Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Mifflin, 21 December 1793

To Thomas Mifflin

Philadelphia Dec. 21. 1793.


I am honored with your’s of yesterday’s date relative to the French sailors in the jail of Philadelphia. The object of the original enquiry I took the liberty of making on that subject, was to know whether they were in the custody of the Executive or the Judiciary authority of the country: and being informed that it is in that of the Judiciary, the Federal Executive does not think itself authorized to interfere either as to their enlargement or detention. They take for granted the judge will do in the case what the law enjoins. I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency’s most obedt & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

RC (NjP: Andre deCoppet Collection); addressed: “His Excellency Governor Mifflin”; endorsed by Mifflin. PrC (DLC). FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). Tr (PHarH: Secretary’s Letterbooks). Tr (MHi); 19thcentury copy. Enclosed in TJ to George Washington, 21 Dec. 1793.

The President approved this letter and returned it to TJ on 23 Dec. 1793 (Washington, Journal, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends 272).

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