Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Barnes, 24 September 1802

From John Barnes

George Town 24th. Septr 1802


Nothing of moment transpires at Washington, since 21st: when I had the pleasure of Answering your favr. 17th.—Mr LeMaire, tho weak, is recruiting fast,—by the time of your expected & welcome return will, I hope be perfectly reinstated in his health.

respecting late rumours—the rising of the Negroes here: I judge it proper to inform, (lest you may have heard some imperfect Accts.)—

It has subsided,—a few nightly patrols—and other necessary precautions, have guarded against any fatal consequences, which might otherwise have insued—. the most probable conjectures are—that the idle, and worthless, of both: Whites & Blacks,—whose sole business is plunder—would, at a fit opporty. have set fire, to some distant, Building while, they plundered others, in the confused state of the Town—for, I cannot think it probable—or possible, that any regular system, of combination, & subordination could be formed, by these scattered, distressed, objects both, of pity, and contempt.

with the highest Respect—I am Sir, your most Obed. H Servt:

John Barnes

RC (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); at foot of text: “The President, U, States at Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Sep. and so recorded in SJL.

Writing James Madison on 21 Sep., State Department clerk Daniel Brent reported on the rumored RISING OF THE NEGROES in Georgetown that took place on 19 Sep.: “You will probably hear of the alarm which prevailed in Geo. Town on Sunday night, last, from the discovery of a supposed design on the part of the Negroes there to burn down the town, and of the very serious measures that were taken to prevent the execution of this design— in arming the Militia, and keeping them all night on guard. It gives me pleasure to inform you, after a full examination has been had into all the Circumstances of the supposed plot, that there appears now to have been no cause for serious alarm—tho’ a few worthless fellows have been committed to prison under appearances of rather a suspicious cast, but not implicating such extensive, or any immediate, mischief, and Mr J. T. Mason has actually sold the reputed leader of the Party to some Georgia men, under the same appearances. The alarm, I believe, has entirely ceased” (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 3:596).

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