George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 30 May 1792

From Thomas Jefferson

Philadelphia May 30. 1792.


It is my duty to suggest to your attention that in the act of the late session of Congress for making certain appropriations, is a clause enacting that a sum of 50,000 D. in addition to former provision be appropriated to defray any expence which may be incurred in relation to the intercourse between the U.S. & foreign nations, and to add that the public service will be advanced by having that sum ready for your orders as speedily as may be conveniently effected.1 I have the honour to be with the most perfect esteem & respect Sir Your most obedt & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC: Jefferson Papers; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW; copy, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters.

1Jefferson is referring to section 3 of “An Act making certain appropriations therein specified” of 8 May 1792 (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 2d Cong., 1st sess., 1387). At GW’s command Tobias Lear transmitted a copy of Jefferson’s letter to Alexander Hamilton on the following day and asked Hamilton to “let the President know when the sum mention’d in the enclosed Letter will be conveniently ready for his order” (DLC:GW). Hamilton responded to Jefferson on 29 June that he thought it “convenient to draw on the Commissioners in Holland for the sum which is required. . . . I therefore propose . . . that the Treasurer draw bills, in your favour, for a sum in guilders equal to fifty thousand dollars; that you give him an acknowlegement for these bills, as a purchase for the use of your department; promising to pay the amount when you shall be furnished with money for that purpose from the Treasury, pursuant to the abovementioned Act” (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 11:606 - 7). The next day GW authorized Hamilton to borrow the required sum from “any body or bodies politic, person or persons whomsoever” (see GW to Hamilton, 30 June 1792).

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