George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson, 14 January 1793

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson

United States [Philadelphia], January 14th 1793

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to return to the Secretary of State the letter to the Minister of France, relative to the supply of money to pay certain Bills drawn by the administration of St Domingo, which has been submitted to the President;1 and to inform the Secretary, that the President, presuming that the contents of said letter is2 conformable to the arrangements made on that subject, approves of the same.

Tobias Lear.
Secretary to the p[r]esident of the United States

ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers; ALS (letterpress copy), DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW. Jefferson docketed the ALS as “recd Jan. 14. 93.”

1Jefferson, in his letter to Jean-Baptiste Ternant of 14 Jan. 1793, wrote: “I have laid before the President of the United States your Letter of the 7th. instant, desiring a supply in money, on account of our debt to France, for the purpose of paying certain Bills drawn by the Administration of St. Domingo, and for procuring necessaries for that Colony, which supply you wish should, with those preceding, make up the amount of four millions of Livres. . . . But having, in a former letter expressed to you our desire that an authentic and direct sanction may be obtained from the Government of France for what we have done, and what we may hereafter be desired to do, I proceed to inform you that motives of friendship prevailing over those of rigorous caution, the President of the United States, has acceded to your present desire.” Money also will be provided, Jefferson wrote, as “expressed in your other letter of the 8th. relating to the Consuls of France.

“I have, however, Sir, to ask the favor of you to take arrangements with the Administration of St. Domingo, so as that future supplies from us, should they be necessary, may be negotiated here, before they are counted on and drawn for there. Bills on the French Agents here to be paid by us, amount to Bills on us; and it is absolutely necessary that we be not subject to calls, which have not been before calculated and provided for” (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 25:51–52). For background on Ternant’s request that part of the American debt be applied to the expenses for France’s colony of Saint Domingue, see Alexander Hamilton to GW, 19 Nov. 1792, and note 1. For background on the request from French diplomat Antoine-René-Charles-Mathurin de La Forest that the United States assign a portion of its debt payments to the salaries of the French consuls in the United States, see GW to Hamilton, 1 Jan. 1793, and note 2. See also JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 16–18.

2In the letter-book copy this verb is correctly conjugated as “are.”

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