Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George III, King of Great Britain, 23 November 1802

To George III, King of Great Britain

Great and Good Friend,

Rufus King, who for several years has resided with you as the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, having desired to return to America, we have yielded to his request. He will accordingly take his leave of you; embracing that occasion to assure you of our friendship and sincere desire to preserve and strengthen the harmony and good understanding so happily subsisting between the two Nations, and which will be further manifested by his Successor. We are persuaded, that he will do this in the manner most expressive of these sentiments, and of the respect and sincerity with which they are offered.

We pray God to keep you, Great and Good Friend under his holy protection.

Written at the City of Washington the Twenty Third day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and two.

Th: Jefferson

FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, Credences); in a clerk’s hand; below signature: “By the President” and “James Madison Secretary of State.” Enclosed in Madison to King, 16 Dec. 1802 (see below). Not recorded in SJL.

In a letter to Madison dated 5 Aug., rufus king requested leave to resign as minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain and return to the United States in April. Madison acknowleged King’s request in a private letter of 9 Oct. and sent King his official recall in December along with a copy of TJ’s annual message (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–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 3:457; 4:5–6, 192–3, 232).

take his leave of you: King gave George III his letter of recall, and had his final audience with the monarch, on 4 May 1803 (same, 5:2–3; King, Life description begins Charles R. King, ed., The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King: Comprising His Letters, Private and Official, His Public Documents and His Speeches, New York, 1894-1900, 6 vols. description ends , 4:248–50).

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