Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 8 March 1791

To William Short

Philadelphia Mar. 8. 1791.

Dear Sir

A conveyance offering by which we can send large packets you will recieve herewith the following articles.

  • 1.  The newspapers.
  • 2.  The acts of the 2d. session of Congress.
  • 3.  A report on the fisheries of the U.S. It is thought that this contains matter which may be usefully communicated. I am persuaded the better this subject is understood in France, the more they will see their interest in favouring our fisheries.
  • 4.  A letter from the President to the King, of which an open copy is inclosed for your information.
  • 5.  A letter from myself to the Count de Moustier in answer to his to the President and myself taking leave.
  • 6.  A letter from myself to the President of the National assembly of France in answer to his to Congress on the death of Dr. Franklin. Let it be understood that Congress can only correspond through the Executive, whose organ in the case of foreign nations is the Secretary of state. The President of the U.S. being co-ordinate with Congress, cannot personally be their scribe.
  • 7.  Some papers in a case interesting to Dr. McHenry of Baltimore. He at first sent them to me with a desire to commit the subject of them wholly to you. I informed him we could not consent that you should be used as the agent of private individuals, but that if he would provide an agent on the spot who would undertake the details of sollicitation, management, correspondence, &c. I would desire you to patronize the measure so far as you should find it prudent and just. It is put on this footing as you will see by his answer to me.
  • 8.  A correction of the Report on weights and measures.

You are desired to have a medal of gold struck from the diplomatic die formerly ordered and present it with a chain of gold to the Count de Moustier who is notified that this will be done by you. I formerly informed you that we proposed to vary the worth of the present by varying the size of the links of the chain, which are fixed at 365 in number. Let each link in the present instance contain 6. livres worth of gold, and let it be made of plain wire, so that the value may be in the metal and not at all in the workmanship. I shall hope to recieve the dies themselves when a safe conveyance presents itself.1—I am with great esteem, Dear Sir Your friend & servant,

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Short Papers); partly in code, with interlinear decoding by Short; endorsed as received 28 May 1791. PrC (DLC); text en clair of passage to be encoded is on verso of first page. FC (DNA: RG 59, DCI); entirely en clair. Enclosures: (1) The newspapers included Fenno’s Gazette of the United States and Davis’ Virginia Gazette (TJ to Short, 23 Jan. 1791). (2) The President to the King of France, 2 Mch. 1791, reading: “Very Great and good Friend and Ally.—I have received the Letter wherein you inform me that you have thought proper to give a new Mission to the Sieur de Moustier, and thereby to put an end to his Functions as Minister plenipotentiary here. His Conduct during the Time of his Residence in this Country, has been such as to meet my entire Approbation and Esteem; and it is with great Pleasure I render him the Justice of this Testimony. He carries with him my Wishes, that in continuing to serve your Majesty faithfully, he may continue to enjoy your Favor and Protection. I renew sincere Assurances of the Friendship and Affection which I bear to your Majesty and your Nation, and I pray God to have you, Very great and good Friend and Ally, in his holy keeping.—Written at Philadelphia the second Day of March 1791.—Your good Friend and Ally. George Washington” (Tr in DLC: Short Papers; entirely in Remsen’s hand, including attestation by TJ; at foot of text: “To our Very great and good Friend and Ally—His Most Christian Majesty”; Entry in SJPL under 2 Mch. 1791 reads: “G. W. to K. of France on [De Moustier’s taking leave]”). (3) TJ to De Moustier, 2 Mch. 1791. (4) TJ to the President of the National Assembly, 8 Mch. 1791. (5) James McHenry to TJ, 9 Feb. 1791, recorded in SJL as received 14 Feb. 1791.

1Preceding words in italic are written in cipher. Short’s interlinear decoding has been collated with the texts en clair and verified by the Editors, employing Code No. 10.

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