Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 2 November 1793

To James Madison

Germantown Nov. 2. 1793.

Dear Sir

I overtook the President at Baltimore, and we arrived here yesterday, myself fleeced of seventy odd dollars to get from Fredericksburg here, the stages running no further than Baltimore. I mention this to put yourself and Monroe on your guard. The fever in Phila. has so much abated as to have almost disappeared. The inhabitants are about returning. It has been determined that the President shall not interfere with the meeting of Congress. R. H. and K. were of opinion he had a right to call them to any place but that the occasion did not call for it. I think the President inclined to the opinion. I proposed a proclamation notifying that the Executive business would be done here till further notice, which I believe will be agreed. H. R. Lewis, Rawle &c. all concur in the necessity that Congress should meet in Phila. and vote there their own adjournment, if it shall then be necessary to change the place. The question will be between N. York and Lancaster. The Pensylva. members are very anxious for the latter, and will attend punctually to support it as well as to support Muhlenburg and1 oppose the appointment of Smith (S.C.) speaker, which is intended by the Northern members. According to present appearances, this place cannot lodge a single person more. As a great favor I have got a bed in the corner of the public room of a tavern: and must so continue till some of the Philadelphians make a vacancy by removing into the city. Then we must give from 4. to 6 or 8. dollars a week for cuddies without a bed, and sometimes without a chair or table. There is not a single lodging-house in the place.—Ross and Willing are alive. Hancock is dead.—Johnson of Maryld. has refused. Ru. L. and Mc.l. in contemplation. The last least.—You will have seen Genet’s letters to Moultrie and to myself. Of the last I know nothing but from the public papers; and he published Moultrie’s letter and his answer the moment he wrote it. You will see that his inveteracy against the President leads him to meditate the embroiling him with Congress. They say he is going to be married to a daughter of Clinton’s. If so, he is afraid to return to France. Hamilton is ill, and suspicions he has taken the fever again by returning to his house. He of course could not attend here to-day, but the Pr. had shewed me his letter on the right of calling Congress to another place. Adieu.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); unsigned. PrC (DLC); faded dateline recopied in ink by TJ.

The Proclamation with which TJ proposed notifying that the executive business would be done here till further notice was probably the missing “draught of proclmn.” recorded in SJPL between entries of 11 Oct. and 5 Nov. 1793; no such proclamation seems to have been issued. H. R. Lewis: Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Randolph, and William Lewis, former District Attorney for Pennsylvania and former federal judge for the eastern district of that state. With Thomas Johnson having refused to take TJ’s place as Secretary of State, Edward Rutledge, Robert R. Livingston, and James McClurg were now in contemplation for this office (Notes of a Conversation with George Washington, 6 Aug. 1793). The letter of Edmond Charles Genet to TJ of 27 Oct. 1793 appeared in the public papers of New York and Philadelphia before it reached the Secretary of State. The French minister had already published South Carolina governor William Moultrie’s letter to him of 5 Sep. 1793 expressing concern at published reports of Genet’s threatened appeal from President Washington to the people “on some point relating to a prize” and asking for “an exact relation of what did happen in your dispute, if any you have had.” Genet also published his own answer of 15 Oct. 1793 promising to refute the “falsehoods” of which he stood accused by addressing himself to Congress “through the medium of the executive of the United States, to ask the severest examination of all my official measures, and of every particular step which may be supposed to have been an attempt, upon the established authority of the American Republic”—an examination which he was confident would show that, while he had not hidden his distress that Washington had made himself “accessible to men whose schemes could only darken his glory,” he had not forgotten the respect he owed to the American head of state (New York Diary; or Loudon’s Register, 22, 30 Oct. 1793; Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser, 24 Oct., 1 Nov. 1793). For Hamilton’s 24 Oct. 1793 letter on the right of calling congress to another place, see note to TJ to Washington, 17 Oct. 1793.

1Preceding three words interlined.

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