Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Levi Lincoln, [on or after 30 April 1802]

To Levi Lincoln

[on or after 30 Apr. 1802]

The Attorney general will be pleased to carry into execution the inclosed resolution of the Senate of Apr. 30. respecting the claims of John Cleves Symmes.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); undated. Enclosure not found, but see below.

A 30 Apr. RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE requested that the president direct the attorney general to examine the 1788 contract between the United States and JOHN CLEVES SYMMES for a grant of land in the Northwest Territory. Lincoln was to report his findings at the next session of the Senate, together with his opinion as to whether Symmes “has any claims, and what, upon the United States, in virtue of the said contract, or any other contract, or law predicated upon the same.” Symmes sought a patent for additional lands in the Northwest Territory that he claimed were still due to him under the 1788 contract. In his report to the Senate, presented on 28 Jan. 1803, Lincoln concluded that Symmes “appears to have no claims on the government, founded on a legal right, or on a particular equity growing out of a fair and reasonable construction of his contract” (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:228–9, 257; Beverley W. Bond, Jr., ed., The Correspondence of John Cleves Symmes, Founder of the Miami Purchase [New York, 1926], 20–1; Levi Lincoln, Report of the Attorney General, on the Contract with John C. Symmes: In Pursuance of the Resolution of the Senate, of 30th April Last [Washington, D.C., 1803], 23).

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