Washington Jan. 31. 1809.
The extraordinary & critical situation of our foreign relations rendering it necessary, in the opinion of the National legislature, that their next recess should be short. they have passed an act for a meeting on the 4th. Monday of May, of which I inclose you a copy. as the election of representatives for the state of Tenissee would not, in the ordinary course, be in time for this meeting, I have thought it my duty to make you a special communication of this law. that every state should be represented in the great council of the nation, is not only the interest, of each, but of the whole united, who have a right to be aided by the collective wisdom & information of the whole, in questions which are to decide on their future well being. I trust that Your Excellency will deem it incumbent on you to call an immediate meeting of your legislature, in order to put it in their power to fulfill this high duty by making special & timely provision for the representation of their state, at the ensuing meeting of Congress: to which measures I am bound earnestly to exhort yourself & them. I am not insensible of the personal inconvenience of this special call to the members composing the legislature of so extensive a state. but neither will I do them the injustice to doubt their being ready to make much greater sacrifices for the common safety, should the course of events still lead to a call for them. I tender to Your Excellency the assurances of my high respect & consideration.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.