Thomas Jefferson Papers

George Flower to Thomas Jefferson, 12 August 1817

From George Flower

Princetown Indiana1 30 miles south of Vincennes
Aug’t 12. 1817

Dear Sir

We have terminated a prosperous tho’ laborious journey to this place.   Since our families have been stationary Mr Birkbeck & myself have explored the southern part of the Illinois territory & have enter’d lands at the Shawnee Town office; in an agreable prarie country between the Big & Little Wabash.   Well satisfied as we are with this new country, we lament the impossibility of our friends & countrymen settling around us from the daily entries that are made by americans to lands adjacent to our choice.

Among the numbers who are disposed to emigrate from Great Britain many respectable cultivators have express’d a wish to reside in the neighbourhood of our settlement if a sufficient scope of land could be obtained upon2 favourable terms.

We wish to make a proposal to the Government to the following effect.   That we may be allowed to purchase a tract of land in the Illinois Territory under favourable terms as to price & time of payment for the purpose of introducing a colony of English Farmers.   For the advice which you may give us as to the mode of prosecuting our plan, or any assistance you may afford us that would not be attended with too much trouble to yourself, we should be particularly thankful.

The interest we take in the object I3 have mentioned is my only apology for adding one letter to the pile of extranious correspondence which is heaped upon you so unmercifully.

With the best wishes for your health and that of the family at Monticello

I remain with the greatest respect & esteem Yrs &ctr

George Flower

P. S. Our Letters are at present address’d to us at the Post Office Vincennes.

RC (MHi); postscript on verso of address leaf; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia”; address partially canceled and redirected in an unidentified hand to Lynchburg; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Cincinnati, 23 Aug., and Charlottesville, 6 Sept.; endorsed by TJ as received <12> 11 Sept. 1817 and recorded under the earlier date in SJL.

On 20 Nov. 1817 Flower’s partner Morris Birkbeck made an unsuccessful proposal to Congress to purchase a tract of land in Illinois Territory for their proposed English settlement (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 , 17:545–6; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States description ends , 11:60 [18 Dec. 1817]; Flower, History of the English Settlement in Edwards County Illinois, Founded in 1817 and 1818, by Morris Birkbeck and George Flower [1882], 81–3).

1Word interlined.

2Flower here canceled “reasonable.”

3Reworked from “we.”

Index Entries

  • Birkbeck, Morris; and settlement in U.S. search
  • Congress, U.S.; petitions to search
  • Flower, George; and settlement in U.S. search
  • Flower, George; letter from search
  • Illinois Territory; immigration to search