Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the House of Representatives, 5 January 1803

To the House of Representatives

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives

Agreeably to the request of the House of Representatives I now transmit a statement of the militia of those states from which any returns have been made to the War-office. they are, as you will percieve, but a small proportion of the whole.   I send you also the copy of a circular letter written some time since for the purpose of obtaining returns from all the states. should any others, in consequence of this be made during the session of Congress, they shall be immediately communicated.

Th: Jefferson

Jan. 5. 1803.

RC (DNA: RG 233, PM, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); endorsed by a House clerk. PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL with notation “statement of Militia.” Enclosures: (1) “Return of the Militia of the respective States in the Union, rendered agreeably to the resolution of the Honorable the House of Representatives of the United States, of the 20th day of December, 1802,” dated War Department, 29 Dec. 1802, and signed by Henry Dearborn, compiling into tables returns made by each state and territory for general and field staff, field officers and regimental staff, artillery, cavalry, grenadiers, infantry, light infantry, riflemen, and arms, ammunition, and accoutrements; returns for New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee are blank; the report also includes a note stating: “Those States which are left blank in the above return, have failed to furnish this department with the annual statement, required by the Act of the 8th of May, 1792. It may be proper further to remark, that the returns from some of the States comprised in the above, from the want of regular Regimental returns, do not exhibit the whole military strength of the State. Others are defective in not designating the different species of troops, of which the Militia of the State is composed, the whole being embraced in the column headed ‘Infantry.’ ” (2) Circular letter from the War Department to the governors of the states and territories, calling their attention to section ten of the 8 May 1792 act of Congress that requires the submission of annual militia returns to the president; the letter adds that it would be “very desirable” and “highly important” to receive this information and asks the governors to give the necessary directions for carrying the law into effect; a form is also enclosed “for the purpose of introducing and preserving uniformity in the returns” (both printed in Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting a Statement of the Militia of Those States from which Any Returns Have Been Made to the War Office [Washington, D.C., 1803], 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. 5369).

request of the house: on 20 Dec. 1802, the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on the president “to direct the proper officer to lay before this House a statement of the militia, according to the returns last received from the respective States” (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:255).

The House received TJ’s message and its accompanying papers on 5 Jan. and referred them to the committee appointed on 17 Dec. 1802 to consider the portions of TJ’s annual message relating to the militia. TJ forwarded additional militia returns to the House on 1 Mch. (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:267; TJ to the House of Representatives, 1 Mch. 1803).

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