Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington, 13 April 1791

From George Washington

Richmond April 13th. 1791

Dear Sir

Your letter of the 2d. came to my hands at this place.—Part of it did as you supposed, and might well suppose, astonished me exceedingly.

I think it not only right that Mr. Carmichael should be furnished with a copy of the genuine letters to Mr. G. Morris, but that Mr. Morris1 should also know the result of his conferences with the Duke of Leeds at the Court of Madrid.—The contents of my official letters to him you are acquainted with. My private ones were few, and nothing in either of them relative to England or Spain; how it comes to pass therefore that such interpretations as the extracts recite, should be given, he best can account for.

Being hurried, I shall only add that I shall proceed on my Journey to morrow, and from good information have a dreary one before me in some parts thereof.—Yrs. sincerely,

Go: Washington

P.S. The footing upon which you have placed Mr. Carmichael2 is good.


RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 19 Apr. 1791 and so recorded in SJL. Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDC); with two variations, as noted below.

Although TJ had suggested that it might be well to send to Carmichael the full text of Washington’s letter to Gouverneur Morris of 13 Oct. 1789, he apparently thought better of it and did not do so. Nor did he adopt Washington’s suggestion that Morris be acquainted with the result of his conference with Leeds (TJ to Morris, 26 July 1791, the text of which TJ submitted to Washington for approval). Perhaps this was due to TJ’s natural “disposition rather to look forward than backward” (TJ to Humphreys, 11 April 1791), but more likely Carmichael’s silence led him to question the reliability of the allegation.

1Washington inadvertently omitted Morris’ name in RC; it has been supplied from Tr.

2Tr reads: “Mr. Carmichael’s application” that is, his requesting leave to return to America.

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