Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Edmond Charles Genet, 6 December 1793

To Edmond Charles Genet

Philadelphia Dec. 6. 1793.


Your letter of the 15th. of Nov. on the subject of your bills refused paiment at the Treasury, was duly laid before the President and referred to the department of the treasury, a copy of the report from which I have now the honor to inclose you, and am with great respect Sir Your most obedt. & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

RC (AMAE: CPEU, Supplément, xx); at foot of text: “The Min. Pleny. of the republic of France.” PrC (DLC). FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). Enclosures: (1) Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, Treasury Department, 2 Dec. 1793, stating, with respect to Genet’s 15 Nov. 1793 letter to TJ, that the Treasury had not admitted the bills of exchange totaling 14,000 dollars that he had drawn, and that were predicated on the fund put at his disposal in November 1793, because of a clerical error, since rectified, in registering one of these bills for 40,000 dollars, a mistake which temporarily created the impression that he had overdrawn, and that it had not admitted the funds which would be at the disposal of France in January 1794 because there was no previous arrangement or notice; that, as shown by No. 2 below, the Treasury had agreed to make 1,500,000 livres payable to Genet on 3 Sep. 1793, minus the deduction of 94,506.10½ dollars for the payment of bills drawn on the administration of Saint-Domingue, and 1,000,000 livres payable to him on 5 Nov. 1793; that Genet should not have drawn on the necessary fund of interest because the Treasury had not authorized him to do so and because he had been informed that the advances made to him exceeded the sums due according to the stipulated course of payment of the American debt to France; that the Treasury could not approve unauthorized drawings upon it without impropriety and inconvenience; and that it was reasonable to expect that Genet, being as close as New York, would not have exceeded the limit agreed upon without the Treasury’s prior consent. (2) Hamilton to Genet, 24 July 1793, stating, in response to Genet’s 19 July 1793 letter to him, that although the United States had already paid more than was due on its debt to France, the amount of the excess being undetermined because of the failure to establish a rule for liquidating payments made in France according to the current exchange rate, the Treasury would be ready to pay on account of that debt 1,500,000 livres at 18 15/100 cents per livre on 3 Sep. 1793, deducting therefrom 94,506.10½ dollars it had made itself responsible for paying (on the basis of expectations given by Jean Baptiste Ternant and confirmed by Genet) to the holders of certain bills of exchange drawn on the administration of Saint-Domingue, and 1,000,000 livres at the same rate of exchange on 5 Nov. 1793, the bills drawn on these funds to be presented at the Treasury for recording and paid according to the order of presentation (Trs in AMAE: CPEU, Supplément, xx; PrCs in DLC; Trs in Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL; printed in Syrett, Hamilton, description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends xv, 124, 436–7).

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