Thomas Jefferson Papers

III. Notes of Presents Given to American Diplomats by Foreign Governments, [ca. 1791]

III. Notes of Presents Given to American Diplomats by Foreign Governments

[ca. 1791]

Dr. Franklin } Recieved each a gold snuff box with the king’s pictures set in briliants in the lid. On signing the treaty with France. Dr. Lee on his return consulted Congress whether he should return the present.
Silas Deane
Dr. Lee

They decided negatively and this formed the subsequent rule.

Dr. Franklin recieved a present on taking leave as Minister Plenipotiary in France.

Mr. Jay recieved a present as Minister Plenipotiary to Spain.

Mr. Adams recieved a gold medal and chain from the United Netherlands on taking leave.

Mr. Adams recieved the accustomary present on taking leave of the court of St. James.

Th: J. recieved on taking leave as Minister Plenipotiary to France a miniature picture of the king set in brilliants estimated at about 360. Louis. He gave presents according to usage to certain officers of the court of about 80. Louis.

The above appointments were all under the old Congress, and comprehend every instance of resident appointments under them. No present was recieved on the Prussian treaty. I never heard whether there was on the Swedish and Dutch treaties.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 233: 41625); entirely in TJ’s hand; undated but after Short had received TJ’s gift.

In DLC: TJ Papers, 233: 41626 there is another folio in TJ’s hand, also undated but presumably drawn up about the same time as the above and presenting some additional information obtained from Adams, Jay, and William Temple Franklin. It reads:

“Presents to Ministers

Holland. Gave to Mr. Adams a medal and gold chain of 1300 florins value. The medal is 30. lines diameter, has the arms of the Union on one side, and the particular arms of each province on the other.

London. Paid into the hands of Mr. Adams’s banker 300 guineas, from which however Sr. Clement Cotterel, the master of ceremonies retained 15. pr. cent as of usage, so that their present is of 225. guineas [i.e. 255 guineas].

France. Gave to Messrs. Deane and Lee, who were only Commissioners a box with the king’s picture set round with diamonds, worth about 300. Louis d’ors.

They give to Ministers Plenipotentiary generally what is worth about 1000. Louis d’ors. They gave to Dr. Franklin who was in favour a miniature of the king set with 408. diamonds forming a wreath round the picture and a crown on the top, worth 1500 Louis.”

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