Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington, 30 June 1793

From George Washington

Mount Vernon June 30th: 1793.

Dear Sir

The enclosed letter from the Governor of New York, covering a communication to him from the Consul of the French Republic at that place, respecting the continuance of a British Letter of Marque in the Harbour of New York—reached my hands by the post of last evening; and I now transmit it to you, that it may be taken into consideration by yourself and the other Heads of the Departments, as soon as may be after this letter gets to your hands. If you should be unanimous in Your opinions as to the measures which ought to be pursued by the Government, in the case now communicated1—You, or the Secretary of War (to whose department it belongs)2 will transmit, in my name,3 the result of your deliberations on the subject, to the Governor of New York for his information—and to be communicated by him to the French Consul at that place. But in case there should be a difference of sentiment among the Gentlemen on the matter, I must request that the several opinions may be sent to me for my consideration—and the Governor of New York informed, that a decision will be had in the case as soon as I return to the seat of Government; which I expect will be about the tenth of next month—notwithstanding the death of my Manager and the consequent derangement of my concerns would make my presence here for a longer time, at this important season, almost indispensable: But I know the urgency and delicacy of our public affairs at present will not permit me to be longer absent, I must therefore submit with the best grace I can to the loss and inconvenience which my private affairs will sustain from the want of my personal4 attention,5 or that of a confidential Character, the obtaining of which I have no prospect at present. With very great regard, I am, Dear Sir, Your Affecte & Obedt Servt.

G Washington

RC (DLC); in Tobias Lear’s hand, signed by Washington; at foot of text: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 July 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Dft (DNA: RG 59, MLR); in Lear’s hand, with emendations by Washington (see notes below). FC (Lb in same, SDC). Recorded in SJPL. Enclosures: (1) George Clinton to Washington, New York, 22 June 1793, transmitting No. 2 concerning the brig Swallow, a British privateer, and a copy of a report to him on the ship’s arrival. (2) Alexandre Maurice d’Hauterive to Clinton, New York, 18 June 1793, protesting that the Swallow, an English privateer commanded by Captain Lyon, armed with eight cannon and manned by at least twenty men, had stayed in New York harbor too long to be considered a distressed vessel under Articles 17 and 22 of the 1778 treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and France, which effectively closed American ports to privateers of nations at war with France except under strictly defined conditions of distress (RCs in DLC; with No. 2 written in French; recorded in SJPL under 30 June 1793).

1In Dft Lear here canceled “I request.”

2Preceding ten words interlined in Dft by Washington.

3Preceding three words interlined in Dft by Washington.

4Word interlined in Dft by Lear.

5Remainder of sentence written in Dft by Washington.

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