George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 31 May 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] May 31. 93.

Th: Jefferson has the honor to send the President draughts of letters on the subjects discussed in his presence the other day, meant merely as a ground-work for the gentlemen to propose amendments to.1 he shall be able to send another in the course of to-day, so that the whole would be ready for consideration tomorrow, if the President should think proper to have them considered before the departure of the Attorney general.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 letter to Edmond Genet of 1 June discussed the case of Gideon Henfield, a privateer captured by American authorities (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 26:160–61; see also Jefferson to William Rawle, 15 May, and note 2, Enclosure II in Lear to Jefferson, 15 May). Jefferson, in his 31 May letter to William Carmichael and William Short, the American commissioners at Madrid negotiating the United States’ right of navigation on the Mississippi River and the boundary between Georgia and Florida, reported that “it is committed, by the President, to let the Court of Spain see how impossible it is for us to submit, with folded arms, to be butchered by these Savages, and to prepare them to view, with a just Eye, the more vigorous measures we must pursue to put an end to their atrocities, if the moderate ones, we are now taking, should fail of that effect. . . . The President is, therefore, constantly anxious to know the state of things with you: and I entreat you to keep him constantly and well informed” (DLC: Jefferson Papers; printed ibid., 148–50). Jefferson, in his 5 June letter to Spanish consuls Josè Ignacio de Viar and Josè de Jaudenes, discounted allegations that Southwest Territory governor William Blount sought to push the Cherokees into war with Spain, and he claimed that such activity, if it did exist, “has been unauthorized by the President, and unknown to him” (DLC: Jefferson Papers; printed ibid., 205–6). Jefferson also enclosed the last two paragraphs of his instructions to Carmichael and Short of 18 Mar. 1792, regarding deleterious Spanish actions during negotiations, and copies of his letters to Carmichael and Short of 14 Oct. and 3 Nov. 1792, which alleged Spanish instigation of Indian hostilities (Jefferson to GW, 18 Mar., and note 1, and to GW, 14 Oct., GW to Jefferson, 3 Nov.; see also ibid., 23:312, 24:479–80, 565–67).

2The cabinet met on 1 June 1793, but due to the absence of Alexander Hamilton and GW, who was ill, it delayed approving these letters until 4–5 June (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 157, 159, Tobias Lear to Jefferson, 31 May, Jefferson to GW, 31 May [second letter]). Attorney General Edmund Randolph departed Philadelphia on 6 June (ibid., 163).

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