Thomas Jefferson Papers

Josephus B. Stuart to Thomas Jefferson, 27 January 1818

From Josephus B. Stuart

Albany, January 27th 1818.

Honored Sir.

In inclosing you Mr Clintons address to the Legislature, it is with great pleasure I avail myself of the opertunity to renew to you the assurances of my lasting respect & esteem.

Shortly after I had the Honor to recieve your friendly letter of the 5th of May last; I proceeded to Ohio, where I made extensive, & I trust advantagious purchases of the public Lands. I have already, Mills in operation in the vicinity of Fort-Meigs,—a verry large Commercial & Mechanical establishment at Sandusky, & am now building near Buffalo a Steam Boat of 400 tons burthen, intinded to commence runing on the 1st of June next, from thence to Detroit; touching at all the intermediate ports—ascending the Sandusky 40 miles, & the Miami of the Lakes 12 miles. I mention these little circumstances, solely with the view to make you acquainted with the improvements going on in that portion of the interior of our Country.

In conjunction with Messrs Brown & McQueen of New York, I am building a Steam Boat of 500 tons, in which I intend to visit Europe. She will be ship built & rigged,—Her Machinery, placed between the fore & main Masts, under Deck:—with a verry powerfull Engine; & fitted up to accommodate 75 passengers in elegant stile.

I may be too sanguine, but I hope to make my passage from New York to London, in 14 days, & to return in 20. Should she make a successfull voyage out,—I shall exhibit her in the principal sea ports of Europe, where she cannot fail to make a strong impression in favor of the genius & enterprize of our Nation.

I sincerly lament the loss of our mutual friend Dr Wistar.

With sentiments of great respect & esteem, I have, the Honor, to remain most Sincrly Yours.

J, B, Stuart.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Honble Th: Jefferson. Monticello va”; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Feb. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Dewitt Clinton’s gubernatorial address to the New York legislature, 27 Jan. 1818, stating that it was the responsibility of government “to superintend and advance the interests of Agriculture” (p. 4); stressing the importance of improving New York’s waterways, roads, and canals; espousing the benefits of the Lancasterian system of education; proposing significant tax cuts and the reduction of the state debt; recommending militia reform and increased military preparedness; suggesting the more widespread use of solitary confinement in New York penitentiaries; submitting that, while “the unfortunate debtor” should not be incarcerated, “rigorous provisions ought to be adopted for the punishment of fraud”; arguing that current policy toward the poor encouraged pauperism by taxing the industrious “for the support of an idle beggar,” a situation that might be alleviated by reducing charitable expenditures and implementing a program of “coercive labor” (p. 11); deploring the depredations committed against the Indians residing in the state and calling for their better protection; declaring that the large number of New York institutions issuing banknotes led to the “banishment of metalic money, the loss of commercial confidence, the exhibition of fictitious capital, the increase of civil prosecutions, the multiplication of crimes, the injurious enhancement of prices, and the dangerous extension of credit” (p. 12); and laying various papers before the legislature for its attention during the coming session (Journal of the Senate of the State of New-York [1818 sess.], 4–13; also printed in Albany Gazette & Daily Advertiser, 28 Jan. 1818, and other newspapers; possibly Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 689]).

TJ’s letter to Stuart of the 5th of may last was actually dated 10 May 1817. With its launch in May 1818 and maiden voyage late that summer, the Walk-in-the-Water, a boat of 400 tons burthen, became the first steam-powered vessel on Lake Erie (John B. Mansfield, ed., History of the Great Lakes [1899], 1:593). The miami of the lakes was the Maumee River.

Index Entries

  • Atlantic Ocean; passage across search
  • banks; currency issued by search
  • banks; in New York search
  • boats; steamboats search
  • Brown, Noah; and steamboats search
  • canals; in N.Y. search
  • Clinton, DeWitt; gubernatorial addresses of search
  • currency; metallic search
  • debt, private; imprisonment for search
  • debt, public; reduction of search
  • education; Lancasterian system search
  • Fort Meigs (Ohio) search
  • Indians, American; depredations against search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Lake Erie; steamboats on search
  • Lancaster, Joseph; educational system of search
  • machines; steam engine search
  • McQueen, Robert; and steamboats search
  • militia; of N.Y. search
  • New York (state); and canals search
  • New York (state); banks in search
  • New York (state); debts of search
  • New York (state); education in search
  • New York (state); Indians in search
  • New York (state); legislature of search
  • New York (state); militia of search
  • New York (state); poor of search
  • New York (state); prisons in search
  • New York (state); roads in search
  • New York (state); taxes in search
  • roads; in N.Y. search
  • steamboats; for transatlantic travel search
  • steamboats; Walk-in-the-Water search
  • steam engines search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; and C. Wistar search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; and steamboats search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; business ventures of search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; letters from search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; sends works to TJ search
  • Stuart, Josephus Bradner; travels of search
  • taxes; in N.Y. search
  • United States; and public lands search
  • Walk-in-the-Water (steamboat) search
  • Wistar, Caspar; death of search