Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Jean Baptiste Ternant, 25 February 1793

To Jean Baptiste Ternant

Feb. 25. 93.

Th: Jefferson presents his best compliments to M. de Ternant, and incloses him the letter he was to write him on the subject of the 3. millions.

He has attentively perused the report in the Newspaper which appeared to give Mr. Ternant so much uneasiness1 and is candidly of opinion that, in the U.S. at least, not a single person will apply it to M. de Ternant, or suppose it concerns him. He hopes therefore that M. de Ternant will not commit himself with his country by a measure as unnecessary here as it would be injurious to him there. Th:J. hopes M. Ternant will perceive that nothing can dictate the liberty Th:J. now takes but a solicitude for the interests of M. de Ternant.

PrC (DLC). Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy. Enclosure: TJ to Ternant, 25 Feb. 1793.


Although this report cannot be identified with certainty, Ternant was probably offended by an accusation by “Franklin” in the 23 Feb. 1793 National Gazette that the Secretary of the Treasury had engaged in the “pretence of relieving a French island.” This charge indirectly impugned the arrangements Ternant had made with Hamilton to use the American debt to France for the purchase of supplies in the United States for Saint-Domingue (TJ to Ternant, 7 Mch. 1792, and note). For the identification of “Franklin” as Senator John Taylor of Virginia, a political ally of the Secretary of State, see James Madison to TJ, 11 Aug. 1793.

1Preceding three words interlined.

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