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Item 8 - Thomas Jefferson Catalog 560 (Jul 2019)

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Description


ALS as president signed “Th: Jefferson,” one page, 8 x 10, August 16, 1804. Letter to John Smith, the chief clerk of the Department of War, written from his famous home at Monticello. In full: "Commissions are now wanting for three Colonels, and two Major Commandants of Louisiana. The commission is to express that the party is appointed a Colonel (or Major) Commandant of the regular officers and troops of the army of the US and of the militia in a district of Louisiana, and is to be in the nature of a Brevet. Be pleased to make out and seal such commissions, leaving blanks for the names & dates and inclose them immediately to me for signature. That I may be enabled to inclose them direct to the Secretary of War, will you be so good as to inform me at the same time to what post office I must address them? I have hitherto addressed to him at Hallowell. Accept my salutations & respects." In fine condition, with a light seal-related stain touching the end of Jefferson's perfect signature.

Under President Jefferson's purview, the United States had acquired Louisiana from France in 1803 in the famous Louisiana Puchase. The territory was supervised as a military district in until it achieved statehood in 1812. In a letter to Secretary of War Henry Dearborn of August 30, 1804, President Jefferson revealed his plans for these blank commissions, noting that they had previously agreed on 'the following lists of Commandants for Louisiana: George Hammond of Georgia, Return J. Meigs of Ohio, Gibs of Massachusetts, Richard Kennon of Virginia to be Colonels; John M. Scott of Kentucky, Seth Hunt of N. Hampshire to be Majors.' In the same letter, he recommended that these men 'endeavor to acquire the French as soon as possible' to aid in their administration of the Francophone region.

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