Thomas Jefferson Papers

V. The President to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 14 February 1791

V. The President to the Senate and the House of Representatives

Feb. 14. 1791.

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives

Soon after I was called to the administration of the government [I found it important to come to an understanding with the court of London on several points interesting to the U.S. and particularly to know Whether they were]1 disposed to enter into arrangements, by mutual consent, which might fix the commerce between the two nations on principles of reciprocal advantage. For this purpose I authorised informal2 conferences with their ministers; and from these I do not infer any disposition on their part to enter into any arrangements merely commercial. I have thought it proper to give you this information, as it might at some time have influence on matters under your consideration.

Dft (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand, with deletions and interlineations as indicated below. This and following document are integral and endorsed by Remsen: “Communication to the Senate and House of Representatives.” Tr (DLC: Washington Papers. Entry in SJPL reads: “[Feb.] 14. Message to Congr. on our affairs with Gr. Br. & G. W.’s approbation.” The official text (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, Gales & Seaton, 1826- description ends , 1, 377–8; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, Gales, 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 1, 269) is identical with Dft as altered.

1TJ first wrote and then deleted: “I took measures for obtaining information Whether the court of London was,” substituting therefor the matter in brackets (supplied).

2This word interlined and then placed in parentheses (by Washington who queried its use in his memorandum to TJ; Document IV). TJ deleted the parentheses, allowing it to stand in the final version.

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