From George Washington
Mount Vernon April 12 1793.
Your letter of the 7 instant was brought to me by the last Post. War having actually commenced1 between France and Great Britain, it behoves the Government of this Country to use every means in it’s power to prevent the citizens thereof from embroiling us with either of those powers,2 by endeavouring to maintain a strict neutrality. I therefore require that you will give the subject mature consideration, that such measures3 as shall be deemed most likely to effect this desirable purpose4 may be5 adopted without delay; for I have understood that vessels are already designated as Privateers, and preparing accordingly.
Such other measures6 as may be necessary for us to pursue agains7 events which it may not be in our Power to avoid or8 controul, you will also think of, and lay them before me at my arrival in Philadelphia, for which place I shall set out Tomorrow; but will leave it to the advices which I may receive tonight by the Post,9 to determine whether it is to be by the most direct Rout, or by the one I proposed to have10 come—that is, by Reading, the Canals between the Rivers of Pennsylvania,11 Harrisburgh, Carlisle &ca. With very great esteem & regard I am, Dear Sir, Your mo: hble Servt.
RC (DLC); in the hand of Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., signed by Washington; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Apr. 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Dft (DNA: RG 59, MLR); entirely in Washington’s hand; contains numerous emendations, the most significant of which are noted below. FC (Lb in same, SDC).
This day the President also instructed the Secretary of the Treasury, but not the Attorney General or the Secretary of War, to consider ways and means for the United States to preserve a strict neutrality in the war between France and Great Britain (Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends , xxxii, 416). See also Washington to the Cabinet, 18 Apr. 1793, and note to the enclosure thereto.
1. In Dft Washington first wrote “having been actually declared” and then altered it to read as above.
2. Remainder of sentence interlined in Dft.
3. Word interlined in Dft.
4. Preceding three words interlined in Dft in place of “us.”
5. In Dft Washington here canceled “point.”
6. Word interlined in Dft in place of “steps.”
7. Preceding two words interlined in Dft in place of a canceled and illegible passage.
8. Preceding two words interlined in Dft.
9. Preceding three words interlined in Dft.
10. Word interlined in Dft.
11. Preceding two words interlined in Dft.