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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Abner Nash
Jefferson, Thomas, 1742-1826
August 12, 1780
Volume 15, Pages 47-48


Richmond, August 12, 1780.


Frequent murders having been committed by the Cherokee Indians of the Chickamogga towns, and some others who have associated with them & seceded from the main body of the nation, we directed Col. Campbell in the month of June to raise 500 men from our Counties of Washington and Montgomery in order to destroy those towns. He was instructed to use the utmost attention in distinguishing the friendly from the hostile part of the nation, and while he should chastise the latter, to spare no assurance and protection to the former. Being informed at the same time that a similar expedition was meditated from your frontiers, under your authority, or by the inhabitants themselves, we instructed Col. Campbell to open a proper correspondance for the purpose of producing a co-operation against the common Enemy. The inclosed is an extract of a Letter I received from him lately, which I take the liberty of transmitting to your Excellency, because if Col. Campbell's information has been true, it discovers a disposition in the inhabitants of Washington County of your state to bring on a war with the friendly Cherokees. Without animadverting on the injustice of such a measure, it would so much increase the difficulties with which our two

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States have at present to contend that I thought it my duty to communicate this to your Excellency, as, should it wear any appearance of probability with you, it might suggest measures for further enquiry, and for preventing an aggression, if one should have been mediated. Our frontier counties being jointly and intimately interested in the transactions with the Cherokees—I hope I shall meet your Excellency's pardon for imparting to you any intelligence coming to my ear which may appear to threaten their peace, and I do it the more freely, as I should myself most thankfully receive similar communication from you of anything on our side the line which might require the vigilance of our Government.

I have the honour to be,
With every sentiment of esteem & respect,
Your Excellency's most obedient
And most humble Servt.,