Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1 December 1792

To George Washington

Sat. Dec. 1. 92.

Th: Jefferson has the honor to submit to the President the inclosed draught of a clause which he has thought of proposing to the committee to whom the President’s letter with the accounts of the Department of state are referred. He will have the honor of waiting on the President at one aclock, as well to explain any parts of it as to take his pleasure on the whole matter.

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); addressed: “The President of the U.S.”; endorsed by Tobias Lear. Tr (Lb in same, SDC). Not recorded in SJL.

On 7 Nov. 1792 the House of Representatives appointed a committee to consider the accounts of the Department of State TJ had prepared for submission to Congress by the President several days before. Although Washington evidently sanctioned TJ’s idea of proposing the inclosed draught, the Secretary of State apparently sent a revised version to the committee (see note to enclosure). The committee reported on 4 Dec. 1792 and three days later presented a bill to continue and amend the 1790 Act Providing the Means of Intercourse with Foreign Nations. The substance, but not the language, of TJ’s clause became part of section 2 of the renewal act which Washington signed in February after it had been passed by the House and approved without amendment by the Senate (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 614, 632, 635, 674, 675, 691; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , i, 472, 479; Annals, description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title-page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends iii, 1411–12). TJ explained the need for this legislative provision in his 3 Nov. 1792 letter to Washington.

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