Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Enoch Edwards, 27 December 1796

From Enoch Edwards

Philadelphia 27th Decr: 1796

Dear Sir

When I arrived in Octr: last at N. York from France I forwarded on a letter or two from Mr: Monroe to you—and I should have written to you then as I promised him—but I really intended before I setled myself, to have taken a Trip into your State, and to have had the Pleasure of seeing you at your own House.

I left Paris the 7th. of August in the Midst of their Success and Glory as likewise the utmost Tranquillity—and every Prospect of Success with thier Government as well as their Arms. The only thing that was unpleasant about the time I left the Place was the Resentment which that Government discovered towards Us on the Account of the Treaty. Mr: Monroe as You must know entered into a Defence of it—so far as to deny its being a direct Violation of our Treaty with them—this Defence I have a Copy of and intend to send it to you by Mr: Madison—unless you should inform Me before he leaves Us that you have one. You will see by it that our Freind Monroe is treated with as much Cruelty as has been possible. The Cry against him here is that he did not reveal to the French Government certain Reasons assigned by our’s for its Conduct, early anough, When it will appear by the Correspondence that he replied to their Complaints in less than a Week after he received them, and in a Manner that does him the highest Honor both as to his Talents and Patriotism.

I really suspect that the Directoire will not receive Mr: Pinckney—but act as they did in the Case of the appointed Successor to Baron de Staal—should that be the Case, We shall here have a great Noise about it, much will be said about french Impudence, foreign Interference and our Soverignty—more than if the English had taken a hundred of our Seamen or sculped a thousand of our peaceable Citizens.

Mr: Monroe when he commited the Paper (with others) above mentioned into my Hands—submited it entirely to my Discretion whether to publish them or not. I think it right that some should be known to the Publick but as it is likely we shall have him here soon, I have concluded to leave it untill he comes—perhaps the time also then may be quite as favorable as the present for heaving and giving Weight to Truth. With much Respect & Esteem I am your very obedt st.

Eno; Edwards

RC (DLC); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Virginia”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as a letter from “John” Edwards received 21 Jan. 1797 and so recorded in SJL. Dft (TxAuLBJ).

Edwards had forwarded James Monroe’s letter to TJ of 30 July 1796. To explain his defense of the Jay Treaty to the Directory, Monroe sent Madison, by Edwards, copies of his correspondence with the French minister of foreign affairs, Charles Delacroix. In particular, Monroe’s communications to Delacroix of 15 Mch. and 14 July 1796 were meant to answer French objections to the treaty (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962– , 26 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 4 vols. description ends , xvi, 387; Monroe, Writings description begins Stanislas Murray Hamilton, ed., The Writings of James Monroe, New York, 1899, 7 vols. description ends , ii, 467–82, iii, 27–34).

Desirous of an American policy that would openly favor France over Great Britain, the Directory indeed refused to recognize Monroe’s successor, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who arrived in Paris on 5 Dec. 1796. The following month the French government ordered Pinckney to leave the country, and early in February 1797 he went to Amsterdam to await instructions. When recalled in 1795, the Baron de Staël de Holstein, Sweden’s ambassador to France, initially refused to leave Paris and influenced the Directory to block recognition of his replacement (Marvin R. Zahniser, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney: Founding Father [Chapel Hill, 1967], 141–9; Louis Antoine Leouzon le Duc, Correspondance Diplomatique du Baron de Staël-Holstein [Paris, 1881], 270).

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