George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 13 February 1793

To Thomas Jefferson

Philadelphia Feb. 13th 1793.

Sir,

Arrangements may be made with the Secretary of the Treasury for the immediate payment of One hundred thousand dollars on account of the debt due from the United States to France.1

The statement of the Account between these Countries will, it is expected, be compleated tomorrow; and the bal[anc]e up to the last of December be ascertained; when the propriety of further, and to what extent advances shall be made will be the subject of further consideration.2

The Secretary of the Treasury knows of no settlement between Mr Jay & Mr Otto in the year 1789; and conceives if such did take place the document respecting it must be in the Secretary of States Office.3

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers; ADf, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW.

1On 14 Feb., Alexander Hamilton informed Jean-Baptiste Ternant, the French minister to the United States, that “conformément aux ordres du President,” this advance from the U.S. Treasury would be available in April (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 14:80; see also JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 52). Jefferson wrote to Ternant on 14 Feb., telling him that the United States would soon decide whether to grant France’s request for three million livres as a partial payment of the U.S. debt to that nation (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 25:198). On this request, see Jefferson to GW, 8 Feb., nn.1–2.

2For Hamilton’s report on the U.S. debt to France, see Hamilton to GW, 16 Feb.; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 56, 63. Jefferson also sent to GW his own observations on the debt (Jefferson to GW, 12 Feb., and note 1.

3GW is referring to John Jay and Louis-Guillaume Otto, comte de Mosloy (1754–1817). Otto served as the French chargé d’affaires to the United States 1785–92.

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