George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 20 June 1793

To Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] June 20th 1793.

Sir,

I leave it to you, and the heads of the other two Departments to say what, or whether any answer should be given to the B. Minister’s letter of the 19th1—It would seem as if neither he, nor the Spanish Commissioners were to be satisfied with any thing this Government can do.2 But on the contrary, are resolved to drive matters to extremity. Yours

Go: Washington

I send the enclosed to be signed.3

ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers; ADfS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State. The postscript appears only on the ALS. Jefferson endorsed the ALS as received on 21 June 1793.

1George Hammond’s letter to Jefferson of 19 June chastised Jefferson for failing to respond to his letter of 14 June, in which he had expressed British apprehensions about threats posed to British ships by the French privateers Sans Culotte and Citoyen Genet (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 , 26:284–85, 322–23). On the administration’s response to Hammond’s letter of 14 June, see Cabinet Opinion, 17 June, Jefferson to GW, 19 June 1793 (first letter), and note 2. Following GW’s instructions of 20 June, the cabinet discussed an answer to Hammond’s letter of 19 June at its 22 June meeting. It concluded “that the Government were too much employed to go into a discussion of hypothetical questions; but would be always ready to meet & decide with justice, cases as they actually arose” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 184, 186). For Jefferson’s reply to Hammond of 25 June 1793, see 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 , 26:362–63.

2On recent correspondence with José Jaudenes and José Ignacio de Viar, see Cabinet Opinion, 20 June 1793, and notes 1–3.

3The enclosure has not been identified.

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