George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 15 July 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] July 15. 93.

Th: Jefferson with his respects to the President returns him Montmorin’s letter, which he thought he would wish to keep,1 & sends him a letter from Govr. Chittenden, open as he received it.2 also the letter from Algiers in which there is nothing new but their present marine force in the last page but one.3

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

1In his “Note on the principles of Spain relative to the navigation of the Missisipi,” which he had given to Jefferson on 2 July, Edmond Genet had included an extract from a report prepared in 1782 for Vergennes, the French minister of foreign affairs. Jefferson erroneously attributed this report to Armand-Marc, comte de Montmorin de Saint-Hérem, the French ambassador at Madrid from 1777 until 1783. Its actual author was Joseph-Matthias-Gérard de Rayneval (1736–1812), the French undersecretary of state (see Samuel Flagg Bemis, “The Rayneval Memoranda of 1782 and Some Comments on the French Historian Doniol,” in American Antiquarian Society Proceedings 47 [April 1937], 15–92). According to Jefferson’s translation, this report claimed that Spain had “the greatest interest not to open the Missisipi to the Americans” and has “decided to make the savages a barrier between her possessions and those of the Americans” (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 , 26:477–78). On GW’s initial receipt of this extract, see Jefferson’s first memorandum to GW of 11 July, and note 1.

2The letter from Vermont governor Thomas Chittenden has not been identified.

3On 16 July, GW returned to Jonathan Trumbull the “letter addressed” to the Connecticut congressman “from the American Captives at Algiers” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 200). On GW’s receipt of this letter, see Trumbull to GW, 8 July.

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