George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 20 February 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Feb. 20. 1793.

Th: Jefferson, with his respects to the President, has the honor of inclosing him a letter he proposes to send to the Speaker today, if approved by the President:1 also the translation of some papers given him by mister Ternant three or four days ago, which he has not before had time to prepare: also extract of a private letter from mister Short.2 Th: J. will have the honor of waiting on the President at one aclock on these subjects.3

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

1At “2 o’clock” on this date, Tobias Lear returned to Jefferson “By the President’s command . . . the enclosed letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and to inform the Secretary that the President approves the same. The President was engaged with the Secretary of War when the enclosed was put into his hands which prevented him from looking at it ’till this moment” (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Jefferson in this letter to Speaker Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., reiterated his reluctance to submit his Report on Commerce out of fear that certain elements in it might induce Great Britain to disrupt the upcoming negotiations with Indians at Lower Sandusky (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 25:246–47; see also Jefferson to the Speaker of the House, 22 Mar. 1792, ibid., 23:332; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 51, n.8). After additional consultation with Jefferson, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to postpone consideration of the report until its next session (ibid., 64–65; Journal of the House description begins The Journal of the House of Representatives: George Washington Administration 1789–1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. 9 vols. Wilmington, Del., 1977. description ends , 5:140). For further information on the Report on Commerce, see GW to Jefferson, 12 Feb. 1793, n.2.

2Jefferson’s translation of the papers given to him by Ternant begins: “Pro memoriâ. Different extracts relative to the Minister Plen. of the U.S. in France.” These extracts, which are in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters and printed in 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 25:248–49, were of letters from Lebrun, the French minister of foreign affairs, to Ternant, 13, 19, 19 Sept.; Etienne Clavière, French minister of public contributions, to Lebrun, 10 Sept.; and M. de Gouvernet, French minister at The Hague, to Lebrun, 11 Sept. 1792. Lebrun and Clavière in their letters complained about U.S. minister Gouverneur Morris’s conduct and apparent hostility toward France. Gouvernet, and Lebrun in his second letter of 19 Sept., criticized William Short, the U.S. minister at The Hague, for delaying payments on the U.S. debt to France (see also JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 60–61).

The extract of the private letter from Short to Jefferson of 20 Nov. 1792, in which the minister defended his reluctance to make installments on the French loan, is in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters and is printed in full in 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 24:646–50.

3Jefferson met with GW in the evening on this date (Jefferson’s Conversation with GW, 20 Feb. 1793).

Index Entries