George Washington Papers

Memorandum of Thomas Jefferson, 12 December 1791

Memorandum of Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Dec. 12. 1791.

The discussions which are opening between mister Hammond & our government, have as yet looked towards no objects but those which depend on the treaty of peace. there are however other matters to be arranged between the two governments, some of which do not rest on that treaty. the following is a statement of the whole of them.

1. The Western posts.

2. the Negroes carried away.

3. the debt of their bank to Maryland, & perhaps to Rho. island.1

4. goods taken from the inhabitants of Boston, while the town was in their possession & compensation promised.

5. prizes taken after the dates at which hostilities were to cease.

6. subsistence of prisoners.

7. the Eastern boundary.

Which of these shall be taken into the present discussion?

Which of them shall be left to arrangement through the ordinary channels of our ministers, in order to avoid embarrassing the more important points with matter of less consequence? On the subject of Commerce, shall mister Hammond be desired to produce his powers to treat, as is usual, before conferences are held on that subject?2

Th: Jefferson

ADS (letterpress copy), DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers.

Jefferson apparently drafted this memorandum in preparation for a discussion with GW of Anglo-American relations. The president may have consulted it at the meeting he convened to consider Alexander Hamilton’s tariff proposals (see GW to Jefferson, 9 Dec. 1791). George Hammond reported to Baron Grenville on 19 Dec., apparently after discussing the matter with Hamilton, that his own authority to negotiate a commercial treaty had been deliberated in what Hammond called GW’s “council” (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 22:396n.).

1Maryland’s continuing efforts to recover control of the stock in the Bank of England that it had acquired before the Revolutionary War was among the many unresolved consequences of the Revolution (see Price, “The Maryland Bank Stock Case,” description begins Jacob M. Price. “The Maryland Bank Stock Case: British-American Financial and Political Relations before and after the American Revolution.” In Law, Society, and Politics in Early Maryland. Edited by Aubrey C. Land, Lois Green Carr, and Edward C. Papenfuse, 3–40. Baltimore, 1977. description ends 3–40).

2GW apparently answered this question affirmatively, because Jefferson wrote Hammond on 13 Dec. requesting a copy of his authorization to negotiate a commercial treaty (see Memorandum from Jefferson, 13 December).

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