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Notes for a Letter to Gouverneur Morris, [2–16 August 1793]

Notes for a Letter to Gouverneur Morris1

[Philadelphia, August 2–16, 1793]

I explanation of fitting out privateers Charlestown put on footing of their being no law2
II Letter persisting in objection to it3
III reclaims Gideon Henfield4
IV very moderate answer that Courts will do right
V Concerning Sloop Republican5
I Issuing Commissions a mere consular act—
II insists on right of army for defence
III speaks of Treaty permitting to enter
IV armed—to equip themselves—
V France always in practice of issuing Commissions
VI Will give orders to consuls to take precautions to respect our Territory & political opinions of President—
VII Insists on right of arming vessels—abandonning unworthily its friends—in waiting till the Representatives of the sovereign had resolved to adopt or reject—
VII Complaint of proceedings of District Court, against the William6—persons labour secretly to have misunderstood—
VIII Letter concerning Debt accomplish informal system since the fœderel Govt. without consulting Congress
IX Awkwardness Governor avails himself of political opinions
X Letter—opinions private & public of President—
on j’est empressé tu Je ne scais sous quelles influence—empressions etrangers
complains of obstruction to consular jurisdiction7
X Letter concerning Ship William requiring relinquishment
XI Letter concerning another Vessel on same situation
XII Letter concerning Little Democrat8—taken on account of the State to augment the marine of France—Commission &c

I Blamed in a conversation the judicial proceedings of the Consul—Ought only to have made a ministerial Inquiry—
I Case of the Swallow9

AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1These notes were presumably drawn up to aid Thomas Jefferson in preparing his letter of August 16, 1793, to Morris, requesting the recall of Edmond Charles Genet as French Minister to the United States. See “Cabinet Meetings. Proposals Concerning the Conduct of the French Minister,” August 1–23, 1793, and “Cabinet Meeting. Notes Concerning the Conduct of the French Minister,” August 2, 1793. These notes should be compared with the final version of Jefferson’s letter printed in ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 167–72.

In the Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress, is a document in Jefferson’s handwriting entitled “Alteration proposed in the letter to G. Morris, in consequence of an examination of the treaties between France & Great Britain.” At the foot of this document H wrote:

“submitted essentially in the same words without 22 { ‘Not being subjects of either crown’ said to be in the same words with our 22 Article. The words of our Article are ‘not apartenant’ not belonging &c. The sense is the same but not the words. Approved with the remark which merely regards accuracy of expression. A Hamilton”

Following H’s comment, Edmund Randolph wrote: “I am content either way. Edm. Randolph.” H’s advice was not taken, but it concerns the wording in the sixth paragraph of the letter Jefferson sent to Morris. For this paragraph, see ASP, Foreign Relations, I, 168.

2See Genet to Jefferson, May 27, 1793 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 149–50).

3Genet to Jefferson, June 8, 1793 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 151).

4For the Gideon Henfield case, see Jefferson to H, June 1, 1793, note 1.

5The Republican, formerly the British sloop Polly, was a French privateer fitted out at New York. See “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion Respecting the Measures to Be Taken Relative to a Sloop Fitted Out as a Privateer,” June 12, 1793, and “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion Respecting French Privateers,” June 17, 1793. The points H lists below were raised by Genet in his letter to Jefferson of June 8, 1793 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 151). See also Genet to Jefferson, June 17, 1793 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 154).

6For the William, see Rufus King to H, June 15, 1793, and Jefferson to H and Henry Knox, July 25, 1793, note 1.

7See Genet to Jefferson, June 22, 1793 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 155–56).

8For the Petite Démocrate or the Little Sarah, see “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on the Case of the Little Sarah,” July 8, 1793.

9On June 18, 1793, the French consul at New York informed Genet that “The Swallow, an English letter of marque,… armed with eight cannon and twenty men at least, and appearing to be of about 150 tons burden, has anchored so long in this port, as to exclude the idea of her having entered in distress, though the 17th article of the treaty of commerce between France and America, formally excludes from the ports of both, the enemy vessels who shall have made prizes, and every English privateer which enters is authorized by the English Government to take, burn, and destroy, our vessels …” (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 159). Genet sent this complaint to Jefferson on June 25, 1793 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 159).

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