Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Darby, 22 June 1817

To William Darby

Monticello June 22. 17.

I thank you, Sir, for the copy of your Description of Louisiana which you have been so kind as to send me. it arrives in the moment of my departure on a journey of considerable absence. I shall avail myself of the first moments of leisure after my return to read it, & doubt not I shall recieve from it both pleasure and information. the labors of an oppressive correspondence reduce almost to nothing the moments I can devote to reading. Accept the assurance of my great respect & consideration.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. the Rio Norte is unquestionably the Western limit of Louisiana, and is so claimed by us.

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; at foot of text: “Mr William Darby”; endorsed by TJ. Printed in Darby, A Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana (2d ed., New York, 1817), 336.

In the 1816 first edition of his Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana, which he had recently sent TJ, Darby asserted that the southwestern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase was based on the place on the Gulf of Mexico where René Robert Cavelier de La Salle had landed in the 1680s (p. 11). For TJ’s explanation of his belief that the Rio Grande (also called the Río Bravo del norte) was the correct western boundary, see TJ to John Melish, 31 Dec. 1816.

Index Entries

  • A Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana (W. Darby) search
  • Darby, William; A Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana search
  • Darby, William; letter to search
  • La Salle, René Robert Cavelier de; and settlement of La. search
  • Louisiana (state); works on search
  • Louisiana Territory; boundaries of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search