Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Fenwick, 25 February 1793

From Joseph Fenwick

Bordeaux 25 feby. 1793.


I had the honor of writing you the 10th. Inst. by the Pensylvania Capt. Harding, inclosing the declaration of war against England and Holland. I now have the pleasure to inform you that the national Convention of France on the 19th. Inst. decreed; that the vessels of the U.S. of America shoud be admitted into all their ports; both in the East and west Indias as well as in France, on the same terms with their own, and that all goods imported or exported to or from France and her Colonies by American vessels shoud be subject to the same duties as in french vessels. This offers singular advantages to the Americans in the carrying trade, and will add to the present great demand for their vessels in the ports of France.

France is at present perfectly quiet. There is a decree for raising 300,000 men more than already in pay and every appearance of an immediate war with Spain. American produce is in great demand here at the prices quoted in a price current I inclose, with every prospect of their augmenting.

I have the honor to Inclose you a report of the American vessels at this port for the last six months of the past year—also a Copy of a Bond sent some time past for the faithful execution of the Consular functions. Mr. John Mason will be my security and will point out such other person as you may deem sufficient. With the greatest consideration I am Sir your most obedt & hble Servt.

Joseph Fenwick

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD); at foot of first page: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Secretary of State Philadelphia”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: “Prices Current at Bordeaux,” 25 Feb. 1793 (printed form in same; with date and prices inserted by Fenwick). Fenwick’s bond had been enclosed in his letter to TJ of 20 Jan. 1793. Other enclosure not found.


The decree of the national convention of france of 19 Feb. 1793 admitted American vessels to trade with France and her colonies on the same terms as French vessels, directed the Provisional Executive Council to negotiate a corresponding reduction in American duties in favor of French merchants, and permitted goods from the East Indies to be landed at any port in France during the war (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860: Recueil Complet des Débats Législatifs & Politiques des Chambres Françaises, Paris, 1862–, 222 vols. description ends , 1st ser., lix, 18–19; see also Edmond Charles Genet to TJ, 23 May 1793). Fenwick wrote a brief letter to TJ on 28 Feb. 1793 in which he mentioned having written on “the 20 Inst.,” enclosed a copy of the decree, and took note of the fall of Breda to Dumouriez (RC in DNA: RG 59, CD; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Secretary of State Philadelphia”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 June 1793 and so recorded in SJL; Trs of decree in French, signed by Fenwick on 28 Feb. 1793, filed in same). There is, however, no other record of a 20 Feb. 1793 letter from Fenwick.

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