Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas FitzSimons, 14 November 1792

To Thomas FitzSimons

Philadelphia Nov. 14. 1792.


I happened to be out when Mrs. Jones did me the favor to call on me, but she left your letter, and as I do not know where to address to her I take the liberty of observing to you, that the Consuls of foreign powers residing with us, have no protection from the law of nations more than any other foreigners, they are open to the laws and tribunals of the country, may sue or be sued as other foreigners or natives. The government therefore cannot interpose either for or against them, but must leave them and their creditors or debtors to the ordinary course of the law. I take the liberty of asking you to communicate this to Mrs. Jones, & of assuring you of the sentiments of esteem with which I have the honor to be Sir your most obedt & most hble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. Fitzsimmons.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 360, DL).

This day TJ recorded in SJL the receipt of a letter of 6 Nov. 1792 from Congressman FitzSimons of Pennsylvania, but the letter has not been found. FitzSimons subsequently wrote letters to TJ on 1 and 15 Jan. 1793, both of which were recorded in SJL as received under those dates, and TJ noted therein that he responded to FitzSimons in a letter written on the latter date. All three letters are missing, however, and there is no way to determine if they relate to the case of Mrs. Jones.

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