Thomas Jefferson Papers

II. Jefferson’s Reply, 7 January 1802

II. Jefferson’s Reply

Brothers & friends of the Miamis,
Poutewatamies & Weeauhs.

I recieve with great satisfaction the visit you have been so kind as to make us at this place, and I thank the great spirit who has conducted you to us in health and safety. it is well that friends should sometimes meet, open their minds mutually, and renew the chain of affection. made by the same great spirit, and living in the same land with our brothers the red men, we consider ourselves as of the same family; we wish to live with them as one people, and to cherish their1 interests as our own. the evils which of necessity encompass2 the life of man are sufficiently numerous. why should we add to them by voluntarily3 distressing & destroying one another? peace, brothers, is better than war. in a long & bloody war, we lose many friends, and gain nothing. let us then live in peace and friendship together, doing to each other all the good we can. the wise and good on both sides desire this, and we must take care that the foolish and wicked among us shall not prevent it. on our part, we shall endeavor in all things to be just & generous towards you, and to aid you in meeting those difficulties which a change of circumstances is bringing on. we shall with great pleasure see your people become disposed to cultivate the earth to raise herds of the useful animals, and to spin and weave, for their food & clothing. these resources are certain: they will never disappoint you. while those of hunting may fail, and expose your women & children to the miseries of hunger & cold. we will with pleasure furnish you with implements for the most necessary arts, and with persons who may instruct you how to make and use them.

I consider it as fortunate that you have made your visit at this time when our wise men from4 the sixteen states are collected together in council, who being equally disposed to befriend you can strengthen our hands in the good we all wish to render you.

The several matters you opened to us in your speech the other day, and those on which you have since conversed with the Secretary at war, have been duly considered by us. he will now deliver answers, and you are to consider what he says, as if said by myself, and that what we promise we shall faithfully perform.

Th: Jefferson
Jan. 7. 1802.

MS (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 75, LSIA); in a clerk’s hand; at head of text: “Brothers and Friends of the Miamis, Pottowattama and Weas”; other significant variations are noted below; follows Document I in Lb; marginal notation by clerk indicating that Dearborn’s reply (Document III) should follow this document in sequence. Printed in National Intelligencer, 12 Feb. 1802, following Document I; at head of text: “ANSWER Of the President, delivered January 7, 1802.” Recorded in SJL with notation “speech.”

1Word interlined in place of “your.”

2FC and National Intelligencer: “accompanies.”

3TJ first wrote “to them voluntarily by” before altering the passage to read as above.

4FC and National Intelligencer: “for.”

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