James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 2 November 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

Germantown Nov. 2. 1793.

Dear Sir

I overtook the President at Baltimore, & we arrived here yesterday, myself fleeced of seventy odd dollars to get from Fredericksburg here, the stages running no further than Baltimore. I mention this to put yourself & Monroe on your guard. The fever in Phila. has so much abated as to have almost disappeared. The inhabitants are about returning. It has been determined that the President shall not interfere with the meeting of Congress. R. H. & K. were of opinion he had a right to call them to any place but that the occasion did not call for it. I think the President inclined to the opinion. I proposed a proclamn. notifying that the Executive business would be done here till further notice, which I believe will be agreed. H. R. Lewis, Rawle1 &c all concur in the necessity that Congress should meet in Phila. & vote there their own adjournment, if it shall then be necessary to change the place. The question will be between N. York & Lancaster. The Pensylva. members are very anxious for the latter, & will attend punctually to support it as well as to support Muhlenburg & oppose the appointment of Smith (S. C.) speaker, which is intended by the Northern members. According to present appearances, this place cannot lodge a single person more. As a great favor I have got a bed in the corner of the public room of a tavern: and must so continue till some of the Philadelphians make a vacancy by removing into the city. Then we must give from 4. to 6 or 8. dollars a week for cuddies2 without a bed, and sometimes without a chair or table. There is not a single lodging-house in the place. Ross & Willing are alive, Hancock is dead. Johnson of Maryld has refused. Ru. L. & Mcl. in contemplation. The last least.3 You will have seen Genet’s letters to Moultrie & to myself.4 Of the last I know nothing but from the public papers; and he published Moultrie’s letter & his answer the moment he wrote it. You will see that his inveteracy against the President leads him to meditate the embroiling him with Congress. They say he is going to be married to a daughter of Clinton’s.5 If so, he is afraid to return to France. Hamilton is ill, & suspicious he has taken the fever again by returning to his house. He of course could not attend here to-day. But the Pr. had shewed me his letter on the right of calling Congress to another place.6 Adieu.

RC (DLC); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Unsigned.

1William Rawle was U.S. attorney for the district of Pennsylvania, 1791–1800, succeeding William Lewis (Pa. Mag. Hist. and Biog., 25 [1901]: 220; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 1:86, 88).

2Cuddy: a small room or closet.

3According to the notes on his conversation with Washington that Jefferson enclosed in his second letter to JM of 11 Aug., the potential successors as secretary of state then being considered were Thomas Johnson, Edward Rutledge, Robert R. Livingston, and James McClurg.

4The Philadelphia Federal Gazette published the 5 Sept. letter of Gov. William Moultrie of South Carolina—asking Genet for his response to reports that he had threatened to appeal to the people concerning the president’s neutrality policy—and Genet’s reply of 15 Oct., which denied the reports and asserted that Washington was “accessible to men whose schemes could only darken his glory.” A week later the same newspaper printed Genet’s letter to Jefferson of 27 Oct., which denied the validity of Washington’s revocation of Antoine Charbonnet Duplaine’s exequatur as French vice-consul for New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 24 Oct. and 1 Nov. 1793).

5Genet married Cornelia Tappen Clinton, daughter of Gov. George Clinton of New York, on 6 Nov. 1794.

6Hamilton to Washington, 24 Oct. 1793 (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (26 vols.; New York, 1961–79). description ends , 15:373–76).

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