The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

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We have an idea of running a path in a direct line from Knoxville to Natchez, believing it would save 200 miles in the carriage of our mail. The consent of the Indians will be necessary, and it will be very important to get individuals among them to take each a white man into partnership, and to establish at every nineteen miles; a house of entertainment, and a farm for its support. The profits of this would soon reconcile the Indians to the practice, and extend it, and render the public use of the road as much an object of desire as it is now of fear; and such a horse-path would soon, with their consent, become a wagon-road. Your country is so abundant in everything which is good, that one does not know what there is here of that description which you have not, and which could be offered in exchange for a barrel of fresh peccans every autumn. Yet I will venture to propose such an exchange....

to W.C.C. Claiborne (Governor), 24 May 1803