Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 4 March 1793

To George Washington

March 4. 1793.

Th: Jefferson presents his respectful compliments to the President. Apprehensive that there has been some misconception of his correspondence with Mr. Ellicot, he incloses to the President full copies of the only letters he has written to Mr. Ellicot in the course of the years 1792. and 1793. The last of them was written with no other view than to prevent public altercation between Mr. Ellicot and the Commissioners, and after having received the President’s opinion that it was desireable to prevent it. Th:J. will thank the President to make any use of the letters which may remove any suspicions excited by an inexact idea of them.

PrC (DLC). Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy. Enclosures: TJ to Andrew Ellicott, 3 July 1792, 15 Jan. 1793.

This was the second time TJ expressed concern about the misconception of his correspondence with Andrew Ellicott by David Stuart, one of the Commissioners of the Federal District, who had complained to Washington in letters of 8 and 18 Feb. 1793 that TJ had somehow instigated or encouraged Ellicott’s criticisms of the Commissioners. TJ had previously shown Washington his 15 Jan. letter to Ellicott in the expectation that the President would lay Stuart’s charge to rest (see TJ to Washington, 14 Feb. 1793, and note). It was not until 3 Mch., however, that Washington wrote Stuart to say that TJ had shown him “the only letter which (he says) he has written to [Ellicott] for many Months” and was “at a loss to discover what could have proceeded from him to Mr. Ellicott” that should have aroused the latter’s discontent with the Commissioners, and that he himself could see “nothing therein on which to found the conjecture” contained in Stuart’s first letter. On the following day, after receiving the letter from TJ printed above, the President wrote a brief note to Stuart forwarding copies of both of TJ’s letters to Ellicott (Washington to Stuart, 3 Mch. 1793, NjP: Andre deCoppet Collection; Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends , xxxii, 374).

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