The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


I am to thank you for your attention to my queries on the subject of the Indians. I have sent many copies to other correspondents, but as yet have heard nothing from them. I shall proceed, however, in my endeavors, particularly with respect to their language, and shall take care so to dispose of what I collect thereon, as that it shall not be lost. The attention which you pay to their rights, also, does you great honor, as the want of that is a principal source of dishonor to the American character. The two principles on which our conduct towards the Indians should be founded, are justice and fear. After the injuries we have done them, they cannot love us, which leaves us no alternative but that of fear to keep them from attacking us. But justice is what we should never lose sight of, and in time it may recover their esteem.

to Benjamin Hawkins, 13 August 1786