Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Paine, 20 October 1793

From Thomas Paine

Paris,1 20 Oct., 1793.

I wrote you by Captain Dominick who was to sail from Havre about the 20th of this month. This will probably be brought you by Mr. Barlow or Col. Oswald. Since my letter by Dominick I am every day more convinced and impressed with the propriety of Congress sending Commissioners to Europe to confer with the Ministers of the Jesuitical Powers on the means of terminating the War. The enclosed printed paper will shew there are a variety of subjects to be taken into consideration which did not appear at first, all of which have some tendency to put an end to the War. I see not how this War is to terminate if some intermediate power does not step forward. There is now no prospect that France can carry revolutions into2 Europe on the one hand, or that the combined powers can conquer France on the other hand. It is a sort of defensive War on both sides. This being the case, how is the War to close? Neither side will ask for peace though each may wish it. I believe that England and Holland are tired of the War. Their Commerce and Manufactures have suffered most exceedingly—besides3 this, it is for4 them a War without an Object. Russia keeps herself at a distance.

I cannot help repeating my wish that Congress would send Commissioners, and I wish also that yourself would venture once more across the ocean, as one of them. If the Commissioners rendezvous at Holland they would5 know what steps to take. They could call Mr. Pinckney to their councils, and it would be of use, on many accounts, that one of them should come over from Holland to France. Perhaps a long truce, were it proposed by the neutral powers, would have all the effects of a Peace, without the difficulties attending the adjustment of all the forms of Peace. Yours affectionately,

Thomas Paine

MS not found; text reprinted from Moncure D. Conway, ed., The Writings of Thomas Paine, 4 vols. (New York, 1894–1906), iii, 134. Another printing, in Foner, Paine description begins Philip S. Foner, ed., The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine, New York, 1945, 2 vols. description ends , ii, 1333–4 (derived from a MS identified as being in DLC: TJ Papers, though the Editors know of no other evidence corroborating this location), includes the salutation “Dear Sir” as well as variations in paragraphing, capitalization, spelling, and wording, only the last being noted below. Recorded in SJL as received 31 Mch. 1794. Enclosure not identified.

My letter by dominick: Paine to TJ, 10 Oct. 1793.

1Word not in Foner.

2Foner: “through.”

3Foner: “and besides.”

4Foner: “to.”

5Foner here adds “then.”

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