5 Jan. 1807
Observations on Soulard’s letter &c.
These documents shew
1st. that Trudeau had left blank concessions & that these, tho’ issued only in 1802-1803 by Soulard to Austin, were antedated being made to bear date of 1798; and the petition or requête prefixed to the concession being also antedated—See letter of Soulard to Wilkinson & No. 5
2dly that Soulard was in the habit of antedating his surveys making them bear, as he states in No. 8, the date of the concession or order of survey tho in fact executed several years afterwards—which, even if innocently done, destroys the authenticity of the records of surveys & every check on antedated concessions which might be derived from the survey’s date.
3dly. that secret transactions as Mr Soulard calls them may have taken place in relation to lands under the Spanish authority, in which Mr Soulard as a public officer under that Govt. has participated, or which have come to his knowledge. And that Mr Soulard is willing to answer upon oath respecting facts or things (which are not his private cause) done subsequent to the delivery of Louisiana to the United States; but refuses formally & invariably to answer on oath to all questions concerning things transacted under the Spanish authority, in which he may have participated in his capacity of Surveyor General under the Spanish Government—See No. 7
If the President has not time to read the whole, Nos. 7 & 8, any one of the papers under file No. 5, & the introductory letter of Soulard to Wilkinson will be sufficient—On No. 1 being Austin’s declaration, as it is partly contradicted & partly justified I make no comment. But the above mentioned three points are Mr Soulards own acknowledgments & declarations.
Note. Of the last circumstance, Soulard’s refusal to answer on oath, the board never informed the Treasury
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.