Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memorial of the Kentucky Legislature, 1 December 1802

Memorial of the Kentucky Legislature

[1 Dec. 1802]

The Memorial

Of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Having on a former occasion, when we represented the obstructions to the Navigation of the river Mississippi, experienced the attention and justice of the General Government, in providing by a treaty with the court of Spain, not only for the free navigation of that river, but for what, in our remote situation from the ocean was absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of it, a place of deposit for our produce.—We deem it necessary barely to state to you, that by an infraction of that treaty, we are deprived of these advantages, in violation of the treaty between the United States and the King of Spain, concluded at San Lorenzo el Real, in October 1795. The Intendant of the Port of New-Orleans has by a proclamation of the 18th of October last, forbidden American Citizens to deposit their merchandizes and effects in the said Port, without having assigned to the United States an equivalent establishment on another part of the banks of the Mississippi.

We rely with confidence on your wisdom and justice, and pledge ourselves to support, at the expense of our lives and fortunes, such measures as the honor, and interest of the United States may require.

Printed copy (DNA: RG 46, LPPMRSL, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); date supplied (see below); at head of text: “To the President of the United States, and the Senate and House of Representatives of Congress”; endorsed by a clerk. Printed copy; by Duane and Son by order of the Senate, 28 Dec.; Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819, New York, 1958-63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 3293.

rely with confidence: a pair of resolutions unanimously adopted by the Kentucky House of Representatives on 1 Dec. accompanied the memorial. The first resolution declared that the barring of U.S. citizens from the right of deposit at New Orleans without naming another site was “a direct infraction of the treaty of friendship limits and navigation, concluded in October 1795, between the United States and the king of Spain.” The second resolve asked the governor to forward the memorial to the Kentucky senators and representatives in Congress, “to be by them presented to the President of the United States; the Senate and House of Representatives of Congress” (Tr in DNA: RG 46, LPPMRSL; printed copies in same and Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819, New York, 1958-63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 3293). John Breckinridge presented the resolutions and memorial to the Senate on 24 Dec., and Thomas T. Davis presented the materials to the House of Representatives on 28 Jan. 1803 (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820-21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:248; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:312). TJ probably saw the memorial by 17 Dec. On that day Samuel Harrison Smith published the resolutions and the memorial in the National Intelligencer, and Madison enclosed them in a letter to Robert R. Livingston. The secretary of state also mentioned the memorial in a dispatch to Rufus King on 23 Dec. John Graham of the American legation in Madrid saw the “very solemn address from the Legislature of Kentucky” in newspapers by 8 Feb. (Madison, Papers 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 , Sec. of State Ser., 4:198, 216, 311; TJ to James Garrard, 18 Jan.).

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