George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 16 May 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] May. 16. 1793.

Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the President and submits to his approbation a letter to mister Ternant, in conformity to that to mister Hammond. it has been submitted to the Secretaries of the treasury & War and Attorney General, and corrected by them. if the President approves the letter he asks the favor of him to stick a wafer in it, & the bearer will proceed to deliver that & mister Hammond’s at the same time, as Th: J. thinks they should be.1 he knows of the arrival of mister Genest, & thinks this letter had better be delivered to mister Ternant before Genest is announced, or several days delay, & a new moulding of the business, might take place.2 for this reason Th: J. thinking the letter might find the President at table, supposed the importance of the case would justify his desiring it to be opened even in that situation.3

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

1For the letter on the subject of French privateers that Jefferson wrote to Ternant, the French minister to the United States, on 15 May, 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 26:42–44. See also Jefferson to George Hammond, 15 May, Enclosure I of Tobias Lear to Jefferson, 15 May. On these letters, the cabinet’s debate over their contents, and GW’s approval of them, see Lear to Jefferson, 15 May, n.1, and Enclosure I, n.1.

2Edmond Genet, Ternant’s replacement, presented his letter of credence to GW on 18 May (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 143; Provisional Executive Council of France to GW, 30 Dec. 1792, note 2).

3Jefferson wrote on the cover of this letter, “to be opened immediately.”

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