George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 16 October 1792

From Thomas Jefferson

Oct. 16. 1792.

Th: Jefferson has the honor to inclose to the President some letters just received.1 Colo. Fay having sent him a paper of Sugar-Maple seed, Th: J., on his request, asks the President’s acceptance of the within.2

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

1The enclosed letters were probably those written to Jefferson by William Short from The Hague on 6 Aug. and David Humphreys from Lisbon on 12 Aug. 1792. Jefferson recorded both letters as received on 16 Oct. 1792.

Short, the U.S. minister resident to The Hague, reported that Russia had intimidated Poland into conceding to its demands for territory and that it was uncertain how events in France would proceed. He wrote that he would set out the next day for Amsterdam “to sign the contract and bonds of the last loan” negotiated by the United States (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 24:280–81). For that loan, see GW’s ratification statement of 5 Nov. 1792. Humphreys, U.S. minister to Portugal since early 1791 and former secretary to GW, reported on the changing fortunes of individual members in the Portugese royal court but found general political calm within the nation. He also observed that “the prospects of markets here for the produce of the U.S.” were not as favorable as hoped and that there had been little progress in negotiating the release of U.S. prisoners held in Algiers (ibid., 287).

2Jefferson delivered some of the seeds sent by Joseph Fay (c.1752–1803) of Bennington, Vt., to both GW and James Madison (see Fay to Jefferson, 8 Oct., and Jefferson to Fay, 4 Nov. 1792, ibid., 451, 575).

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