From Thomas Jefferson1
Philadelphia June 24. 1792.
I have the honor to inclose you the answer of the Minister of France2 to the letter I wrote him on the subject of the complaint of the Collector of Bermuda hundred3 against the French Consul at Norfolk,4 whereby you will see that he undertakes to have the latter set right. I have not thought it necessary to reply to his observation that “Le Consul de Norfolk est sans doute obligé de maintenir les loix de France, aussi bien que le Collecteur de Bermuda hundred doit faire observer celles des etats-unis;” presuming he can only mean then the former do not interfere with the latter. The supremacy of the laws of every country within itself is too well known to be drawn into question. I shall take care however to note to him in conversation that the latitude of his expression, if taken in all it’s intent, would render it erroneous. I have the honour to be with every sentiment of respect Sir Your most obedt & most humble servt
The Secretary of the Treasury
ALS, letterpress copy, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress; LC, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.
2. Jean Baptiste de Ternant’s letter states that the laws of France require captains of French vessels to give their records to the French consul at their port of call. The letter also states, however, that the issue had been raised earlier at Philadelphia and New York and had been settled there to the satisfaction of the French consuls and the collectors of the customs at those ports (Ternant to Jefferson, June 23, 1792, letterpress copy, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress).
3. William Heth.
4. Martin Oster was the French vice consul at Norfolk.