George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 18 September 1792

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello [Va.] Sep. 18. 1792. 2. oclock P.M.

Dear Sir

Your express is this moment arrived with the Proclamation on the proceedings against the laws for raising a revenue on distilled spirits, and I return it herein inclosed with my signature. I think if instead of the words ‘to render laws dictated by weighty reasons of public exigency & policy as acceptable as possible’ it stood ‘to render the laws as acceptable as possible’ it would be better. I see no other particular expressions which need alteration. I am sincerely sorry to learn that such proceedings have taken place: and I hope the proclamation will lead the persons concerned into a regular line of application which may end either in an amendment of the law, if it needs it, or in their conviction that it is right.1 if the situation of my daughter (who is in the straw) admits it, I purpose to set out about a week hence, & shall have the honour of taking your commands for Philadelphia.2 I have now that of being with great & sincere respect & attachment, Dr Sir Your most obedt & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

P.S. the express is detained but about twenty minutes.

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC: Jefferson Papers; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW. The ALS is addressed to “The President of the United States Mount-Vernon By mister William Gray express.”

1For the express carrying the proclamation that GW issued in response to opposition to the excise tax on whiskey, see GW to Jefferson, 15 September. For previous correspondence about the need for Jefferson’s signature on the document, see Hamilton to GW, 11 Sept., and GW to Hamilton, 17 Sept. (second letter). For the final wording adopted, see Proclamation, 15 Sept. 1792.

2Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, gave birth to her eldest son and second child, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, on 12 Sept. 1792. Jefferson left Monticello on 27 Sept. and stopped briefly at Mount Vernon on 1 Oct. to confer with GW (see Jefferson’s Conversation with Washington, 1 October).

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