George Washington Papers

Memorandum from Thomas Jefferson, 11 July 1793

Memorandum from Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia, c.11 July 1793]

Papers requiring the President’s instant attention.

Th: J’s letter to Viar & Jaudenes. }     the Courier
goes on Saturday.1
Genet’s communications relative to Spain

Little Sarah.

the Governor’s letter of June 24. & Warden’s 1st report.

the Governor’s letter of July 7.

x Th: J’s conversation with Genet.

x Th: J’s opinion against firing on the Little Sarah.

Rawle’s letter. July 9.

Genet’s letter. July 9.2

AD, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. Tobias Lear’s docket reads “Memo. of letters & papers deld to the President by the Secy of State 9 July 1793.” The inclusion of letters that have a later date suggests an error on Lear’s part. He returned all the letters to Jefferson on 15 July, except those marked in a different ink with an x. GW reviewed this memorandum and its accompanying papers on 11 July and called for a cabinet meeting at 9 a.m. the following day to discuss the issues raised by some of these papers (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 191; Cabinet Opinion, 12 July 1793).

1Jefferson’s first letter of 11 July to José de Jaudenes and José Ignacio de Viar informed the Spanish consuls that GW considered their letter to Jefferson of 18 June about U.S. Indian policy in the Southeast “of so serious a complexion that he chuses to treat of it with your government directly” (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 , 26:313–17, 473–74). For the events leading to the writing of Jefferson’s reply, see Jefferson to GW, 19 June (fourth letter), and note 1, and Cabinet Opinion, 20 June 1793. For a subsequent effort by Viar and Jaudenes to obtain Jefferson’s assistance in persuading GW to approve a statement prepared by them in which GW would affirm that Spain desired peaceful relations with the United States, see Viar and Jaudenes to Jefferson, 24 July 1793, and note (ibid., 562).

Genet’s communications to Jefferson of 2 July included his “Note on the principles of Spain relative to the navigation of the Missisipi” and two short extracts on French foreign policy under the monarchy that Genet claimed “was taken at the instigation of Spain” (ibid., 477–79; see also Jefferson to GW, 15 July 1793, and note 1).

Jefferson entrusted Philadelphia resident James Blake with the delivery of diplomatic dispatches to William Carmichael and William Short, the U.S. commissioners plenipotentiary at Madrid. Jefferson submitted his instructions to Blake and the passport for Blake, both 12 July, to GW on 13 July (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 196). For these two documents, 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 , 26:483–84. The dispatches that Blake carried included Jefferson’s letters to Carmichael and Short of 31 May, 30 June, and 12 July 1793, and their enclosures, which included the first two letters mentioned in this memo (ibid., 148–50, 405–17, 485–86). Blake departed Philadelphia for Cadiz aboard the ship Thomas, under Capt. Henry Skinner of Philadelphia (17 July 1793, General Advertiser [Philadelphia]).

2For Pennsylvania governor Thomas Mifflin’s letter to GW of 24 June concerning the outfitting of the British brigantine Little Sarah in the port of Philadelphia as the French privateer Petite Démocrate and the enclosed report from Nathaniel Falconer of that date, see note 1 of Mifflin’s second letter to GW of 22 June. See also Mifflin to Jefferson, 7 July, ibid., 444–45. For Jefferson’s Notes on a Conversation with Genet of 10 July, see the enclosure below. For Jefferson’s opposition to military action, see his dissenting opinion of 8 July in note 8 of the Cabinet Opinion of 8 July. The 9 July letter of William Rawle, U.S. attorney for the district of Pennsylvania, has not been identified, but it is mentioned in Jefferson’s Notes on a Conversation with Genet, 10 July. Genet’s first letter to Jefferson of 9 July described the French capture and arming of the Little Sarah (ibid., 456–57; translation, ASP, Foreign Relations, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:163).

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