Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Henry Harrison, 16 January 1806

Washington Jan. 16. 06.

Dear Sir

Your several unacknoleged letters of June 18. Aug. 29. Nov. 12. & 20. prove me an unpunctual correspondent. it is not because I do less than I might do, but that there is more than I can do. I will now summarily reply to their several articles. and first I pray you to deliver to the legislature the inclosed letter in answer to the Address they favored me with. of the two persons chosen to supply the place of mr Hay in the legislative council, I nominated mr Bond, which nomination has been with others 3 weeks before the Senate. so has that of judge Griffin for the Michigan territory. I am told it is doubtful whether the Senate will confirm this last. I have earnestly inculcated the necessity of raising the salaries of the territorial governors & judges, and it will be attempted this session; but with what success is very doubtful.

the British have clearly no right to trade with the Indians in Louisiana. it is therefore decided to keep that trade to ourselves as the only means of governing those Indians peaceably this will render it important to be particularly friendly to the Sacs, Foxes, Kickapoos, Sioux, & other Indians residing on the borders between the British & us; and by taking their pelts & furs at higher prices, & selling them goods at lower prices than the trade will bear without loss, to let them see their own interest in an exclusive adhesion to us. what we lose with them, we must make up from other quarters, our principle being neither to gain nor lose on the whole Indian trade taken together. the late stroke of the Poutewatamis on the Osages must be strongly reprimanded, and no exertion spared to recover & restore the prisoners & make satisfaction for the killed. the Indians on this side the Missisipi must understand that that river is now ours, & is not to be a river of blood. if we permit those on this side to cross it to war against the other side, we must permit the other side to come over to this for revenge. the safety of our settlements will not admit of this. and in the present case of the Poutewatamies they should be made to understand that unless they make to the Osages every satisfaction in their power, & satisfy us they will cease crossing the Missipi to war on nations which never injured them, we may give a free passage & support to the Osages to come over and take such revenge as will glut them. but it is from the Secretary at war that you will recieve what is to be considered as official, & as your guide in this business. among the Misipi Indians now here, is one Poutawatami chief. nothing has yet been said to him on this subject, but some explanations will take place before he leaves us, which probably will not be till late in February. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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