George Washington Papers

Memorandum from Thomas Jefferson, 13 December 1791

Memorandum from Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Dec. 13. 1791.

Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the President of the U.S. and sends him the letter he has prepared for mister Hammond relative to his Commercial commission.1

he also incloses the rough draught of the one he has prepared on the subject of the treaty of peace, with the documents he proposes to communicate in support of the facts.2 the 1st of these (the Substance of the Conference &c.) is communicated because Carleton was more explicit in that conversation, than in his letter of May 12. as to the magnitude of the first embarcation and that the negroes then embarked were property of the U.S. yet this peice of evidence does not seem essentially necessary, and Th: J. asks the opinion of the President on the subject. he will wait on him to-day a quarter before three on these subjects.

ADS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1Thomas Jefferson in a memorandum to GW of 12 Dec. had inquired whether or not George Hammond should be asked for his authorization to enter into negotiations for a commercial treaty, and GW apparently answered affirmatively. The enclosure to Jefferson’s memorandum of this date was a draft of his letter to Hammond of 13 Dec., informing the British minister that he was “ready to receive a communication of your full powers for that purpose at any time you shall think proper, and to proceed immediately to their object.” Hammond responded on 14 Dec. that he carried no special commission to negotiate a commercial treaty, but that his appointment as a minister plenipotentiary empowered him to begin preliminary negotiations toward that end (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 , 22:399, 402–3).

2Jefferson enclosed a draft of his letter to Hammond of 15 Dec., along with various documents: extracts of GW to Sir Guy Carleton, 12 May 1783, and of American Commissioners to Carleton, 17 June 1783; and complete copies of American Commissioners to Carleton, 24 May, 9 June 1783, Maurice Morgann to American Commissioners, 29 May 1783, and American Commissioners to GW, 14 and 17 June 1783 (all in DNA: RG 59, State Department Records; see also ibid., 409–12).

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