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TO J. S. JOHNSON - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 12.
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TO J. S. JOHNSON
Monticello Feb. 13. ’25
—Your favor of the 3d was recd some days ago, and I have taken time to make a thorough search among my papers for whatever might relate to Mr. Sibley, but to no effective purpose. The part of his correspdce which related to public matters was with the Secy. at war. The few letters I have of his respect matters of curiosity, Indn vocabularies & things of that kind. When we acquired Louisiana we were exceedingly uninformed of every thing relating to it. I addressed enquiries to every individual of the country who I thought might give us informn, and I remember that I considered that furnished by Dr. Sibley as distinguished in it’s value. At the ensuing Congress I communicated the whole to that body and it was printed and made a large 8vo; the originals, and their printed copy were probably burnt by the British, but the printed copy which I had kept for myself went afterwards to Washington with my library and may there be turned to. It will be found entered in the printed catalogue pa. 104, No. 261 under the title of “State papers 1793–1812. 36. v. 8vo.” The date of the communicn Nov. 14th, 1803 will point to the particular vol. In this will probably be found much of the informn received from Dr. Sibley, which will give an idea of the extent & value of his services to us on that occasion.
With respect to the two articles particularly stated in your lre I have carefully examd. all my papers & letters of the years 1804. & 1805, and do not find the scrip of a pen relating to them. My memory furnishes me with some general recollections on which I can depend as to De la Harpe’s journal, but several of the particulars are too faintly recalled to be depended on. For example I am not certain whether the correspdce and orders on that subject passed between Govr. Claiborne & myself or the war office and Dr. Sibley. My impression altho’ faint, is that it was Govr. Claiborne who informed me of the existence of that book in the hands of an individual, and that it could be purchased, giving such a description of it’s contents as shewed it to be highly important to us in our then uninformed state. I think he had got his informn of it from Dr. Sibley. We directed the purchase to be made, & that before trusting the original to the mail, a copy should be taken (as I think, but your letter says two & it may be so) and sent by successive mails. They were safely recd. and I have believed the cost of the whole had been reimbursed promptly either to Claiborne or Dr. Sibley through whose agency it was obtained. The importance of the work consisted in this. De la Harpe was in some considble office in the govmt of Louisiana & kept a private and regular journal of the public transactions. The French considd the Rio bravo as the Western boundary of Louisiana, but the Spaniards claimed indefinitely to the east of the river. The Fr. & Span. neighboring governors with certain mercantile assciates entered into a Contraband commerce, the former furnishing French merchandise, and receiving from the latter in exchange hard dollars. But the distance between N. O. & the Rio bravo occasd inconveniences & difficulties and therefore the French Govr. winked at the Spaniard’s takg a small post at Nacagdoches, and made his reclmns so faintly as not to disturb the post. I cite these transactions by memory but believe without material error. When we acquired Louisiana we considd it as extending to the Rio Bravo and so Bonaparte declared to our Commissioners and that he should have taken possn to that extent. But Spain under color of the corrupt foothold she had got at this and one or two other small posts, claimed the country agt us on the ground of possn. This journal of De la Harpe clearly proves how fraudulently it had been obtained, and was therefore to us of the utmost importance. Hence our anxiety to guard against it’s loss by having it copied and trusted to difft mails. The original being lodged in the office of the Secretary of State, I retained a copy in my office, to be recurred to in preparing instrns for our Minister at Madrid. When I removd from Washington it was inadvertently packed with my own books & papers, and not attended to until the burning of the public records at Washn. brought the thing to my mind. I immediately sent the copy to the Secretary of State in whose office it now doubtless is and will prove that it’s importce justified the price it cost us.
Of the other transaction respecting the purchases of horses &c. to bring a party of Indns to Washn. I have not the slightest trace either in writing or recollection. To the great value which was set on Dr. Sibley’s services by the admn of that day I bear testimony willingly as an act of duty & of truth.
I am sorry that the decay of my memory does not permit me to offer anything further and pray you be assured of my great respect & esteem.