George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 15 June 1790

From Thomas Jefferson

June 15. 1790.

Th: Jefferson has the honor to inclose for the President’s perusal a letter from Mr Gouverneur Morris on the subject of our affairs in Amsterdam; the observations are worthy being known to the President.1

Mr Howell of Rhode island has imposed on him the duty also of putting into his hands the letter & papers from him. the printed papers are merely to prove his dispositions enounced in the letter.2

Since writing the above, the inclosed letter from mister Short is received.3

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA: RG 59, GW Correspondence with Secretaries of State.

1This enclosure was Gouverneur Morris’s letter to Jefferson of 10 April 1790. See Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 16:328–29.

2Jefferson enclosed a letter to him from David Howell (1747–1824), 3 June 1790, congratulating Jefferson on his appointment as secretary of state. Howell was a prominent Rhode Island attorney and a graduate of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). Since 1766 Howell had taught at the College of Rhode Island (Brown) as professor of natural philosophy. He was admitted to the bar in 1768 and from 1790 to 1824 taught jurisprudence at Rhode Island College. Howell served as associate justice of the supreme court of Rhode Island from 1786 to 1787 and as attorney general in 1789. During the 1780s he served in the Confederation Congress. In his letter to Jefferson, Howell also wrote that “Having accidentally heard that the President of the United States did me the honour to enquire into my present political character and flattering myself that he might be prompted by other motives than mere curiosity, I have also enclosed the U. S. Chronicle of February 25. 1790 containing some of my sentiments under the signature of Solon Junior. Both the papers in this Town contain other peices under the same signature. As such peices are hastily written and seldom copied, they cannot be correct. In the Providence Gazette of May 22d. Ult. enclosed, you will also see two peices written by me just before our late Election. These may explain to you the reason why I was opposed as attorney General and beat by an Antifederalist of no abilities.” Howell also enclosed “an Oration delivered by my eldest son on his Commencement in the [College] in this Town last September. You will render me as singular satisfaction in putting [this] Oration into the hands of General Washington for his perusal at some leisure moment, explaining to him such parts of this letter as you may think proper” (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 16:451–454). For a description of the enclosures, see ibid.

3This was probably William Short’s letter of 29 Mar. 1790 addressed to John Jay (ibid., 279–81).

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