George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 27 August 1792

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello [Va.] Aug. 27. 1792.

Th: Jefferson, with his dutiful respects to the President of the United States, has the honor to inclose him under an open cover to mister Taylor two letters to M. de Ternant, the one containing an Exequatur for his signature (the commission whereon it is grounded being under the same open cover to mister Taylor) the other an answer to a formal notification of the declaration of war by France against the king of Hungary, which if the President approves he will be so good as to let go on under the cover to mister Taylor, sticking a wafer in it as well as in the cover, but leaving still open the letter containing the Exequatur that mister Taylor may put the great seal to it before he seals the letter.1 he hopes the President and mistress Washington are in perfect health.

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

1On 27 Aug., Jefferson sent George Taylor, Jr., chief clerk in the State Department, two letters for Jean-Baptiste Ternant, French minister to the United States (see 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 24:328). The first contained an exequatur (official recognition) for Michel-Ange-Bernard de Mangourit to act as the French consul for North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The second letter, also dated 27 Aug., concerned France’s declaration of war on 20 April 1792 against Francis II, the Holy Roman Emperor and king of Bohemia and Hungary. Jefferson expressed “the sincere concern we feel on learning that the French nation, to whose friendship and interests we have the strongest attachments, are now to encounter the evils of war.” He assured the French minister that the United States “shall continue in the same friendly dispositions, and render all those good offices which shall be consistent with the duties of a neutral nation” (ibid., 328–29).

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