To James McHenry
Philadelphia Feb. 5. 1791.
An extraordinary press of business ever since the meeting of Congress has obliged me to suspend all my correspondencies so that it is not till now that I am able to take them up, and among the first your favor of Dec. 14. On the subject of that I am obliged to ask you to name some person at Paris who may, as your agent, attend to all the details of sollicitation, as it would be impossible for Mr. Short to do that, and indeed contrary to a fixed rule which has been established of necessity to prevent his being used as the factor of individuals which would be more than he could do, and lead him often to what would be improper. I will write to him to support your claim by his interposition at proper occasions, as far as shall be right, and in this he will move in concert with M. de la Fayette. As soon as you shall advise me to whom to address your papers, I will forward them through Mr. Short and with a letter to him. In the mean time they remain in my hands. I have the honor to be with great esteem Dr. Sir Your most obedt. humble servt,
P.S. No time is lost as yet he being at Amsterdam.
RC (DLC: McHenry Papers); addressed: “Doctr. James McHenry Baltimore”; postmarked: “6 FE” and “Free”; franked by TJ. PrC (DLC); mutilated.
On 14 Dec. 1790 McHenry also wrote Short asking his “protection of the enclosed memorial to the minister of the French marine, considering you as placed in a situation to convey to the court where you reside any well founded complaints by your fellow citizens for injury done them by the French nation or any of its subjects.” McHenry stated that his loss had been considerable and added: “I see no other way of obtaining redress short of ministerial support. Let me therefore entreat you to countenance my application, shewing it before delivered to the Marquiss de la Fayette and conferring with him on the subject” (McHenry to Short, 14 Dec. 1790, OCHi: Short Papers, endorsed as received 28 May 1791). In response to the above letter announcing a rule which TJ himself had observed as minister and which he no doubt enjoined upon Short before leaving France, McHenry wrote TJ: “I thank you for your kind attention to my little business. I knew very well you could not have leisure at this season and rested satisfied that it would not be the least recollected. You will find among my papers a letter to Messrs. Le Couteulx & Cie. which you will be pleased to destroy and substitute the inclosed in its place. I request these gentlemen to present the memorial which Mr. Short is to deliver them, and countenance it; or if that is inconvenient to appoint some person to attend to the details of solicitation in their name. I rather suspect I ought not to rely on their putting themselves to much trouble, and must therefore place my dependance on Mr. Short and the Marquiss, and the letter you are so obliging as to say you will write to the former” (McHenry to TJ, 9 Feb. 1791, endorsed by TJ as received 14 Feb. and so recorded in SJL, OCHi: Short Papers). TJ forwarded this letter to Short with McHenry’s papers (TJ to Short, 8 Mch. 1791). But instead of destroying McHenry’s first letter to Messrs. Le Couteulx & Cie. he returned it to the author (TJ to McHenry, 28 Mch. 1791).