Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 14 March–11 May 1789

To John Jay

Paris. March. 14.


The operation mentioned in my letter of Feb. 4. is going on. Montmorin has proposed to Ternant to go as Chargé des affaires. Ternant called on me a few days ago to know whether I thought his appointment would be agreeable to us. Tho he is obliged to give up his regiment, which is a certainty for life, he will do it. Perhaps Otto may be left awhile longer to put Ternant into the train of affairs. I suppose du Moustier will have received his leave of absence before you receive this.

Mar. 18. Ternant has again seen Montmorin who told him that in the beginning of April he would decide finally about his mission.

May 11. 1789. Monmorin now hesitates in the affair of du Moustier and Ternant. Still he tells Ternant he shall go in the fall, as he wishes in the mean time to receive an answer from du Moustier, and be assured that he will be come away before Ternant arrives there. This irresolution however spreads incertainty on the final event.

Tr (DNA: PCC, No. 87, ii, 444–5); entirely in TJ’s hand. Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 47: 8109 and 8322); TJ’s retained text en clair of the note of 11 May 1789 contains this deleted passage: “Your’s affectionately.” MS (DNA PCC, No. 87, ii, 438–41); entirely in code, occupying p. [4] of Dupl of TJ to Jay, 4 Feb. 1789. RC (Frank Monaghan, Washington, D.C., 1951); in code, containing only that part bearing dates of 14 and 18 Mch. 1789, with decoding in Jay’s hand. RC (DLC: Washington Papers); in code, containing only that part bearing date 11 May 1789, with decoding in Jay’s hand. PrC (DLC: TJ Papers, 47: 8110 and 8323); entirely in code, being TJ’s retained file copy of both parts of the RC. It is evident from the foregoing that TJ must have found, on becoming secretary of state, that there was no text except those in code for the letter of 4 Feb. 1789 and its three additions, and hence supplied the deficiency by transcribing Tr from Dft. Jay’s decoding is substantially correct except that the word “regiment” was garbled. Code No. 10 employed.

Index Entries