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To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 17 September 1795

From Timothy Pickering

Department of State Septr 17. 1795.


The inclosed letter from Mr Paleski, the Prussian Consul being marked “duplicate,” I suppose the Original may have already fallen under your notice.1 I thought it proper however to lay it before you: at the same time it appears to be so clear a case, that I have written an answer to Mr Paleski, suggesting that the prolonging of a treaty is tantamou[n]t to the making of a treaty, in which the act of the Senate being necessary, the object of his letter must of course be postponed till the Senate assembles.2 I informed him however that I should transmit the letter to you. I am with the highest respect sir, your most obt servant

Timothy Pickering

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters.

1Charles Gottfried Paleske (1758–1816), a Philadelphia merchant originally from Gdansk, was commissioned the Prussian consul general in the United States in 1791 and dismissed from that post in 1801. He then returned to mercantile pursuits, became involved with canal companies, and in 1814 was appointed notary public for the city of Philadelphia. His letter to GW of 10 Aug. stated that Frederick William II of Prussia had given him “special commands for forming a new treaty of comerce, the conditions of which, from the present unsettled state of Europe, and the relatif situation of this country, could perhaps not be clearly defined nor permanent.” The king desired Paleske “to request, that the present treaty of comerce, between Prussia and the United States be prolonged for a Term of Ten Years from the expiration of the same: when meanwhile the great and reciprocal wants of both nations of each other’s manufactures and productions may be better understood, and produce a mutual beneficial treaty and intercourse” (ALS [duplicate], DNA: RG 59, State Department, Notes from Foreign Consuls in the U.S.).

2For the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Prussia, 10 Sept. 1785, see Miller, Treaties, description begins Hunter Miller, ed. Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Vol. 2, 1776-1818. Washington, D.C., 1931. description ends 162–83. Article XXVII of that treaty specified that it would remain in force for ten years. For Pickering’s letter to Paleske of this date, see DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters.

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