Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes of Cabinet Meeting on Neutrality, 30 July 1793

Notes of Cabinet Meeting on Neutrality

July 30. Met at my office. I proposed to add to the rules a proviso that they should not be understood to contravene, as of right they could not, the provisions of the article of our treaty with France, the of that with the U. N. or the of that with Prussia. Before Ham. and Kn. came into the room E.R. declared himself for a general reference, or a verbal quotation of the words of the treaties, and against all comments or substitutions of new words. When they arrived, Ham. proposed a reference to the articles of the treaty by a description of the cases in shorter terms, which he proposed as equivalent to those of the treaty. E.R. said plumply and without one word of preface that he had been for a general reference to the treaties, but if the special descriptions would give more satisfaction, he would agree to it. So he and Hamilton drew their chairs together and made up the form: but it was agreed to be put off for more mature digestion.

MS (DLC); partially dated; written entirely in TJ’s hand on first and second sides of two sheets containing “Anas” entries for 29 July and 1, 2, 3, and 6 Aug. 1793. Possibly recorded in SJPL between 29 July and 1 Aug. 1793 as “Rules to be establd.” Included in the “Anas.”

For the provisions in question, see Notes on Treaties and Neutrality, [29–30 July 1793]. The form prepared by Alexander Hamilton and Edmund Randolph (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xv, 141–2) contained most of the provisions listed by TJ. For the Cabinet’s final disposition of this issue, see rules 3, 4, 6, and 7 of Rules on Neutrality, 3 Aug. 1793.

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