George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 31 July 1793

To Thomas Jefferson

Philadelphia July 31st 1793.

Dear Sir,

As there are several matters which must remain in a suspended State—perhaps not very conveniently—until a decision is had on the conduct of the Minister of the French Republic—and as the Attorney General will, more than probably, be engaged at the Supreme Court next week1—It is my wish under these circumstances, to enter upon the consideration of the letters of that Minister tomorrow, at 9 ’Oclock; I therefore desire you will be here at that hour; and bring with you all his letters, your answr and such other papers as are connected with the subject.2

As the consideration of this business may require sometime, I should be glad if you & the other Gentlemen would take a family dinner with me at 4 ’Oclock.3 No other company is, or will be envited. Sincerely & Affectly I remain—Yrs

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers; AL[S], DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State. Jefferson’s docket reads “recd. July 31. 93.”

1According to “An Act to establish the Judicial Courts of the United States,” of 24 Sept. 1789, the Supreme Court must hold two sessions, “the one commencing the first Monday of February, and the other the first Monday of August,” which was 5 Aug. in 1793 (1 Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends ., 73).

2GW had written Jefferson on 25 July asking him to have ready for future examination those documents relevant to Edmond Genet’s activities as France’s minister to the United States and to the problems caused by the presence at U.S. ports of French privateers and prizes.

3Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, Edmund Randolph, and Jefferson met with GW on 1 August, and during this meeting they read the appropriate correspondence between Genet and Jefferson, “together with letters from the British Minister.” They postponed “further consideration of the whole” until “tomorrow” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 211–12; see also Jefferson’s Notes of Cabinet Meeting, 1 Aug., 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 , 26:598). Discussion began again at 9 a.m. on 2 Aug., but the cabinet’s decisions were not formalized until 3 Aug. (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 212–13; Jefferson’s Notes of Cabinet Meeting, 2 Aug., 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 , 26:601–3; Cabinet Opinion on the Rules of Neutrality and Cabinet Opinion on French Privateers, both 3 Aug.). Although the cabinet recommended that the administration ask the French government to recall Genet, the implementation of that decision was delayed until 23 Aug. (Cabinet Opinion, 23 Aug. 1793).

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