Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Smith, 29 August 1801

From Samuel Smith

Baltimore 29th. Augt. 1801


The Maryland arrived last Night & this Morning, Mr. Purviance the Bearer of her Dispatches proceeded to Washington—The inclosed Letter from Capt. Barney will Aid in explaining the Causes why no Exchange of Ratification had taken effect—and will shew, that Federalists Can not be trusted with the Objects of Government. I Confess that I highly approved of the Delicacy of your Conduct towards Mr: Elsworth & Mr. Murray. the former would not have Committed his Character—the latter is so trifling a Creature, that I fear he is Acting under Instructions from this Side of the Water—I am sir—

with the greatest Respect your Friend & servt:

S. Smith

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 10 Sep. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Joshua Barney to Smith, Paris, 11 July 1801, expressing his wish that Smith had been named U.S. minister to France and declaring that the ratification of the Convention of 1800 is “very uncertain” because its negotiation is in William Vans Murray’s hands rather than John Dawson’s; Murray, from his “attachment to the British,” probably wants reconciliation with France to fail, and has appointed as his secretary James C. Mountflorence, who is despised by every “publick Officer in france from the first Consul, down”; under the pretense of being “the only Official Commercial Character in france,” Mountflorence charges commissions to issue papers for ships and cargoes, a practice that he knows will come to an end if normal relations between the U.S. and France are restored; perhaps Dawson, who “does honour to the US,” will be able to bring about ratification; and Barney, believing that his “Exile” in France is at an end, states his readiness to serve the United States (RC in same).

On the return voyage of the Maryland to the United States, John H. Purviance, who in Dawson’s opinion was worthy of “entire confidence,” carried Dawson’s and Murray’s official dispatches (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 1:350; William Short to TJ, 9 June 1801).

Joshua Barney had also written directly to TJ, but not on the subject of the ratification of the convention (Barney to TJ, 5 June 1801).

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