Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington, 18 December 1791

From George Washington

Sunday 18th. Decr 1791

The P  requests that Mr. J  would give the letter and statement herewith sent from the S y of War a perusal, and return it to him in the course of the day, with his opinion as to the propriety of the manner of making the communication to Congress; and whether it ought not, at any rate, to be introduced in some such way as this (if it is to pass through him to Congress) “Pursuant to directions I submit” & ca. or (if it is to go immediately from the War department to that body) “I lay before Congress by direction from1 the P  of the U.S. the following statement” & ca.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 18 Dec. 1791; entry in SJPL reads: “[Letter from G.W. to Th:]J. on statement from Secy at War for Congress.” Dft (DNA: RG 59, MLR); written on verso of address-leaf of one of TJ’s letters to the President; docketed by Washington: “To Mr. Jefferson & Colo. Hamilton.” Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDC); caption reads: “To Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Hamilton.” As these documents indicate, Washington sent an identical letter to the Secretary of the Treasury.

The Dft was incorrectly printed in Vol. 18: 144 under the conjectural date “Before 8 Dec. 1790.” Washington sent TJ a preliminary version of Secretary of War Knox’s proposed report on the federal government’s preparations for St. Clair’s ill-fated expedition against the western Indians. This report was accompanied by a brief covering letter from Knox stating: “I beg leave to submit for your consideration the draft of the proposed statement, and upon which I will request your opinion on Monday morning.

It is to be understood, that all the most material papers are to accompany the statement” (Knox to Washington, 17 Dec. 1791, DLC: Washington Papers). Knox submitted his final report on 26 Dec. 1791, accompanied by another on recommended measures to be taken (See Washington to TJ, 27 Dec. 1791).

1“of” in Dft.

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