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LATE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
NOW FIRST PUBLISHED FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTI.
THOMAS JEFFERSON RANDOLPH.
HENRY COLBURN AND RICHARD BENTLEY,
NEW BURLINGTON STREET
Gift Lil Habbard 2-13-28
TO LEVY LINCOLN.
Monticello, August 30, 1803.
T'he inclosed letter came to hand by yesterday's post. You will be sensible of the circumstances which make it improper that I should hazard a formal answer, as well as of the desire its friendly aspect naturally excites, that those concerned in it should understand that the spirit they express is friendly viewed. You can judge also from your knowledge of the ground, whether it may be usefully encouraged. I take the liberty, therefore, of availing myself of your neighbourhood to Boston, and of your friendship to me, to request you to say to the captain and others, verbally, whatever you think would be proper, as expressive of my sentiments on the subject. With respect to the day on which they wish to fix their anniversary, they may be told, that disapproving myself of transferring the honours and veneration for the great birth-day of our republic to any individual, or of dividing them with individuals, I have declined letting my own birth-day be known, and have engaged my family not to communicate it. This has been the uniform answer to every application of the kind.
On further consideration, as to the amendment to our constitution respecting Louisiana, I have thought it better, instead of enumerating the powers which Congress may exercise, to give them the same powers they have as to other portions of the Union generally, and to enumerate the special exceptions, in some such form as the following.
• Louisiana, as ceded by France to the United States, is made a part of the United States ; its white inhabitants shall be
citizens, and stand, as to their rights and obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the United States, in analogous situations. Save only that as to the portion thereof lying north of an east and west line drawn through the mouth of Arkansas river, no new State shall be established, nor any grants of land made, other than to Indians, in exchange for equivalent portions of land occupied by them, until an amendment of the constitution shall be made for these purposes.
• Florida also, whensoever it may be rightfully obtained, shall become a part of the United States ; its white inhabitants shall thereupon be citizens, and shall stand, as to their rights and obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the United States, in analogous situations.'
I quote this for your consideration, observing that the less that is said about any constitutional difficulty, the better : and that it will be desirable for Congress to do what is necessary, in silence. I find but one opinion as to the necessity of shutting up the country for some time. We meet in Washington the 25th of September to prepare for Congress. Accept my affectionate salutations, and great esteem and respect.
TO WILSON C. NICHOLAS.
Monticello, September 7, 1803. DEAR SIR, Your favour of the 3d was delivered me at court; but we were much disappointed at not seeing you here, Mr. Madison and the Governor being here at the time. I inclose you a letter from Monroe on the subject of the late treaty. You will observe a hint in it, to do without delay what we are bound to do. There is reason, in the opinion of our ministers, to believe, that if the thing were to do over again, it could not be obtained, and that if we give the least opening, they will declare the treaty void. A warning amounting to that has been given to them, and an unusual kind of letter written by their minister to our Secretary of State, direct. Whatever Congress shall think it necessary to do, should be done with as little debate as possible, and particularly so far as respects the constitutional difficulty. I am aware of the force of the observations you make on the power given by the constitution to Congress, to admit new States into the Union, without re