Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Fulwar Skipwith, 26 February 1792

To Fulwar Skipwith

Philadelphia Feb. 26. 1792.

Dear Sir

I have duly recieved your favor of the 5th. inst. and wish I could give a more satisfactory answer to it. I do not believe our Consuls in the French islands will be recognised by the government of France very shortly. Should the treaty they have proposed, come to any thing, perhaps we may get this matter determined expressly. The Consular bill has never yet been taken up by the house of representatives. A member has promised me to have it brought forward.

I received by Mr. Dawson a packet of letters which came from Havre for me, and were handed him by Mr. Aitcheson of Norfolk. There should have been with them a packet of newspapers pamphlets &c. among which was one, of some consequence, as being referred to in the letter. I will thank you to make the necessary enquiries after this packet, of Mr. Aitcheson, or the Master of the ship or other person and communicate to me what you learn.—I am with much esteem Dr. Sir Your most obedt. humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (PHC). PrC (DLC).

Written from Norfolk, Va., Skipwith’s favor of the 5th: inst. contained an announcement that he planned to return to Martinique and inquired about a possible appointment in the consular service “should the bill … respecting Consuls be passed into a law, and the prospect of their being recognized in french Colonies appear not far distant” (RC in DNA: RG 59, CD; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Feb. 1792 and so recorded in SJL with the mistaken origin of “Richmd.”). The treaty in question was the new commercial treaty between France and the United States proposed by the National Assembly on 2 June 1791 (see George F. Zook, “Proposals for a New Commercial Treaty between France and the United States, 1778–1793,” South Atlantic Quarterly, vii [1909], 278–83).

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