Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Josef Ignacio de Viar and Josef de Jaudenes, [24 July 1793]

From Josef Ignacio de Viar and Josef de Jaudenes

Wednesday morning [24 July 1793]

Don Joseph de Viar, and Don Joseph de Jaudenes present their Compliments to Mr. Jefferson, and would wish to know what time he will have a little leisure tomorrow morning, that they may call on him upon some business.

RC (DNA: RG 59, NL); in Jaudenes’s hand; partially dated; endorsed by TJ as received 25 July 1793.

On the following day Viar and Jaudenes met with TJ and formally complained to him “of sundry pieces published in the Newspapers of Philada. tending to set the King of Spain in an unfavorable light; & to raise a belief that the Spanish Nation is inimical to this Country.” In order to resolve this problem they submitted to TJ a proposed statement, to be issued in the name of the President, in which Washington was to inform the American people that he had been requested by the two Spanish agents to convey their official assurances that their government continued to desire peaceful relations with the United States and hoped to consolidate them in the negotiations underway at Madrid (MS in DNA: RG 59, NL, in Viar’s hand; undated; endorsed by TJ as received 25 July 1793). On the same day TJ informed Washington about this complaint, but apparently not about the proposed presidential statement, and promised to convey to Viar and Jaudenes Washington’s observation that in regard to the offending newspaper articles “there appeared no means of preventing publications of that kind, unless they should take such a course as to require legal interference & that the Commrs. must impute it to the freedom of the press & not consider it as a thing particularly countenanced by the Government” (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 207; see also Viar and Jaudenes to TJ, 11 July 1793, and note).

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