Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Hammond, 25 June 1793

To George Hammond

Philadelphia June 25th. 1793.


In a letter of Feb. 2d. 1792. I had the honor of conveying to you1 the President’s sentiments on the assurances you had then been pleased to give of the strict neutrality of your Government between us and the Indians in our neighborhood. You do2 to that testimony but the Justice3 which it merits, in not allowing yourself, for a moment, to infer from the passage, in my letter of the 19th. instant, quoted in your’s of the 20th., a meaning which would be disrespectful to your nation.—Were the Western posts in our possession, it cannot be doubted but there would be an end to the murders daily committed by the Indians4 on our North Western frontier, and to a great part of the expense of our armaments in that Quarter. Those inconveniencies, therefore, are connected, as consequences, with the Detension of our Posts; to convey which Idea alone, was the intention of the expressions to which you refer.5 I have the honor to be, respectfully, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., signed by TJ; at foot of text: “The minister Plenipotentiary of Great Britain.” Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 89: 15419); in TJ’s hand, with note in margin by Alexander Hamilton (see note 5 below); undated and unaddressed. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). Tr (Lb in PRO: FO 116/3). Tr (same, 5/1). Enclosed in second Memorandum to George Washington, [11 July 1793], and Tobias Lear to TJ, 15 July 1793.

1In Dft TJ here canceled “assurances.”

2Word interlined in Dft in place of “pay.”

3Word interlined in Dft in place of “respect.”

4Preceding three words interlined in Dft.

5Preceding sentence adopted verbatim by TJ from a marginal note written by Alexander Hamilton in the Dft. There TJ had written: “My expression therefore was scrupulously exact that the detention of those posts is the cause of these murders and expences, and I thank you sincerely for the justice you have done me in not imagining a meaning as foreign from the direct import of the words, as from my mind in using them.” Hamilton bracketed this sentence and next to it wrote “Instead of the Passage between [ ]” and the substitute TJ adopted.

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