Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Conrad Alexandre Gérard, 8 June 1779

To Conrad Alexandre Gérard

Wmsburg June 8th 1779.


The General Assembly of Virginia at their first Session which was held after the conclusion of the Treaties of Alliance and Commerce between his most Christian Majesty and the American Congress, tho’ seeing that fortunate event in all its importance, yet omitted to give it their particular approbation, entertaining a daily hope that the Confederation of the united States would be acceded to by all the parties, and that the Ratification of their Congress would then be the most proper and complete confirmation, and the most satisfactory to the Mind of their great and good Ally. But as that has not yet taken place they have now thought it their Duty no longer to pretermit their particular Sense of it and so far as their Interests and powers extend, to declare it obligatory; and have accordingly instructed me to communicate to the Minister of his most Christian Majesty resident at Philadelphia their Note of ratification; which I now have the honor to inclose to you. I obey their Commands with the greater pleasure because I know the grateful Sense which the Individual Members of that Body and the Citizens of this Commonwealth in general entertain of those Treaties, the high Value they set on them, and the disposition they have to convince you in every future instance that Nothing in their power shall be wanting to remove from your mind every cause of dissatisfaction which may at any time arise and to render these Treaties as lasting as to them they have been Safe honourable and pleasing.

I have the Honor to be with the most profound respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedt. & mo: hble Servt.,

Th: Jefferson

In General Assembly
friday the 4th June 1779.

Resolved nemine contradicente, that the treaties of alliance and commerce entered into between His Most Christian Majesty of France, on the one part, and the Congress of the United States of America, on behalf of the said States on the other part, ought to be ratified and confirmed so far as is in the power of this Commonwealth, and the same are accordingly hereby ratified, confirmed and declared binding on this Commonwealth.

Resolved, that the Governor be desired to notify to the Minister of His Most Christian Majesty, resident at Philadelphia, the above ratification under the Seal of the Commonwealth.

Archibald Cary, Speaker of the Senate

Benjamin Harrison, Speaker of the House of Delegates


J. Beckley, Clerk of the Senate.

Edmund Randolph, Clerk of the house of delegates.

Virginia to wit

In pursuance of the resolutions of the two Houses of Assembly, I hereby notify their joint ratification of the treaties of Alliance and Commerce entered into between his most Christian Majesty of France on the one part and the Congress of the United States on the other part, as expressed in their resolutions of June 4th 1779. and in testimony thereof have caused the Seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed hereto. Given under my hand this 7th day of June in the Year of Our Lord 1779.

Th: Jefferson
Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia

RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E-U, Suppl., vol. 1); in a clerk’s hand and signed by TJ. Endorsed: “rep.” Enclosure (same location, following letter of transmittal): Virginia General Assembly, Resolution of 4 June 1779, engrossed, sealed, and signed on parchment. Both papers were enclosed in a dispatch from Gérard to Vergennes, 22 June 1779, printed in Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 740–3. Locations of other copies of these papers in the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are given in the same, p. 741, note 6.

The Treaty with France was approved unanimously by the House of Delegates on 2 June and by the Senate on 4 June (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1779, 1827 edn., p. 32, 34). The satisfaction of Gérard in this step by Virginia is expressed in Gérard’s reply of 22 June and in his dispatch to Vergennes, mentioned above; see also Fleming to TJ, 22 June 1779.

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