Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Smith Barton, 29 March 1802

To Benjamin Smith Barton

Washington Mar. 29. 1802.

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 13th. came to hand on the 20th. instant only. I now inclose you, from the Secretary at war, a letter to Colo. Meigs our agent with the Cherokees, and one to yourself which may answer with those of any other nation you may chuse to visit. should you visit the Creeks, you will find them assembled in May and June1 and with them General Wilkinson, General Pickens and mr Hawkins engaged in a treaty with them. you will find these letters entirely equivalent to any which could have been written by myself. I have been obliged to adopt a rule of giving myself no letters of introduction or recommendation. it will readily occur to you to what an extent these applications would have been pushed as2 most of those who go abroad for curiosity or mercantile speculations would have found some channel for obtaining them, and they might with some young adventurers be used for improper purposes. I am in hopes we shall have the pleasure of seeing you here on your passage. you can go in the stages as far as Petersburg in Virginia, where I think you have a brother living. should you go on a higher road, Monticello will be in your way, where I shall be about the first of May. about the middle of that month I expect mr Randolph will set out for Augusta in Georgia, whom you would find a good botanising companion. I really envy you your journey; but I am a prisoner of state. I shall be glad to hear from you in every part of your journey. accept assurances of my esteem & my best wishes.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PHi); addressed: “Doctr. Benjamin S. Barton Philadelphia”; franked and postmarked; endorsed by Barton as received 1 Apr. PrC (DLC). Enclosures not found.

Barton’s BROTHER, Richard Peters Barton, lived about seven miles from Winchester, Virginia (W. L. McAtee, ed., “Journal of Benjamin Smith Barton on a Visit to Virginia, 1802,” Castanea: The Journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Club, 3 [1938], 89–90; Francis W. Pennell, “Benjamin Smith Barton as Naturalist,” APS, Proceedings, 86 [1942], 109n; New-York Spectator, 3 Feb. 1821).

1Preceding two words interlined.

2TJ here canceled “few.”

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