George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson, 31 May 1793

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] May 31st 1793

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to return to the Secretary of State, the draughts & Copies of letters which he sent to the President this day1—And to inform the Secretary, that the President is so much indisposed that he does not think he shall be able to meet the Gentlemen at his House tomorrow (the President having had a high fever upon him for 2 or 3 days past, and it still continuing unabated)2—he therefore desires that the Secretary of State will request the Attendance of the other Heads of the Departments & the Attorney General at his Office tomorrow, and lay before them, for their consideration & opinion,3 such matters as he would have wished to have brought to their view if they had met at the President’s—and let the President know the results of their deliberations thereon.4

The President likewise directs T. Lear to send to the Secrety of State the Opinions of the Gentlemen expressed at their last meeting on the subject of Indian Affairs in Georgia, for their signature tomorrow, and to have the blank, which is left therein to limit the time of the service of the troops, filled up.5

Also a note from the Attorney General relative to certain communications from Baltimore, which the President thinks shd be laid before the Gentlemen.6

Tobias Lear.
Secretary to the President of the United States.

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

1Lear returned all the documents enclosed in both of Jefferson’s letters to GW of this date (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 156–57).

2Both GW and Alexander Hamilton missed this cabinet meeting (Jefferson to GW, 31 May [first letter], n.2).

3Lear first wrote “decision” at this place in the draft; he then struck this word and wrote “opinion” above the line.

4For the two opinions that resulted from the cabinet meeting of 1 June, see Cabinet Opinion on Sending an Agent to the Choctow, 1–5 June, and Cabinet Opinion on the French Privateers, 1 June.

6In the enclosed note of 31 May to Lear, Randolph asked “Mr Lear to suggest to the President the propriety of desiring the Secretary of State, to convene the gentlemen, at his office to morrow, upon the subject of the Baltimore papers, which E. R. has this moment sent to Mr Jefferson by his messenger” (DLC: Jefferson Papers). These communications concerned the adherence by the collector and surveyor of customs at Baltimore to GW’s Neutrality Proclamation of 22 April. For the letter from collector Otho H. Williams to Hamilton of 28 May and Hamilton’s reply of 7 June, see Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 14:489–90, 523. Williams’s instructions to surveyor Robert Ballard, Samuel Smith’s letter to Hamilton warning of Maryland’s concerns about French privateers, and Ballard’s report and translation of the commission of the Sans Culotte have not been identified (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 156). For GW’s initial request for reports on infractions of the Neutrality Proclamation, see GW to Hamilton, 7 May, and note 2. Earlier on this date GW had sent these documents to Randolph and had asked that he give them to Jefferson, who then would decide on a course of action (ibid.). For the decisions reached on the “Baltimore papers” at this meeting, see Cabinet Opinion on French Privateers, 1 June, and Randolph to GW, 11 June.

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