From George Washington
Philadelphia May 7th. 1793.
As I perceive there has been some mis-conception respecting the building of Vessels in our Ports wch may be converted into armed ones; and as I understand from the Attorney General there is to be a meeting to day, or tomorrow of the Gentlemen on another occasion,1 I wish to have that part of your circular letter which respects this matter reconsidered by them before it goes out.2
I am not disposed to adopt any measures which may check Shipbuilding in this Country. Nor am I satisfied that we should too promptly adopt measures—in the first instance—that is not indispensably necessary. To take fair and supportable ground I conceive to be our best policy, and is all that can be required of us by the Powers at War; leaving the rest to be managed according to circumstances and the advantages which may be derived from them.
I am always Yours &ca.
Is it not expedient that the District Attornies should be written to, requiring their attention to the observance of the Injunctions of the Proclamation?
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. There was a meeting of the commissioners of the sinking fund on May 7, 1793 (Ford, Writings of Jefferson description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1892–1899). description ends , I, 228).