Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Ephraim Kirby, 14 December 1803

From Ephraim Kirby

Natchez, Mississippi Territory
Decemr 14th. 1803


I avail myself of the first moment to announce my arrival, with my associate (Mr Nicholas) at this place. It is not from any defect in reasonable calculation, or want of proper exertion, that has prevented our being at the place assigned for the discharge of our official duty on the first of the present month. I commenced my journey in the month of Septemr and have been twelve weeks pursuing it with indefatigable industry. Advers winds, and the uncommon lowness of the waters, which presented impediments unforeseen and almost insurmountable retarded our progress beyond all calculation. More time must necessarily be consumed before we can reach Fort Stodard. Should it be deemed necessary that a legislative act be passed, extending the time for claimants to make entry at the Registers Office in the county of Washington, I hope this communication will reach the seat of Government in season for that purpose.

I have the honor to be, with great respect Your Obedt Servt

Ephm Kirby

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the U. States”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Jan. 1804 and so recorded in SJL.

time for claimants to make entry: according to the act of 3 Mch. 1803, the commissioners were to meet from 1 Dec. 1803 to 1 Apr. 1804 “and until they shall have completed the business of their appointment” (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855-56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:229, 231; Vol. 40:557).

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