Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Henry Remsen, [9 August 1790]

To Henry Remsen

Monday morn. [9 Aug. 1790]

Th: Jefferson being to go to the President’s at 8. aclock, and perhaps for the day, would be glad to see Mr. Remsen at least a quarter before 8. and that he will bring with him whatever printed cyphers he has of the kind furnished by Th: J. in order to compare them with two he has received from Mr. Adams.

RC (George A. Ball, Muncie, Indiana, 1945); undated; addressed: “Mr. Remsen” and written on fragment of memorandum from Remsen to TJ containing information about costs of removal of the offices to Philadelphia: “a waggon will take One ton at 12/ per 100 is £12.0.0. Four days journey is £3.0.0. per day each waggon” (see note below). Neither Remsen’s note nor the above is recorded in SJL. The date is assigned on the basis of TJ’s letter to the President of 8 Aug. 1790 (Document V in group of documents on the war crisis) in which he alludes to the letter to Carmichael of 6 Aug. 1790 and mentions the fact that cyphers needed to be prepared. Having transmitted the important budget of documents to Washington on Sunday, TJ-according to this conjectural reconstruction of the chronology-expected to go over these with him on Monday morning “at 8 aclock, and perhaps for the day.” The memorandum to Remsen must, then, have been written quite early. No other episode at this time involving cyphers required such urgency.

The cypher key transmitted to Carmichael in the letter of 6 Aug. 1790 was to replace that sent by TJ to him on 1 Feb. 1788. TJ had every reason to believe that the Spanish ministry had access to that cypher (Code No. 11); W. C. Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Letterpress Edition, N.Y., 1892–1899, 10 vols. description ends The United States and Spain in 1790 (Brooklyn, N.Y., 1890), p. 18, states “that before Carmichael’s letters could leave Spain, or Jefferson’s be delivered to him, the Spanish court had read them and were perfectly cognizant of what they contained. Even the cypher used between these two was known to it.”

In DLC: TJ Papers, 66: 11553 there is the remainder of the document noted above in which Remsen gathered information about freight costs to Philadelphia. The remnant reads: “Freight of articles to Philadelphia by water.
7d. per square foot.
2/. per barrel
from 6d. to ⅙ per chair, according to quality of chair.
2/8 per bed, tied up in a small compass in a blanket.

A vessel capable of containing 500 barrels can be freighted for £35, and the passage of servants in her will not be charged; but they must find themselves. This vessel will contain
Mr. Jefferson’s furniture.
The effects belonging to the Offices
that are to be removed by water
The effects of the persons in the Office.

And such other Effects as may offer. The expence of transporting articles to Philadelphia, by water to Amboy, by land from Amboy to Bordentown, and by water from Bordentown to Philadela. 4/9 per hundred weight, and 7/ for a passenger. The expence of transporting effects to Philadelphia by land, from Powles hook, the ferriage from N York to Powles-hook exclusive, 10/ per hundred weight for a single Ton, and 8/4 for seven Tons, to be carried in covered waggons.”

It is obvious from the date of the foregoing that TJ initiated an inquiry into the costs of moving the departmental offices as soon as the residence Act had been passed.

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