Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from David Humphreys, 29 May 1793

From David Humphreys

Lisbon May 29th. 1793


I had the honour of writing to you on the 19th by Capt. Orne, who was bound to Salem. In that letter I acquainted you with my having received yours of the 30th. of March, and that I should endeavour to make all the preparations in my power for the accomplishment of its object. No intelligence is received as yet of Captn. Cutting: nor is any vessel yet found that would be likely to answer the purpose.

The defection of Dumourier has not injured the French cause as much as was expected. Notwithstanding the parties and confusions in Paris, their armies seem to be in such force in different quarters that the combined Powers make little impression. The season for the campaign is passing without any thing decisive being done. The English are slow in getting to Sea. The Spanish have a fleet of twenty Sail cruising in the Mediterranean, said to be with a design of intercepting a convoy with wheat from Algiers to Marseilles. The Portuguese fleet of ten Sail have been out five days to Maneuvre and is returned. You will have seen the account of the division of Poland. The combination against freedom is formidable. Spain1 proposed to England to make a common [cause]2 against the United States of America.3 This information comes from a Person who had the means of knowing the fact, and who could have no interest in deceiving me. It does not appear the proposal was listened to. This may perhaps occasion a different subsequent conduct on the part of the proposer.

I forward this by way of St. Ubes, as there is not a single vessel here destined immediately for the U.S. I also send one of three Packets just received from Messrs. Carmichael and Short—the others noted to go by different conveyances. With sincere & great respect I have the honour to be Sir Your Most obedient & Most humble Servant

D. Humphreys

RC (DNA: RG 59, DD); with sentence in code (see note 1 below); at head of text: “(No. 73.)”; at foot of text: “The Secretary of State &c. &c. &c.”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 July 1793 and so recorded in SJL; filed with separate sheet bearing decipherment in a clerk’s hand. Tr (Lb in same); entirely en clair, with deciphered sentence underscored.

The enclosed packet from William Carmichael and William Short apparently contained texts of their letters to TJ of 18 Apr. and 5 May 1793, both of which TJ received on the same day as the above letter and submitted to the President on the following day with the dispatch from Humphreys (Washington, Journal, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends 205–6).

1This sentence is written in code, the text being supplied from the clerical decipherment filed with the RC and verified by the Editors against partially reconstructed Code No. 8, with one anomaly being noted below.

2Word encoded by Humphreys as “a” and deciphered as such both in the clerical decipherment filed with the RC and in the Tr. However, in the Tr an unidentified hand penciled “cause” above “a,” an interpolation which undoubtedly represents the meaning intended by Humphreys.

3Preceding two words omitted in Tr.

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