Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William H. Cabell, 3 September 1807

Richmond. Sept: 3. 1807


I have the honor to forward Major Newtons letter of the 31st. of Augt. You will observe what he states with respect to the conduct of some of the Boats of the British Squadron, in frequently coming near the shore, rowing in different directions, as if with intention to land, & sometimes taking soundings of the Coast, and the entrance of Lynhaven River—I have not thought that this conduct, improper & provoking as it certainly is, will justify me in directing the use of force to punish or prevent it—I have therefore urged Major Newton to confine himself within the instructions heretofore given for intercepting intercourse & for cutting off supplies—I have directed the men to be supplied with Tents, Blankets, & all necessary Camp equipage, but have not given any instructions on the subject of Clothes, as I am doubtful whether the Executive of the State possess the power. Permit me to ask whether such an expense will be sanctioned by the General Government. I beg leave also to draw your attention to that part of the letter which relates to the want of Gun Carriages, and a furnace for heating Balls at Fort Norfolk. As the expense which may be incurred on these objects will be properly chargeable to the U. States, I have thought it my duty to consult you previously to giving any orders on the subject. Believing, however, that a company of Artillery will be perfectly useless without the knowledge of pointing & firing Cannon, which can only be acquired by practice, I have requested Major Newton to indulge Capt: Nestell in his wish to practice his men in firing at a mark, taking care to confine him within such limits that there shall be no unnecessary waste of the public Ammunition—I have also authorized Major Newton to employ such persons as he may deem most proper for carrying on such intercourse with the Squadron as may become necessary; and have particularly directed him to make such arrangements as will enable him to receive daily information from the Coast—The sealed letters of which he speaks, will be of course returned, unless the rule shall be complied with.

With the enclosed letter, I received another from Major Newton, of the same date, the only object of which was to enclose three letters brought by Capt: Read from impressed seamen on board the Squadron. One is addressed to the Governor of South Carolina, to whom I have forwarded it, with information of the manner in which I received it, and with a request that it may have his attention—Another is addressed to Mary Jackson of this place, to whom I have forwarded it, but, as yet, have heard nothing of its contents—The third, I take the liberty to enclose to you in the hope that you may be enabled to put it into the proper channel to reach the person to whom it is directed—

I am with the highest respect Sir yr. Ob. St.

Wm H: Cabell

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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