George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 27 August 1790

To Thomas Jefferson

Friday Morng, 27th [August]1 1790

Dear Sir

Enclosed is the report (I mentioned to you on our Passage to Rhode-Island) of the Officer who was directed to explore the Navigation of Big Beaver &ca2—When you have read, & taken such extracts from it as you may be inclined to do, please to return to the papers to me, as they will have a place with some other Papers I mean to take with me to Virginia.

The short and rough Extracts also enclosed, were taken at the time of reading another report of the Ouabash River Navign.3 Yrs &c.

G. W——n

ALS, DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers.

1GW had mistakenly written “July,” but the trip to Rhode Island to which he refers in the first paragraph occurred on 15–17 Aug. 1790. Jefferson wrote the correct month under GW’s dateline and also noted on the letter’s cover that he had received it on 27 Aug. 1790.

2The enclosed report was made by Capt. Jonathan Heart after his expedition of November and December 1787 and was enclosed in an undated letter that Heart sent to Gen. Josiah Harmar sometime in 1788. It was among the enclosures sent by Harmar to Knox in June 1790, which the secretary of war presented to the president on 9 July 1790. A copy of the report is printed in Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 17:445–48 (see also Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:91–92).

3GW’s extracts were from Maj. John Francis Hamtramck’s “account of the navigation of the Wabash River, and the distances from its mouth to Detroit,” which Hamtramck sent from Vincennes to Harmar on 17 Mar. 1790. The original report is printed in Thornbrough, Outpost on the Wabash, description begins Gayle Thornbrough, ed. Outpost on the Wabash, 1787–1791: Letters of Brigadier General Josiah Harmar and Major John Francis Hamtramck and other letters and documents from the Harmar Papers in the William L. Clements Library. Indianapolis, 1957. In Indiana Historical Society Publications, vol.19. description ends 225–27, and Jefferson’s copy of GW’s extracts appears in Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 17:448–49.

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