Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Lot Merkel, 30 April 1806

Washington Apr. 30. 06.


Your letter of Dec. 19. came to me in due time, but the pressure of business during the session of Congress put it out of my power to acknowlege the reciept of it. it contains instructive details for which I thank you. the acquisition of Louisiana has opened a most extensive field for commerce in furs & peltries to the citizens of the US. and it is much our desire to exclude from it all foreign subjects, because we find that they poison the minds of the Indians towards the US. render them discontented & hostile. we extremely wish therefore that our own merchants would turn their attention to this commerce. selling to the Indian more reasonably than has hitherto been done (which is necessary to reconcile them to the exclusion of foreign traders) there might yet be as handsome a profit made as any other branch of our business yields and with less risk. the government proposes to establish factories on the Western margin of the Missisipi, but would gladly consign all the country beyond that, & especially up the Missouri to private merchants, & extend their patronage to their interests. supposing your knowledge of this subject might give you occasions of making this known to merchants likely to engage in it, I have availed myself of this occasion of endeavoring to get the matter suggested to them. accept my salutations & assurances of respect.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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