George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 31 May 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] May 31. 93.

Th: Jefferson has now the honor of inclosing to the President the draught of a letter to mister Genet on the subject of the departure of the privateer.1 also a letter just recd from Colo. Humphreys.2

AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW. Tobias Lear’s docket on the AL reads “From The Secy of State 1st June 1793.”

1Jefferson’s letter to French minister Edmond Genet of 5 June was written, in part, as a response to the arrival of the French privateer Citoyen Genet at the port of Philadelphia (Notes on Citoyen Genet and Its Prizes, 20 May, 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 26:71–73). Jefferson wrote Genet that “the President... after mature consultation and deliberation was of opinion that the arming and equipping vessels in the Ports of the United States to cruise against nations with whom they are at peace, was incompatible with the territorial sovereignty of the United States.” For the revisions to this letter and for the final version sent, see ibid., 195–97. On GW’s opinion, see GW to Cabinet, 18 April, source note. See also Alexander Hamilton’s Memorandum, 15 May, nn.1, 3.

2David Humphreys, the U.S. minister to Portugal, wrote Jefferson on 4 April that Americans still faced impediments in the wheat and flour trade with Portugal and that war seemed probable between that nation and France (ibid., 25:487–88).

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