From Archibald Stuart
Staunton 31st. Decr. 1796.
Considering the attempts which will probably be made by some of the friends of Great Britain to widen our breach with France I feel an Inclination to forward a memorial to Congress from this quarter declaring our friendly disposition towards that Nation and that If we should be compelled to take part in the European War we prefer a union with France to that of Any Other power.
Lest however such a Measure should tend to embarrass the Government or be attended with evil consequences which I do not foresee I take the liberty of Asking your advice as to the propriety of the measure under my promise of Secrecy. Out of your Large supply of Chinese Bells I am in hopes you can spare me one without incommoding yourselfe, I mean one of the highest price and to which you will add the expence of Carriage from Philadelphia here; If so the Money shall be remited to you through Mr. S. Clarke. Mr. Cavendish has not yet returned from the assembly. I am Dr Sir yrs. most sincerely
RC (ViW); at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 Jan. 1797 and so recorded in SJL.