George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 26 August 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Aug. 26. 93.

Th: Jefferson has the honor to inclose to the President Minutes of what passed on the subject of the letter to mister Genet.1 also the draught of a letter to the Merchants. both papers have been twice sent to the Attorney General’s, but he is not in town nor will he be till tomorrow.2


1For these minutes, see Cabinet Opinion, 23 Aug. 1793.

2In his circular letter to American merchants of 27 Aug. 1793, Jefferson wrote: “Complaint having been made to the Government of the United States of some instances of unjustifiable vexation and spoliation committed on our merchant vessels by the privateers of the Powers at War, and it being possible that other instances may have happened of which no information has been given to the Government, I have it in charge from the President to assure the merchants of the United States, concerned in foreign commerce or navigation, that due attention will be paid to any injuries they may suffer on the high seas, or in foreign countries, contrary to the law of Nations, or to existing treaties; and that on their forwarding hither well authenticated evidence of the same proper proceedings will be adopted for their relief.” For the entire text of this letter, its variations in wording, and a list of its recipients, 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 , 26:767–69. Tobias Lear returned the draft to Jefferson on this same date with a brief cover letter that expressed GW’s “entire approbation” (DLC: Jefferson Papers; see also JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 231).

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