Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Garrard, 30 November 1802

From James Garrard

State of Kentucky, Frankfort Novr. 30 1802


Two days ago I received the inclosed letters from Doctr James Speed, and Meeker & Co. from New Orleans; together with a copy of a proclamation issued by Juan Ventura Morales Intendant of the Spanish Government of Louisiana; and which I do myself the honor to inclose, for your information. The Citizens of this State are very much alarmed and agitated; as this measure of the Spanish government will (if not altered) at one blow cut up the present and future prospects of their best interests by the roots. To you Sir, they naturally turn their eyes, and on your attention to this important subject, their best hopes are fixed. Permit me to request, you will give me information on this business, as soon as you can say with certainty what we may rely on, and let my solicitude on this occasion, be my apoligy for this request.

With sentiments of respect &c

signed James Garrard

Tr (DNA: RG 233, PM, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); in a clerk’s hand; at head of text: “The Governor of Kentucky to the President of the U States (Copy).” Enclosures: (1) James Speed to Garrard, 18 Oct., New Orleans, sending a copy of Juan Ventura Morales’s proclamation, “which did not issue till this evening”; asserting that if the decree “does not amount to a declaration of war, with the worst consequences to individuals, none of us here understand it. The people of the Mississippi territory will immediately feel its effects, and when to their indignation is joined that of our countrymen in the spring, God knows how it may be possible to prevent hostilities”; with a postscript of 19 Oct. stating that an application to land American property has been denied, and that according to rumor, a second decree will be issued to prohibit U.S. citizens from residing at New Orleans longer than 40 days and to bar American vessels (printed in New York American Citizen, 22 Dec., with incorrect date of 13 Oct.). (2) Meeker, Williamson & Patton to Garrard, 18 Oct., New Orleans, informing him of the intendant’s decree (printed in same). (3) Proclamation by Morales, 16 Oct. (see John Brown to TJ, 26 Nov.). Enclosed in TJ to the House of Representatives, 22 Dec.

James Garrard (1749–1822), a native of Stafford County, Virginia, was a militia officer, landowner, distiller, salt manufacturer, and Baptist minister before becoming governor of Kentucky in a controversial election in 1796. He won a second term in 1800. As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1786, he supported TJ’s bill for religious freedom. Garrard was also an advocate of gradual abolition (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ).

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