Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Monroe, 8 February 1783

From James Monroe

Richmond Feby. 8. 1783.

Dear Sir

I fear this will not reach you but I risque it for tis probable you may be detaind a few days at Baltimore. I take the liberty to enclose you a cypher of men and places which will perhaps in some instances form the subject of a correspondence. I beg of you to accept my most sincere acknowledgments for your kind offer. As yet I cannot possibly determine how to act but shall consult Mr. Short. If peace does not shortly take place we will most probably join you. I most sincerely wish you and your family a safe and happy arrival to the destin’d port, & am yr. affec. friend & servant,

Jas. Monroe

RC (DLC). Enclosure (ViU); List of words with numerical equivalents, to be used as a cipher and cipher key in correspondence between Monroe and TJ; there are 99 items in the list, of which examples are: “1. Spain 2. Ld. Shelburne 3. Ct. de Vergennes 4. Dr. Franklin … 60. peace 61. western posts 62. committee of the States 63. laws of nations … 90. Mr. Howell 91. Trenton 92. Phila. 93. Genl. Washington.” It does not appear that this simple cipher device was ever actually used; Monroe had another cipher prepared for use in his correspondence with TJ when the latter was about to depart for Europe in 1784; see Monroe to TJ, 20 May, and Samuel Hardy to TJ, 21 May 1784. This cipher has been designated as Code No. 2.

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