From Thomas Law
Washington July 15 1804
As the present Administration takes every opportunity to promote the happiness of those around them, I am induced to submit to your perusal imaginary Speeches to the Indians now here which I wrote on Saturday for my amusement, but which (as my mind tells me I ought not to suppress them) I now trouble you with.1
Mr Dunn a very sensible Irish Gentleman who visited the Indians informed me, that the bar to their advancement was their maxim to despise property & to live as hunters without a division of their lands; a system encouraged by the whites who bought their skins.
If the President could appoint a person to form a written character for their Letters, & a Vocabulary & to establish a school, ideas could soon be communicated to them through the press.
It is pitiable to see them fast tending to annihilation—with apologies for this intrusion I remain with esteem Yr Mt Obt H St
RC and enclosure (DLC).
1. In the enclosed “imaginary Speeches” (15 pp.), inspired by the visit to Washington of a group of Great Osage Indians in July 1804, Law expounded on the advantage of private property, from which, he wrote, spring all the blessings of civilization—a law code, a written language, a strong government, prosperity, power, and a growing population (National Intelligencer, 20 July 1804; Ellen G. Miles, Saint-Mémin and the Neoclassical Profile Portrait in America [Washington, D.C., 1994], 142–43).