Thomas Jefferson Papers

I. The President to the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and War, 4 April 1791

I. The President to the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and War

Mount Vernon, April 4. 1791.


As the public service may require that communications should be made to me, during my absence from the seat of government, by the most direct conveyances, and as, in the event of any very extraordinary occurrence, it will be necessary to know at what time I may be found in any particular place, I have to inform you that unless the progress of my journey to Savannah is retarded by unforeseen interruptions it will be regulated (including days of halt) in the following manner.

I shall be on the 8th. of April at Fredericksburg
11th. Richmond
14th. Petersburg
16th. Halifax
18th. Tarborough
20th. Newbern
24th. Wilmington
29th. Georgetown, South-Carolina
2nd. of May Charleston, halting five days.
11th. Savannah, halting two days.

Thence, leaving the line of the mail, I shall proceed to Augusta, and, according to the information which I may receive there, my return, by an upper road will be regulated.—The route of my return is at present uncertain, but in all probability, it will be through Columbia, Camden, Charlotte, Salisbury, Salem, Guilford, Hillsborough, Harrisburg, Williamsburg to Taylor’s ferry on the Roanoke, and thence to Fredericksburg by the nearest and best road.

After thus explaining to you, as far as I am able at present, the direction and probable progress of my journey, I have to express my wish, if any serious and important cases should arise during my absence, (of which the probability is but too strong) that the Secretaries for the Departments of State, Treasury, and War may hold consultations thereon, to determine whether they are of such a nature as to require my personal attendance at the seat of government—and, if they should be so considered, I will return immediately from any place at which the information may reach me.—Or should they determine that measures, relevant to the case, may be legally and properly pursued without the immediate agency of the President, I will approve and ratify the measures, which may be conformed to such determination.

Presuming that the Vice-President will have left the seat of government for Boston, I have not requested his opinion to be taken on the supposed emergency. Should it be otherwise I wish him also to be consulted.—I am, Gentlemen, Your most obedient Servant,

Go: Washington

RC (DLC); in hand of William Jackson except for signature; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Henry Knox Esquires Secretaries of the United States for the Departments of State, Treasury, and War”; endorsed by TJ as received 8 Apr. 1791 and so recorded in SJL. PrC (DLC: Washington Papers). Dft (DNA: RG 59, MLR); in Jackson’s hand. Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDC). Another Tr (DNA: RG 59, PCC No. 120).

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