on or before 22 Dec 1807
I think it my duty to say to you what I conceeve may be usefull Notwithstand you may have Considered the subject your self but my being on the Ground for a long time & observing What seems to concern our Country I think gives me better Oppys. of Judging—I mean by observation W Florida or that part of the country held by Spain & owned by us which is now a Matter of negotiation between us & Spain—There is not a Spanish Officer but expects us to take the country by force & is prepared to give up on the first application of a force under proper Officers now Sir It has occured to me as a measure realy proper to take possession of it & treat afterwards let the Spanish Officers &c be sent into East Florida & not made prisoners of war. This Step would certainly hasten a treaty & secure us from the risque of looseing our other possessions near there—When I say the risque of looseing I do not mean that there is any danger of looseing any part of orleans Teritory for no Set of Traitors has the power to wrest it from us but that they have given us Trouble is well known & that they will give us much more is A fact—provided we do not take possession of The Middle Ground (Batton Rogue) so long as this remains so long we may expect Conspierices from our own Citizens & those of Spain—I have heard plans Spoken of not less dangerous in my mind than Burrs altho it required less force to effect it—he has proven a great want Judgment in his attack on Mexico—his great mind has led him astray but some one of less Talents will suceed in Getting possession of B-Rouge Mobile &c & we shall find it hard & expensive to remove them besides the injury our already disaffected Citizens (in Orleans Teritory) would receive from Such Neighbours and hower bad the Success of Burr & Maranda has been it will not deter others from an attempt on B-Rouge &c let any man of military Talents collect in 2 or 3 parts from 2 to 300 men for the purpose of a hunt on Red river or White river let them tell their followers of the Gain to be expected by Takeing B-Rouge &c—and that they as his followers will not be hurt if driven back on the US—I say let any man with 4,00000 Dollars under take this fact as a man would who had a Kingdom in view & if he does not suceed it will be for want of management on his part—I have been in the Country in question & think I am correct in my ideas and more over I think Sir such a plan will soar if it is not already undertaken & how easy will it be for the US. to help the plan by giveing licence to some extensive Trader who under the mask of Trade may effect other purposes—I am not personally Known to you & if I was such advise would not come well from a person of my rank. I wish my country well & if any Good should arrise from this or any other service I can render it will give pleasure to yrs. &c
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.