Circular to Foreign Ministers in the United States
Philadelphia Feby. 13. 1793.
The House of Representatives having referred to me to Report to them, the nature and extent of the privileges and restrictions on the Commerce of the united States with foreign nations, I have accordingly prepared a Report on that subject. Being particularly anxious that it may be exact in matters of fact, I take the liberty of putting into your hands, privately and informally, an extract of such as relate to our commerce with your nation in hopes that if you can either enlarge or correct them you will do me that favor. It is safer to suppress an error in its first conception, than to trust to any after correction; and a confidence in your sincere desire to communicate or to reestablish any truths which may contribute to a perfect understanding between our two nations, has induced me to make the present request. I wish it had been in my power to have done this sooner and thereby have obtained the benefit of your having more time to contemplate it: but circumstances have retarded the entire completion of the report till the Congress is approaching its end, which will oblige me to give it in within three or four days. I am with great and sincere esteem Sir Your most obedient & most humble Servant
P.S. The Report having been prepared before the late diminution of the duties on our tobacco, that circumstance will be noted in the letter which will cover the Report.
PrC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, except for signature, postscript, and words at foot of text in TJ’s hand; at foot of text in ink: “Circular” and “To Messrs. Ternant Van Berckel Hammond Viar & Jaudenes.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL); at head of text: “Messrs. Ternant, Van Berckel, Hammond, Viar & Jaudenes.” PrC of RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, except for signature in ink and words in ink at head and foot of text in TJ’s hand; at head of text: “Dup”; at foot of text: “Mr. Van Berkel.” PrC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, except for signature in ink and words in ink at head and foot of text in TJ’s hand; at head of text: “Dup.”; at foot of text: “Mr. Hammond.” PrC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, except for signature in ink and words in ink at head and foot of text in TJ’s hand; at head of text: “Dup”; at foot of text: “Messrs. Viar & Jaudenes.” Tr (Lb in PRO: FO 116/3). Tr (same, 5/1). Tr (AHN: Papeles de Estado, legajo 3895); Spanish translation; in Viar’s hand, attested by Jaudenes and Viar. The PrCs of RCs sent to F. P. Van Berckel, George Hammond, and Josef Ignacio de Viar and Josef de Jaudenes, and the Trs derived from them, lack the postscript, indicating that by reason of substance it was only included in the text of the letter sent to Jean Baptiste Ternant. Enclosed in TJ to George Washington, 14 Feb. 1793. Each of the enclosures printed below was compiled from portions of a draft of the Report on Commerce in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., that included revisions TJ made in light of comments he had solicited from Tench Coxe and that TJ bracketed in pencil with marginal notations—from “No. 1.” to “No. 4.”—to denote those appertaining to each country. The extracts are printed here in the order TJ designated (DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11981–91; Coxe to TJ, 5 Feb. , and enclosure). This and the other texts of the Report will be printed at 16 Dec. 1793.
TJ on the following day submitted a text of this letter to Washington, having previously sent the President the “rough draught” of his Report on Commerce and received it back with his approval (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 52; TJ to Washington, 10 Feb. 1793; Washington to TJ, 12 Feb. 1793). The House of Representatives had requested the Secretary of State to prepare this report on 23 Feb. 1791, but TJ did not submit a final version to Congress until 16 Dec. 1793 (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 388; TJ to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 22 Mch. 1792, 20 Feb. 1793, 16 Dec. 1793).