Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Tatham, 20 July 1807

Lynhaven, 20th. July. 1807.

After recollection !.

I forgot to say that, on the 18th. instant, a Negroe, in a Canoe, passed out at the Inlet of this haven under pretext of fishing, & went on board the British Squadron: We have no information that this fellow, or three others have ever returned.

It has determined me to be strict; & yesterday, I stopped a very fine Pettimajor with two Negroe fellows in the Inlet. They alledged they were going to Broad Bay after Oysters; &, as I was bound the same way in the whale boat, & found nothing on board but their Oyster Tongs, I saw them safe at their stake; & left them in quiet, as they were known to my people, & the Neighbourhood, & were of good reputation.

I have taken some scareing steps with the Negroes: the rights of Citizenship renders my task with the whites more delicate; & yet the danger; & practicability of such channel of communication demands equal vigilance. I wish I had the entire Coast, & the few Parties necessary for its safety, from Norfolk to the Light House, under my own Controul.

I have the honor to be Sir yr. obt. H St.

Wm Tatham

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.

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