George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 21 March 1790]

Sunday 21st. Went to St. Pauls Chappel in the forenoon. Wrote private letters in the afternoon.

Received Mr. Jefferson, Minister of State about one Oclock.

Shortly after his return to the United States in 1789 (see entry for 7 Oct. 1789), Jefferson received GW’s letter of 13 Oct. 1789 offering him the post of secretary of state (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Jefferson, who preferred to return to Paris, somewhat reluctantly indicated he was willing to serve, “but when I contemplate the extent of that office, embracing as it does the principal mass of domestic administration, together with the foreign, I cannot be insensible of my inequality to it . . . my chief comfort will be to work under your eye, my only shelter the authority of your name, and the wisdom of measures to be dictated by you, and implicitly executed by me. . . . I do not see that the matters which have called me hither will permit me to shorten the stay I originally asked; that is to say, to set out on my journey Northward till the month of March. As early as possible in that month I shall have the honor of paying my respects to you in New York” (Jefferson to GW, 15 Dec. 1789, DLC:GW). For the circumstances of Jefferson’s acceptance, see JEFFERSON [1] description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends , 16:169–70; GW to Jefferson, 21 Jan. 1790, DLC: Jefferson Papers; Jefferson to GW, 14 Feb. 1790, DNA: RG 59, Misc. Letters. Jefferson left Virginia early in March and arrived in New York today.

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