Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Robert R. Livingston, 24 February 1801

To Robert R. Livingston

Washington Feb. 24. 1801.

Dear Sir

It has occurred to me that possibly you might be willing to undertake the mission as Minister Plenipotentiary to France. if so I shall most gladly avail the public of your services in that office. though I am sensible of the advantage derived from your talents to your particular state, yet I cannot suppress the desire of adding them to the mass to be employed on the broader scale of the nation at large. I will ask the favor of an immediate answer, that I may give in the nomination to the Senate, observing at the same time that the period of your departure cannot be settled till we get our administration together, and may perhaps be delayed till we recieve the ratification of the treaty which would probably be 4. months. consequently the commission would not be made out till then. this will give you ample time to make your departure convenient. in hopes of hearing from you as speedily as you can form your resolution & hoping it will be favorable I tender you my respectful & affectionate salutations.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NNMus); addressed: “The honble Robert R. Livingston Chancellor of New York”; franked and postmarked 1 Mch.; “New York” in address canceled, “Clermont” being substituted in an unidentified hand, that word also canceled and replaced in another hand by “Albany”; endorsed by Livingston. PrC (DLC).

TJ had no reply until 23 Mch., but sent Livingston’s nomination to the Senate at the close of the Sixth Congress on 5 Mch. The Senate immediately approved the appointment. Livingston did not receive the letter above until a week after his confirmation (Livingston to TJ, 12 Mch.; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States… to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:395–6).

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