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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) to James Maury Esq.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09077 Author/Creator: Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) Place Written: Monticello, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 16 June 1815 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: "...what is incomprehensible to me is that the Marquis of Wellesly...says that 'the aggression which led to war was from the US, not from England.' is there a person in the world who, knowing the circumstances, thinks this? the acts which produced the war were, 1. the impressment of our citizens by their ships of war, and 2. the orders of council forbidding our vessells to trade with any country but England without going to England to obtain a special license...these categorical and definitive answers put an end to necessitation, and were a declaration of a continuance of the war in which they had already taken from us 1000. ships and 6000. seamen. we determined then to defend ourselves and to oppose further hostilities by war on our side also...they expected to give us an exemplary scourging, to separate from us the States east of the Hudson, take for their Indian allies those west of the Ohio, placing 300,000 American citizens under the government of savages and to leave the residuum a powerless enemy, if not submissive subjects. I cannot conceive what is the use of your Bedlam, when such men are out of it...The interruption of our intercourse with England has rendered us one essential service in planting radically and firmly coarse manufactures among us...all theory must yield to experience, and every constitution has it's own laws. I have for 50. years bathed my feet in cold water every morning... and having been remarkably exempted from colds (not having had one in every 7. years of my life on an average) I have supposed it might be ascribed to this practice."

People: Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Keywords/Subjects: War of 1812, President, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Navy, Military History, Merchants and Trade, American Indian History, Industry, health

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison War of 1812