Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 30 May 1792

To George Washington

Philadelphia May 30. 1792.


It is my duty to suggest to your attention that in the act of the late session of Congress for making certain appropriations, is a clause enacting that a sum of 50,000 D. in addition to former provision be appropriated to defray any expence which may be incurred in relation to the intercourse between the U.S. and foreign nations, and to add that the public service will be advanced by having that sum ready for your orders as speedily as may be conveniently effected. I have the honour to be with the most perfect esteem & respect Sir your most obedt. & most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); endorsed. PrC (DLC). Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDC). Tr (DNA: RG 360, DL).

The $50,000 authorized by Congress in the recently passed ACT for making certain appropriations was intended to be used to finance the cost of concluding a peace treaty with Algiers and ransoming the Americans held captive by her (see note to TJ to Pierce Butler, 2 Dec. 1791). TJ wanted this money to be made available soon because he was about to dispatch instructions to John Paul Jones, the commissioner selected by Washington to negotiate with Algiers (TJ to Jones, 1 June 1792). Washington’s secretary wrote a brief note to the Secretary of the Treasury on 31 May, enclosing a copy of TJ’s letter and asking Hamilton to inform the

President “when the sum mention’d in the enclosed Letter will be conveniently ready for his order” (Syrett, Hamilton description begins The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett and others, New York, 1961-1979, 27 vols. description ends , xi, 460). The President signed a letter on 30 June 1792 authorizing Hamilton to borrow $50,000 in accordance with the terms of the act referred to by TJ (same, p. 610).

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