Thomas Jefferson Papers

Richard Claiborne to Thomas Jefferson, 29 [August] 1818

From Richard Claiborne

New Orleans apl [Aug.] 29th ’18.

Very dear Sir

Within 2 or 3 days of each other, I received your friendly favor of the 10th of May last, and one from the Marquis De Lafayette. Such a working of feelings as took place within my breast, at the occurrence, you may very well1 imagine. Reflecting too that we were among the few remaining characters of old revolutionary times, I was filled with a serious degree of melancholy. But providence disposes of things for the best. Were we to live to uncommon ages, we might meet with public mortifications we little expected. I will Say however that I shall die with one consolation, and that is, that I did live to see the 4th of March 1801!!

The enclosed paper will be continued to you until my Essay on Steam Navigation shall be finished; and when I get my plates executed, and my pamphlet published, a copy shall be sent to you. I am now going through a course [of]2 trials with my boat, which have turned out to my own satisfaction—and if I succeed in my mathematical experiments, the Invention will likely be carried up to Steam Power. “Old brooms are thrown aside, and new brooms sweep clean.”3 So it will be with the Wheel and the Duckfoot Paddle.

The Steam boats which now run in the Misisipi and its waters, are as follows:

Vesuvius 390 Tons  Besides these, many are under way in the Ohio—one built at Mobile—one preparing for Bayou Sara—and two building in New Orleans, one of 700 Tons, and the other of 500 Tons. Nay, they are springing up
Ætna 360
Orleans 324
Washington 403
Harriet 54
Buffaloe 249
Kentucky 112
Constitution 112
Govr Shelby 106
Geo. Madison 128
Vesta 203
Genl Jackson 142
Cincinnati 157
Ohio 364 like Mushrooms, every where.Would the opposers of the purchase of Louisiana, now agree to take back the purchase money, and give up the Country?—!—!
Louisiana 102
Napoleon 315
Franklin 131
James Monroe   

The City of New Orleans is very healthy.

 “Eternal sunshine rest upon thy head.”

R Claiborne

Trouble not yourself to write to me. Only suffer me [to?] make my communications to you.

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 213:37960–1); misdated; mutilated at seal; addressed: “Tho. Jefferson Esquire Monticello V.a.”; endorsed by TJ as received 29 Sept. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

TJ was sworn in as president of the United States on the 4th of march 1801.

1Manuscript: “will.”

2Omitted word editorially supplied.

3Omitted closing quotation mark editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Ætna (steamboat) search
  • American Revolution; reflections on search
  • boats; steamboats search
  • Buffalo (steamboat) search
  • Cincinnati (steamboat) search
  • Claiborne, Richard; and duck-foot paddle search
  • Claiborne, Richard; and steam navigation search
  • Claiborne, Richard; letters from search
  • Constitution (steamboat) search
  • Eagle (steamboat) search
  • Franklin (steamboat) search
  • General Jackson (steamboat) search
  • George Madison (steamboat) search
  • Governor Shelby (steamboat) search
  • Harriet (steamboat) search
  • inventions; duck-foot paddle search
  • James Monroe (steamboat) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; as president search
  • Kentucky (steamboat) search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; letters from mentioned search
  • Louisiana (steamboat) search
  • Louisiana Territory; TJ’s role in purchasing search
  • Mississippi River; and steamboats search
  • Napoleon (steamboat) search
  • New Orleans; descriptions of search
  • New Orleans; steamboats at search
  • Ohio (steamboat) search
  • Ohio River; and steamboats search
  • Orleans (steamboat) search
  • Pike (steamboat) search
  • steamboats; Ætna search
  • steamboats; Buffalo search
  • steamboats; Cincinnati search
  • steamboats; Constitution search
  • steamboats; Eagle search
  • steamboats; for U.S. river navigation search
  • steamboats; Franklin search
  • steamboats; General Jackson search
  • steamboats; George Madison search
  • steamboats; Governor Shelby search
  • steamboats; Harriet search
  • steamboats; James Monroe search
  • steamboats; Kentucky search
  • steamboats; Louisiana search
  • steamboats; Napoleon search
  • steamboats; Ohio search
  • steamboats; Orleans search
  • steamboats; Pike search
  • steamboats; Vesta search
  • steamboats; Vesuvius search
  • steamboats; Washington search
  • Vesta (steamboat) search
  • Vesuvius (steamboat) search
  • Washington (steamboat) search