Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Edmond Charles Genet, 25 June 1793

To Edmond Charles Genet

Philadelphia June 25th. 1793.


In the absence of the President of the united States, I have consulted with the Secretaries of the Treasury and War, on the subject of the Ship William,1 and generally of vessels suggested to be taken within the limits of the protection of the united States, by the armed vessels of your nation, concerning which I had the honor of a conversation with you yesterday, and we are so well assured of the President’s way of thinking in these cases, that we undertake to say it will be more agreeable to him that such vessels should be2 detained under the orders of yourself or of the Consuls of France in the several ports, until the Government of the united States shall be able to inquire into and decide on the fact. If this arrangement should be agreeable to you, and you will be pleased to give the proper orders to the several Consuls of your nation, the Governors of the several States will be immediately3 instructed to desire the Consul of the port to detain vessels on whose behalf such suggestion shall be made, until the government shall decide on their case. It may sometimes, perhaps, happen that such vessels are brought into ports where there is no Consul of your nation resident, nor within any convenient distance. In that case the Governors would have to proceed to the act of detention themselves, at least until a consul may be called in. I have the honor to be, with much respect Sir, Your most obedient and most humble servant

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., signed by TJ; at foot of text: “The minister plenipoy. from the Republic of France.” Dft (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand; only the most important emendations are noted below. PrC of Tr (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, with a correction in ink; at foot of text: “Copy.” Tr (NNC: Gouverneur Morris Papers). Tr (DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess.). PrC (PRO: FO 97/1). FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). Tr (DLC: Genet Papers). Tr (same); in French; initialed by Genet. Tr (same); in French; draft translation of preceding Tr; docketed by Genet. Tr (AMAE: CPEU, xxxvii); in French. Recorded in SJPL. Printed in Message, 43. Enclosed in Memorandum to George Washington, [11–13 July 1793], Tobias Lear to TJ, 15 July 1793, and TJ to Gouverneur Morris, 16 Aug. 1793; draft enclosed in TJ to Alexander Hamilton and Henry Knox, 25 June 1793.

1Here in Dft TJ canceled “of” and wrote the ensuing passage “and generally … concerning” in the margin.

2In Dft TJ here canceled “held in the.”

3In Dft TJ here canceled “desired to.”

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