Report on the Fund for Foreign Intercourse
The Secretary of state thinking it his duty to communicate to the President his proceedings of the present year1 for transferring to Europe the annual fund of 40,000 Dollars appropriated to the department of state (a report whereof was unnecessary the two former years, as monies already in the hands of our bankers in Europe were put under his orders)
That in consequence of the President’s order of Mar. 23. he received from the Secretary of the Treasury Mar. 31. a warrant on the Treasurer for 39,500. Dollars: that it being necessary to purchase private bills of exchange to transfer the money to Europe, he consulted with persons acquainted with that business, who advised him not to let it be known that he was to purchase bills at all, as it would raise the exchange, and to defer the purchase a few days till the British packet should be gone, on which event bills generally sunk some few percent. He therefore deferred the purchase, or giving any orders for it till Apr. 10. when he engaged Mr. Vaughan (whose line of business enabled him to do it without suspicion) to make the purchase for him: he then delivered the warrant to the Treasurer, and received a credit at the Bank of the US. for 39,500. D. whereon he had an account opened between ‘The Department of state and the Bank of the US.’ That Mr. Vaughan procured for him the next day the following bills
|Willing, Morris & Swanwick on John & Francis Baring & co. London||3000.||for||13,000|
|Walter Stewart on Joseph Birch. mercht. Liverpool.||400–0||=||1,733.33|
|Robert Gilmer & co. on James Strachan & James Mackenzie, London, indorsed by Mordecai Lewis||200–||600–0||=||2,600.|
The Secretary of state proposes hereafter to remit in the course of each quarter, 10,000 D. for the ensuing quarter, as that will enable him to take advantage of the times when exchange is low. He proposes to direct at this time a further purchase of 12,166.66 D. (which with the 500. D. formerly obtained and 17,333.33 now remitted, will make 30,000 D. of this year’s fund) at long sight,3 which circumstance with the present low rate of exchange will enable him to remit it to advantage.
He has only further to add that he delivered to Mr. Vaughan orders on the bank of the US. in favor of the persons themselves from whom the bills were purchased, for their respective sums.
April. 18. 1793.
RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); endorsed by Tobias Lear. PrC (DLC); partly overwritten in a later hand. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, SDR). Tr (Lb in same, SDC). Entry in SJPL: “Report on the fund for foreign intercourse.” Enclosures: (1) TJ to David Humphreys, 12 Apr. 1793. (2) TJ to Thomas Pinckney, 12 Apr. 1793. (3) TJ to Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard, 12 Apr. 1793.
For the circumstances that led TJ to draw upon the fund for foreign intercourse, which provided for the overseas expenses of the Department of State, see TJ to George Washington, 23 Mch. 1793. Washington, who had arrived back in Philadelphia from Mount Vernon only the day before, returned this report and its enclosures to TJ with his approval on 19 Apr. 1793, the day after TJ submitted them to him (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 107, 109, 110, 114).
1. Preceding four words interlined.
2. Preceding number and two words interlined.
3. TJ here canceled “as it will be wanting in Europe through the months.”