Thomas Jefferson Papers

William O. Allen to Thomas Jefferson, 9 February 1810

From William O. Allen

St Louis La 9th Feby 1810.

Dr Sir,

On the 28–9 p. of the enclosed Book you will find “the Speech of Logan”—It bears date in London, 1780.

Your first addition, of the “Notes on Virginia” was, I believe, printed in Paris,—1783. A long time posterior to their appearance, the Authenticity of that much admired speech, was questioned, by the calumny, of L. Martin Esqr.

In a Subsequent addition of the Notes, I have, with great pleasure, read, proof positive, as to the certainty of, and the transactions, attendant on, Logans Speech. But Sir, I have thought, that the Vagrant production, now sent, had not found its way to your library, at the date of the last addition. For that reason, I now intrude it, on your attention.—It recently fell into my hands.

An American, a Virginian, feels proud at the recollection, of his State and Country. And, that pride, is much elevated, by the honor of calling t[he] Author, of the “Notes on Virginia” his fellow-statesman.

May you live long to injoy, the harvest sown by your exertions.

I am to you Sir, almost, a Stranger, yet your goodness will Accept, the tender of all my best Wishes: And be assured

Dr Sir, that I am, Yr Obt Hbl: St

Wm O Allens1

RC (DLC); edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Feb. but more plausibly recorded in SJL as arriving on 22 Mar. 1810. Enclosure: Sir Herbert Croft, Love & Madness, A Story too True: In a Series of Letters between Parties, whose Names would perhaps be mentioned, were they less known, or less lamented, 3d ed. (London, 1780; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4338).

William O. Allen (d. 1820), an attorney from Virginia, moved to Louisiana Territory in the spring of 1809. He unsuccessfully sought an appointment as a territorial judge in 1811 and served as a captain in the United States Army, 1812–18. Allen was appointed a brigadier general of the Arkansas militia in September 1819 (but posthumously rejected for the post by the United States Senate), won an election to represent Arkansas County in the territorial house of representatives two months later, and was mortally wounded in a duel the following March (Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 160; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:247, 249, 3:198, 206–7 [8, 13 Apr. 1812, 9 Feb., 5, 12 Apr. 1820]; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 14:481–3; Robert L. Meriwether and others, eds., The Papers of John C. Calhoun [1959–2003], 2:348; Lonnie J. White, Politics on the Southwestern Frontier: Arkansas Territory, 1819–1836 [1964], 23, 28; Arkansas Gazette, 25 Mar. 1820).

TJ’s Notes on the State of Virginia was first printed in Paris in 1785, not 1783. The Maryland Federalist Luther Martin, whose father-in-law, Michael Cresap, had been accused of responsibility for the murder of the Mingo Indian James Logan’s family in 1774 by TJ in the Notes, began attacking the authenticity of Logan’s much admired speech in the newspapers in June 1797. In 1800 TJ published an appendix to his work containing what he regarded as proof positive that the speech was genuine (Notes, ed. Peden description begins Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden, 1955 description ends , 63, 234, 244–6, 250, 253–4, 298, 300; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 29:408–10, 452–5).

1Thus in manuscript and so endorsed by TJ. A later signature and all secondary sources agree on “Allen.”

Index Entries

  • Allen, William O.; and Logan’s speech search
  • Allen, William O.; identified search
  • Allen, William O.; letters from search
  • Cresap, Michael search
  • Croft, Sir Herbert; Love & Madness, A Story too True search
  • Indians; Mingo search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on the State of Virginia search
  • Logan, James (ca.1725–80) (Mingo Indian); speech of search
  • Love & Madness, A Story too True (Croft) search
  • Martin, Luther search
  • Mingo Indians search
  • Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson); and Native Americans search