Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Francis Walker, 21 December 1797

To Francis Walker

Philadelphia Dec. 21. 1797.

Dear Sir

Mr. William Davenport desired me to pay you for him, one hundred dollars which I engaged to do soon after my arrival at this place. Besides this there were two quarters of one of the beeves you sent him (I believe the first) which I took and was to answer to you. You will see below a statement of that, which after deducting the amount of some nails, leaves a balance of 23/6 due on my account. I therefore inclose you an order on George Jefferson & Co. for 103.D. 92 c. Should you have debited the whole of that beef to Davenport, you will be so good as to credit him by me (besides the 100.D.) £3—13—4.

to wit. 220 ℔ of beef @ 4d. is £3—13—4
 Cr. by 52. ℔ Xd. nails @ 11 1/2d. £2—19—10
 balance now remitted 3.92  1— 3— 6  3—13—4

The land tax will not now be taken up by Congress. It is agreed therefore that we have literally nothing to do but to wait for information from our commissioners at Paris. If that is peaceable, as there is good reason to believe (notwithstanding the fabricated paragraphs in the newspapers) I see nothing which ought to hinder us from being soon at home. The question of a naval armament must of course be discussed, because recommended in the speech. But I see no reason to believe that any change of opinion in Congress has taken place since their decision against it in the summer session. I am with great esteem Dear Sir Your friend & servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC: Rives Papers); addressed: “Francis Walker esq. of the General assembly of Virginia now at Richmond”; franked, stamped, and postmarked. Enclosure not found.

The president’s address to Congress on 23 Nov. 1797 stressed the importance of commerce to the national welfare and advocated naval armament, noting “while pride, ambition, avarice, and violence, have been so long unrestrained, there remains no reasonable ground on which to raise an expectation that a commerce without protection or defence will not be plundered” (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , ii, 407–8). For the discussion of the naval establishment and the arming of merchant vessels in congress during the summer session, see TJ to Madison, 8 and 15 June 1797. On 26 Dec., when the House of Representatives began to consider regulating the arming of merchant vessels, John Nicholas successfully moved to postpone consideration of the proposed bill until 5 Feb. 1798. The Senate did not consider the issue of the protection of commerce until after President Adams reported on the reception of the American envoys to France (Annals, description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends vii, 764–74; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , ii, 456–8).

Letters from Walker to TJ of 26 May, 6 June, 21 Oct., 21 Nov. 1796, 19 Apr. 1797, and 17 Oct. 1799, recorded in SJL as received 26 May, 7 June, 21 Oct., 22 Nov. 1796, 21 Apr. 1797, and 17 Oct. 1799 respectively, have not been found. SJL also records letters from TJ to Walker of 17 May and 21 Nov. 1796 which are missing.

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