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Special Message

October 21, 1803

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

In my communication to you of the 17th instant I informed you conventions had been entered into with the Government of France for the cession of Louisiana to the United States. These, with the advice and consent of the Senate, having now been ratified and my ratification exchanged for that of the First Consul of France in due form, they are communicated to you for consideration in your legislative capacity. You will observe that some important conditions can not be carried into execution but with the aid of the Legislature, and that time presses a decision on them without delay.

The ulterior provisions, also suggested in the same communication, for the occupation and government of the country will call for early attention. Such information relative to its government as time and distance have permitted me to obtain will be ready to be laid before you within a few days; but as permanent arrangements for this object may require time and deliberation, it is for your consideration whether you will not forthwith make such temporary provisions for the preservation in the meanwhile of order and tranquillity in the country as the case may require.


Thomas Jefferson, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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