George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from James Monroe, 24 March 1796

From James Monroe

Paris March 24. 1796.

Dear Sir

You will decypher this by the publick cypher in the hands of the Secry of State.1

A letter from you to Gr Morris inclosed to Mr2 Deas has fallen by some accident into the hands of the Directoire. It contains five or six pages. Is said to be very confidential, authorizing communications with Lord Grenville, &c. The person who told me of it and who read it, says it has produced an ill effect. He adds, that you say you have kept no copy of the letter. I mention this that you may be aware of the fact, upon the idea it may be useful and cannot be hurtful.3

My publick communications are so full that I have little to add here especially as Dr Brokenborough will present this a sensible young man who has been here thro’ the winter.4 with great respect & esteem I am dear Sir very sincerely yr very humble Servant

Jas Monroe

ALS, ViMtvL; ADf, DLC: James Monroe Papers. GW received this letter at Mount Vernon on 10 August. Unable to read the coded text, he sent the letter to Philadelphia to be deciphered. After his arrival at Philadelphia on 21 Aug., he replied to Monroe on 25 August.

1The following paragraph was written in cipher. The deciphered text, which was written below Monroe’s signature, is printed here.

2There apparently was a problem with the cipher at this point. The man deciphering the paragraph wrote “tude,” underlined that text, and wrote “Mr” above, following those words with a bracket.

4John Brockenbrough, Jr. (1773–1852), a son of Dr. John Brockenbrough of Tappahannock, Va., graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1795. After his return to Virginia, he married well and gave up medicine to manage his property. He spent many years as president of the Bank of Virginia.

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