Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn, 7 July 1807

Washington July 7. 07.

Dear Sir

I inclose you copies of 2 letters sent by express from Capt Decatur. by these you will percieve that the British Commanders have their foot on the threshold of War. they have begun the blockade of Norfolk; have sounded the passage to the town, which appears practicable for three of their vessels, & menace an attack on the Chesapeake and Cybele. these with 4. gunboats form the present defence, & there are 4. more gunboats in Norfolk nearly ready. the 4. gunboats at Hampton are hauled up & in danger. 4. in Mopjack bay are on the stocks. blows may be hourly possible. in this state of things I am sure your own feelings will anticipate the public judgment that your presence here cannot be dispensed with. there is nobody here who can supply your knolege of the resources for land co-operation & the means of bringing them into activity. still I would wish you to stay long enough at N. York to settle with the V.P. & Colo. Williams the plan of defence for that place, & I am in hopes you will also see Fulton’s experiment tried, & see how far his means may enter into your plan. but as soon as that is done, should matters remain in their present critical state, I think the public interest & safety would suffer by your absence from us. indeed if the present state of things continues I begin to fear we shall not be justifiable in separating this autumn, & that even an earlier meeting of Congress than we had contemplated may be requisite    I salute you affectionately.

Th: Jefferson

PHi: Daniel Parker Papers.

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