19 March 1806
I enclose three letters from Mr Thompson Register of Oppelousas; the last received this morning & the two others last week, but yet unanswered.
There are these points which seem to require consideration—
1. to extend the time for filing claims, which I think ought to be done & may be proposed to the land committee.
2. the great extent of the district & the distance of Washita & other counties from Opelousas—But how is that to be remedied? by making the Commissioners go from County to county; or by erecting a new district?
3. the purchase from Indians. I think that the case is so clear that no legislative interference is necessary, and that an instruction to the Commissrs. which indeed Thompson seems to request will be sufficient.
If there are any other points which should require legislative provisions, be pleased to state them as I may lay the whole subject, before the land committee. In relation to the first point abovementioned, it seems to me that the prolongation of time should extend only to the two districts of the territory of Orleans & not to upper Louisiana.
The anonymous letter is retained. Magruder is not one of the commissrs., but only agent of the U.S. to oppose fraudalent claims. The board consists of Thompson, Vacher, & Parmalye; so that we are certain of a sound majority. Vacher was recommended by J. Brown of Kentucky & some other persons from N. York whom I do not recollect; but his principal recommendation was knowledge of the French language. Magruder is certainly a man of talents; but Mr Breckenridge who recommended him acknowledged that he had been intemperate, tho’ he believed he had reformed. I would propose that either Parmalye or Thompson should be requested confidentially to state how both Vacher & Magruder behave, and to decide on their report. Considering our critical situation in that quarter, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the demeanor of our officers and to do what we can to conciliate the inhabitants.—
Respectfully Your obedt. Sert.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.