Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 2[8] October 1787

To John Jay

Paris Oct. 27. [i.e., 28]1 1787.


When I had the honor of addressing you on the 8th. instant, the appearances of war were such, that no one would have been surprised to hear that hostilities were actually commenced at sea. The preparatives were pushed with such a vivacity on the part of England that it was believed she had other objects in view than those she spoke out. However, having protected by her countenance the establishment of the Stadtholder by the Prussian troops, and compleatly detached the court of Berlin from that of Versailles, she made a proposition to the latter to disarm, which was agreed to. Mutual declarations for this purpose were signed last night at Versailles, of which I have now the honour to inclose you copies. Commissaries are to be appointed on each side to see that the disarming takes place. The count de Moustier having been detained at Brest a fortnight by contrary wind, and this continuing obstinately in the same point, admits a possibility that this letter may yet reach Brest before his departure. It passes through the post office and will be opened and read of course. I shall have the honour of addressing you more fully a week hence by a private hand. I have now that of assuring you of the sincerity of that esteem and respect with which I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC). Enclosures (PrC in DLC; Tr of a translation of the “Declaration” in MHi): Tr, in French, in the hand of William Short, of the “Declaration” signed at Versailles, 27 Oct. 1787, by Dorset and William Eden, requesting the king of France to explain his position in regard to affairs in the United Netherlands and suggesting that all armaments and preparations for war be mutually discontinued by France and Great Britain; and the “Contre Declaration” of the French government, signed at Versailles the same day, affirming that it is not the intention of the king of France to interpose by force in the affairs of the United Netherlands, and consenting to the proposition of Great Britain to discontinue armaments. In making the Tr of the “Contre Declaration,” Short erroneously put the signature of Dorset and Eden instead of that of Montmorin, who signed for the French government. Translations of both of the above documents are printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–89 description begins The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from the Signing of the Definitive Treaty of Peaceto the Adoption of the Constitution, Washington, Blair & Rives, 1837, 3 vol. description ends , ii, 107–8. TJ sent another copy of the enclosures in TJ to Jay, 3 Nov. 1787, q.v.

1This letter is recorded in SJL under 27 Oct. but has the following notation: “(shd have been 28).”

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