Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Gouverneur Morris, 1 January 1793

From Gouverneur Morris

Paris 1 January 1793

Dear Sir

I transmit herewith a Duplicate of what I had the Honor to write on the twenty first of last Month. Since that Period this Government, perceiving that they had been Wholly deceiv’d respecting the british Nation, have made Advances towards Conciliation. At least so I am inform’d, and also that these Advances are by a Declaration that however general the Terms of their Decree they had no Idea of exciting Revolt except in the Dominions of the Powers leagu’d against them. That as these Powers had entered into France with Design to change the established Government, they are justified in turning against them the Weapons of Revolt which they had intended to use. If this should ever become an Object of diplomatic Controversy, it will perhaps be objected that, untill the asserted Meaning of a general Decree be declared by some other Decree, the Words must be taken in their plain and natural Import. Should such new Decree be passed, which by the bye would take from France a very powerful Engine, the Case of Savoy will be quoted where, whatever may have been the supposed Intentions, no Facts existed to support the Conduct which has been pursued, in such Manner as to shew a Consistency with the limited Interpretation put upon the Decree. Lastly as to the Austrian Netherlands, it will, I presume be alledg’d that not only the Aggression was on the Part of France, but that it was avowedly made with a View to excite Revolt in that Country. But I do not beleive that we shall have any such War of Words, for I am convinc’d that France must, to avoid a War, do Something more than make Professions and Explanations. I say Nothing about the Navigation of the Scheld and the projected Invasion of Holland. I shall not either make any Remarks on the Unanimity in the British Parliament which your Good Sense and Knowlege of that People had certainly anticipated.

Enclos’d is the Copy of a Letter receiv’d from Mr. de la Motte (or rather an Extract therefrom) with Copy of my Answer of the twenty seventh of December. Accept I pray you Sir the Compliments of this Season and beleive me truly yours

Gouv Morris

P.S. The french Armies are at length permitted to go into Winter Quarters; that under Dumouriez amounted, by the last Returns, to 35000 Effectives after the Junction of Valence and Miranda.

RC (DNA: RG 59, DD); at head of text: “No. 15”; at foot of first page: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Apr. 1793 and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in DLC: Gouverneur Morris Papers). Tr (DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess.). Tr (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DD). Enclosures: (1) Morris to TJ, 21 Dec. 1792. (2) Extract from Delamotte to Morris, Havre, 25 Dec. 1792, asking if he should grant permission to use the American flag to Captain McFaden, a United States citizen resident in Philadelphia and owner as well as commander of L’Euphrasie, a ship with American registration papers that arrived from New Orleans under a Spanish flag and the name L’Esperance and now wishes to sail to New York flying American colors (Tr in DNA: RG 59, DD, in French; Trs in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess., in French and English; Trs in Lb in DNA: RG 59, DD, in French and English). (3) Morris to Delamotte, 27 Dec. 1792, suggesting the likelihood of fraud in Captain McFaden’s voyage, “since he arrives as a Spaniard and sail’d as an American,” but advising that he be allowed to hoist American colors because little can be done to prevent it and he cannot be presumed guilty of breaking the navigation law before conviction on trial, and that Delamotte report the transaction to the Secretary of State (Tr in DNA: RG 59, DD, signed by Morris; Tr in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess.; Tr in Lb in DNA: RG 59, DD).

The National Convention’s decree of 19 Nov. 1792 offered French assistance to all peoples seeking to recover their liberty (Archives Parlementaires, 1st ser., liii, 474). Eight days later, in response to the appeal of certain Savoyards, the National Convention annexed savoy to France (same, 357–8, 506–8, 610–15).

TJ submitted this letter to the President on 23 Apr. 1793, and he returned it the same day (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 118).

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