Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Cutting, 31 March 1793

To Nathaniel Cutting

Philadelphia. Mar. 31. 1793.


The Department of state, with the approbation of the President of the United States, having confidential communications for Mr. Pinckney, our Minister Plenipotentiary at London, and Colo. Humphreys our Minister Resident at Lisbon, and further services to be performed with the latter, you are desired to take charge of those communications, to proceed with them in the first American vessel bound to London, and from thence, without delay, to Lisbon in such way as you shall find best. After your arrival there, you are appointed to assist Colo. Humphreys, in the character of Secretary, in the business now specially confided to him; and that being accomplished, you will return directly to the US. or receive your discharge from Colo. Humphreys, at your own option.

You are to recieve, in consideration of these services, one hundred dollars a month, besides the reasonable expences of travelling by land and sea (apparel not included) of yourself and a servant: of which expences you are to render account and receive payment, from Colo. Humphreys, if you take your discharge from him, or otherwise from the Secretary of state if you return to this place: and in either case Colo. Humphreys is authorised to furnish you monies on account within the limits of your allowances: which allowances are understood to have begun on the 20th. day of the present1 month, when you were engaged on this service, and to continue till your discharge or return. You receive here one thousand dollars on account, to enable you to proceed.

Th: Jefferson
Secretary of state

RC (PHi); at head of text: “To Captain Nathaniel Cutting”; endorsed by Cutting. PrC (DLC). FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DCI).

TJ’s check for one thousand dollars drawn on the cashier of the Bank of the United States in Cutting’s favor is dated 12 Apr. 1793 (MS in DLC). On 18 Apr. 1793 TJ submitted this letter to the President, who approved and returned it the same day (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 110, 114). On 31 Mch. 1793 TJ also wrote Cutting the following note: “Th: Jefferson considering the prospect of war between France and Gr. Britain, recommends to Capt. Cutting to consider whether it will not be better for him to look out for an American vessel going to England, rather than venture in the Packet” (RC in ViU: McGregor Library; PrC in DLC, on same sheet as PrC of TJ to Alexander Hamilton, 31 Mch. 1793; Tr in DLC, 19th-century copy, on same sheet as Tr of TJ to Hamilton, 31 Mch. 1793). Only one of the 31 Mch. 1793 letters to Cutting is recorded in SJL.

1Word written over “last,” erased.

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