Thomas Jefferson Papers

Circular to the Governors of the States, 26 April 1793

Circular to the Governors of the States

Philadelphia April 26th: 1793.

Sir

The war in Europe having now become nearly general, and involving some nations with whom we are in intimate habits of commerce and friendship, The President of the United States has thought it expedient to put our citizens on their guard as to the line of conduct they are to observe towards the parties at war. He has for this purpose issued the proclamation of which I have the honor to inclose you a copy; and entertains no doubt but that injunctions so interesting to the happiness and prosperity of the United States, will have the benefit of Your Excellency’s aid towards their general and strict observance by the citizens of the State over which you preside. I have the honor to be with great respect and esteem Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant

Th: Jefferson

RC (R-Ar); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; at foot of text, with last two words in the hand of George Taylor, Jr.: “To his Excellency the Governor of The State of Rh. Island.” RC (Mrs. Henry M. Sage, Albany, New York, 1954); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; at foot of text, with last word in Taylor’s hand: “To his Excellency the Governor of The State of Connecticut”; endorsed as received 10 May and answered 15 May 1793. RC (Nj); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; at foot of text: “His Excellency the Governor of The State of New Jersey.” RC (DLC: Shelby Family Papers); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; addressed by Taylor: “His Excellency The Governor of the State of Kentucky Lincoln County near Danville”; franked; postmarked 29 Apr. 1793. Dft (DLC); in TJ’s hand, unsigned, with note at foot of text in Taylor’s hand: “to all the Governors except of Penna.”; endorsed by Taylor: “April 26—1793 Circular To the Governors”; with directions on verso in TJ’s hand:

“a copy to the Gov. of each state.


have 50. proclamations immediately printed on a quarto peice of paper.

prepare a copy of this letter without delay & inclose a proclamation in it to Govr. Mifflin.

as those to the other governors cannot go till Monday’s post, they may lie till the letters to our foreign ministers are prepared because there is an opportunity of sending them tomorrow.”

FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL); at head of text: “The Governors of the several States.” Tr (Lb in PHarH); at foot of text: “His Excellency the Governor of the State of Pennsylvania.” Recorded in SJPL. Enclosure: Proclamation of Neutrality, 22 Apr. 1793 (Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends , xxxii, 430–1).

Two days earlier Washington had instructed TJ to write a circular letter to the state governors enclosing the proclamation of neutrality, and on 26 Apr. TJ submitted a draft of this letter to the President (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 118, 120). In a brief note of the same date returning the draft to TJ, Tobias Lear wrote: “The President approves of the enclosed” (RC in DLC; addressed: “The Secre[…]”; note at foot of text in TJ’s hand: “to wit the letter of this day to the Governors”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Apr. 1793).

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