for the crime. Letter of Thanks: on 30 Nov., Henry Dearborn wrote to John H. Buell asking him to convey to Captain Lorimier the gratitude of the United States for his assistance in the apprehension of the two individuals. Dearborn praised “the prompt and persevering attention of his Catholic Majesty’s Officer to the Political and friendly relations subsisting between his Majesty and the United States.” Writing to William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory, on 22 Dec., Dearborn asked the governor to inform the chief of the Delawares, “whose conduct appears to have been fair and honourable,” that the president “has a high opinion of his integrity and good conduct.” Dearborn suggested that Harrison might give the chief “some present as a token of our good opinion of him” (New-York Herald, 2 Jan. 1802; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 7:37–8; Dearborn to Buell, 30 Nov. 1801, DNA: RG 75, LSIA; William Henry Harrison to Dearborn, 22 Oct., 3 Dec. 1801, noted in DNA: RG 107, RLRMS).

Following their migration to the Ohio Valley from the seaboard in the eighteenth century, the Algonquian tribes known in English as the Delawares, and groups associated with them such as the Mahicans and Munsees, were sometimes called Loups, a label the French had also given to other tribes in the colonial period (Sturtevant, Handbook description begins William C. Sturtevant, gen. ed., Handbook of North American Indians, Washington, 1978–, 14 vols. description ends , 15:71, 204–5, 213, 592).

TJ reportedly examined a sample of Eli Whitney’s arms and his system of interchangeable parts in January 1801, in the presence of the inventor and Congressman Elizur Goodrich of Connecticut. According to Goodrich, following a “very critical survey & examination,” TJ declared that “he had in no instance seen any work or specimens equal to Mr. Whitney’s.” The only exception TJ offered was the factory of French gunmaker Honoré Blanc, which also employed interchangeable parts, but “Mr. Whitney equalled his specimens” (Mirsky and Nevins, Eli Whitney description begins Jeannette Mirsky and Allan Nevins, The World of Eli Whitney, New York, 1952 description ends , 207–9; Vol. 8:455).

On 9 Nov., TJ received from Henry Dearborn an unsigned and undated memorandum giving numbers of noncommissioned and enlisted personnel of the army, based on the “last Genl. Return of the Army” in August 1801. Dearborn indicated that the number of noncommissioned officers, musicians, and privates, “including Artificers,” was 4,195; the total authorized by law was 5,036; and “the proposed establishment,” probably a figure that TJ and Dearborn had discussed as a goal, was 3,210. Dearborn also noted: “each company to consist of 72 rank & file.—exclusive of Sergeants & music” (MS in DLC: TJ Papers, 116:19957; entirely in Dearborn’s hand; endorsed by TJ as received from the War Department on 9 Nov. with notation “Military establishment” and so recorded in SJL).

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