Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes of a Conversation with George Washington, 13 December 1792

Notes of a Conversation with George Washington

1792. Dec. 13. The President called on me to see the Model and drawings of some mills for sawing stone. After shewing them he in the course of subsequent conversation asked me if there were not some good manufactories of Porcelaine in Germany, that he was in want of table china and had been speaking to Mr. Shaw who was going to the East Indies to bring him a set, but he found that it would not come till he should be no longer in a situation to want it. He took occasion a second time to observe that Shaw said it would be 2. years at least before he could have the china here, before which time he said he should be where he should not need it.—I think he asked the question about the manufactories in Germany merely to have an indirect opportunity of telling me he meant to retire, and within the limits of two years.

MS (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand; written on same sheet as “Anas” entries for 17 Dec. 1792, 15 and 16 Jan. 1793; recorded in SJPL under 13 Jan. 1793: “Notes of conversns with G. W. on his retiremt.” Included in the “Anas.”

TJ had written the following note to the President on 12 Dec. 1792: “Th: Jefferson presents his respectful compliments to the President and will take care to be at home tomorrow morning at 10. aclock” (RC in DLC: Washington Papers; not recorded in SJL). This was evidently a reply to a communication from Washington answering another note TJ wrote earlier that day. Although this exchange is not recorded in SJL and has not been found, TJ’s earlier note has been described as “Asking the President to call at his house, when riding out, to see Mulligan’s model of a machine for sawing stone” (Anderson Galleries, Howard K. Sanderson Sale, 1–3 May 1916, Lot 471; see also Charles F. Libbie Catalogue, 3 Feb. 1892, Item 1181).

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