George Washington Papers

Cabinet Opinion on the Recall of Edmond Genet, 23 August 1793

Cabinet Opinion on the Recall of Edmond Genet

[Philadelphia, 23 August 1793]

At meetings of the heads of departments & the Attorney General at the President’s on the 1st & 2d of Aug. 1793. On a review of the whole of mister Genet’s correspondence & conduct, it was unanimously agreed that a letter should be written to the Minister of the U.S. at Paris, stating the same to him, resuming the points of difference which had arisen between the government of the U.S. & mister Genet, assigning the reasons for the opinions of the former, & desiring the recall of the latter: and that this letter with those which have passed between mister Genet & the Secretary of state, & other necessary documents, shall be laid by mister Morris before the Executive of the French government.1

At a meeting of the same at the President’s Aug. 15. the rough draught of the said letter having been prepared by the Secretary of state was read for consideration, and it was agreed that the Secretary of the treasury should take measures for obtaining a vessel either by hire or purchase, to be sent to France express, with the dispatches when ready.2

At a meeting of the same at the President’s Aug. 20. the said letter was read & corrected by paragraphs & finally agreed to.3

At a meeting of the same at the President’s Aug. 23. it was agreed that the preceding letter should bear the date of the last document which is to accompany it, to wit, Aug. 16. & the draught of a second letter to our Minister at Paris was read & unanimously approved, & to bear date this day.4 Stated & signed this 23d day of Aug. 1793.

Th: Jefferson
Alexander Hamilton
H. Knox
Emd: Randolph.

DS, in Thomas Jefferson’s writing, DLC:GW; D (letterpress copy), DLC: Jefferson Papers; Df, in Thomas Jefferson’s writing, DLC: Jefferson Papers. The letterpress copy is signed only by Jefferson. Jefferson enclosed the draft in his letter to the Cabinet of 24 Aug. (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 , 26:752). GW’s docket on the DS at DLC:GW reads: “Opinion, 1 & 2d August 1793 and on the 15th & 20th of the same month on the application to the French Governt for the recall of its minister in America.”

1On the cabinet meetings of 1 and 2 Aug., see “Cabinet Meeting. Notes Concerning the Conduct of the French Minister,” 2 Aug. 1793, Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 15:159–62; “Notes of Cabinet Meeting on Edmond Charles Genet,” 1, 2 Aug. 1793, 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 , 26:598, 601–3; JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 211–12.

2For the letter of recall, dated 16 Aug. 1793, that Jefferson sent to Gouverneur Morris, its differences from the draft presented on 15 Aug., and its enclosures, 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 , 26:697–715. On the process of this letter’s composition, see ibid., 26:693–96.

On the left margin opposite this paragraph in the draft, Hamilton wrote, “Approved. It does not appear necessary to be more particular with regard to the Express boat. A. Hamilton.” Beneath this note Knox wrote, “agreed to H. Knox.” For Hamilton’s arrangement to send the dispatches aboard the sloop Hannah, see Hamilton to Jefferson and Jefferson to Claude-Adam de La Motte, the U.S. consul at the port of Le Havre, France, both 26 Aug. 1793, ibid., 759. See also Hamilton’s letter to Philadelphia merchant Isaac Hazlehurst of 23 Aug. 1793, in Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 15:266–67.

3For the discussion at this meeting, see “Notes of Cabinet Meeting on Edmond Charles Genet,” 20 Aug. 1793, 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 , 26:730–32.

4For the discussion at this meeting, see “Notes of a Cabinet Meeting on a Commercial Treaty with France,” 23 Aug. 1793, ibid., 749–51. On GW’s decision to discuss at this cabinet meeting a French proposal for a new treaty, see Jefferson to GW, 22 Aug., and notes, and GW to Jefferson, 23 Aug. 1793. In the letter to Morris of 23 Aug. 1793, in which that of 16 Aug. was enclosed, Jefferson instructed the minister to assure the French government of the friendship of the United States and to express the administration’s willingness to negotiate a new commercial treaty (ibid., 747–48). For additional documents sent to Morris in support of the administration’s position, see Jefferson to Morris, 26 Aug. 1793, ibid., 760.

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