Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Paine, 10 October 1793

From Thomas Paine

Paris Oct. 10th. 1793 2d. year of the republic

My Dear Sir

As far as my Judgement extends I think you cannot do better than send Commissioners to Europe; and so far as the freedom of Commerce may become a subject of Conference it ought to be done. It may be a means of terminating the war for it is necessary that some power should begin. England is in a wretched condition as to her Manufactures and her public and private credit. The combined Armies make no progress. My opinion is that they cannot agree among themselves, and that the object of the English Government is to get possession of both sides the channel, which certainly cannot be consented to by the Northern powers. It is not the English alone that has possession of Toulon, the Spaniards have landed more troops than the English as if to keep an Eye upon them. Holland does nothing. She must wish to be out of the war. If you send Commissioners Holland will be the best place for them to arrive at—they can there make known their Credentials to all the resident Ministers. It will not do to appoint Gov: Morris upon that business. His appointment here has been unfortunate. He has done more harm than good. All the Americans will give you the same account. I wish much to be in America were it only to press the sending Commissioners. I think it is a plan in which all parties among you will unite. Were you to appoint two or three Comsss. from America and direct them to call Mr. Pinckney to their Councils, I think it would have a good effect. I suppose you know the person that wrote the enclosed American letter. The contents show there are many subject for conference that does not appear at first sight. It either has or will be published in London in a few days. Remember me to the President and all my friends. Your’s affectionately

Thomas Paine

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Secretary of State United States of America”; endorsed by TJ as received 31 Mch. 1794 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: [Thomas Paine], A Citizen of America, to the Citizens of Europe [Paris, 1793], calling upon the allied coalition to abandon its goal of restoring the Bourbon monarchy and instead make peace with the French Republic—an appeal that Paine cast in the form of a letter written from Philadelphia on 28 July 1793 in order to conceal his authorship, and that he based upon the mistaken supposition that Congress at its next session was to consider a proposal to send commissioners to Europe to confer with other neutral powers about negotiating preliminary peace terms between France and the coalition (pamphlet in AMAE: CPEU, xxxviii; printed in Foner, Paine description begins Philip S. Foner, ed., The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine, New York, 1945, 2 vols. description ends , ii, 561–5).

Index Entries