Letter to the Secretary of State

Joseph Ignatius de Viar and Joseph de Jaudenes

Philadelphia

May 25, 1792

Sir

We received with due respect your letter of the 21st inst. and have this new assurance of the sincere desires of the President of the US to preserve the peace & harmony subsisting between Spain & the US.

For the same reason which prevented your making any reflections on the treaties with the Creeks, Choctaws & Chickasaws, we avoid at present transmitting you a voluminous relation, well authenticated of the judicious and very opportune steps taken by the Baron de Carondelet (whom you censure) after his arrival in Louisiana, to preserve peace & friendship between Spain, & the US. & the Indian nation without exposing the known interests of the last, which otherwise would probably be sacrificed. 1

Nevertheless we cannot avoid inclosing you a copy of the exhortations given by the same Baron de Carondelet to the chiefs of the Cherokee nation, which not only contradict the opinion formed in these states of his character, but manifest that he has used prudent reasons only, not proposing to require from the Indians a decisive answer whether they would take arms against the US. in case that Spain should enter into war against them, as Gov. Blunt required from the various Indian chiefs, & particularly from Ugulayacaha, when by dint of persuasions, & offering him to establish a store near Bear creek, & other promises he made him go to Cumberland, where he asked lands from him, and whether he would assist the Americans in case these should fight with Spain; & afterwards dismissed him for his obstinacy in refusing the lands, &declaring that in such case he would remain neuter.

As little has the Baron de Carondelet created Grand-metal chiefs as Gov. Blount has practiced, nor do we know if there have been distributed on our part, to various chiefs, medals of silver, as those which the US. have distributed with the effigy of the president, & at the bottom, George Washington President 1792. and others with the legend Friendship & the trade without end.

In fine as we rely that there will be established in the negociation now on foot between Spain & the US. a fixed system of conduct with the Indians, for both parties, we omit producing other different proofs, which are in our possession, in vindication of the government of New Orleans; & we flatter ourselves that your government will use the most onvenient means to avoid taking measures with the various nations of Indians (pending the negociation) which might have disagreeable results. 2 We have the honor to be &c.

Joseph Ignatius De Viar

Joseph De Jaudenes3

Mr. Jefferson

Endnotes

1See Whitaker, op. cit., pp. 153-170, for account of Carondelet and his Indian policy. Return to text

2See Viar and Juadenes to the Secretary of State, Aug. 10, 1792, post, p. 161. Return to text

3Joseph de Viar and Josef de Jaudenes were brought to the United States in 1784 by Gardoqui to assist in the work of the Spanish Legation and became Spain’s agents to this Government in 1789. In 1790-1791 they were on friendly terms with the administration, but in 1792, under the influence of Carondelet, they began to charge the United States with pursuing an Indian policy that was hostile to Spain. Their language became so offensive that Jefferson transferred the discussion of the subject to Madrid (Whittaker, Sp. Amer. Frontier, pp. 72, 87, 145, 149, 169, 181, 182, 196, 197, 213). See also notes, loc. Cit., for citations to original sources in the Spanish archives; similarly, see notes in Bemis, Pinckney’s Treaty, pp. 200-210. Letters passing between the Spanish agents and Jefferson relative to Indian relations are in SD Archs. (Notes, Spain, I). Printed correspondence relative to the American and Spanish interest among the Indians of the Territory, including that of Jefferson with Spanish agents to the United States, and with the American representative in Spain, is likewise found in A.S.P., For. Rel., I, 247-288, 454-460, 533-549. Return to text

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