George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 3 October 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello [Va.] Oct. 3. 1793.

Dr Sir

I received from mister Gore by yesterday’s post the evidence on the aggression committed by mister Duplaine Vice Consul of France at Boston, and it appears fully to establish the fact against him.1 I have therefore prepared & countersigned a Revocation of his Exequatur, with letters on the subject to him, to mister Genet, & mister Morris; as also instructions to mister Bankson in what way to make up their several packets. although I know of no circumstance which might change the determination with respect to mister Duplaine, yet I have prepared these papers separately & unconnected with any other business, & put them under a separate cover & instructions to mister Bankson, so that if you should chuse it, the whole will be completely suppressed by your stopping this packet.2 should you on the other hand think, as I confess I do, that an example of authority & punishment is wanting to reduce the Consuls within the limits of their duties, and should you approve of the papers prepared for that purpose, I must trouble you to stick a wafer in the cover to mister Bankson, & forward it by post. I have the honor to be with the most perfect respect & esteem Dear Sir Your most obedt & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

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

1The evidence about Antoine Charbonnet Duplaine’s resistance to replevy of the schooner Greyhound by the U.S. marshal was enclosed in Christopher Gore’s letter to Jefferson of 10 Sept. (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 , 27:79–82). For discussion of that case, see Cabinet Opinions, 31 Aug., and n.2 to that document.

2The revocation was issued with a date of 10 Oct. and widely published in newspapers: “The Sieur Antoine Charbonet Duplaine heretofore having produced to me his Commission as vice Consul for the Republick of France, within the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and having thereon received from me an Exequatur bearing date the fifth day of June 1793, recognising him as such, and declaring him free to exercise and enjoy such functions, powers and priviledges as are allowed to vice-Consuls of the French Republick by the laws, treaties, and conventions in that case made and provided, and the said Sieur Duplaine having under colour of his said Office committed sundry encroachments, and infractions on the laws of the land, and particularly having caused a vessel to be rescued, with an armed force out of the custody of an Officer of Justice, who had arrested the same by process from his Court, and it being therefore no longer fit nor consistent, with the respect and obedience due to the laws, that the said Sieur Duplaine should be permitted to continue in the exercise and enjoyment of the said functions, priviledges and powers—these are therefore to declare that I do no longer recognise the said Antoine Charbonet Duplaine as vice Consul of the Republick of France in any part of these United States, nor permit him to exercise or enjoy any of the functions, powers or priviledges allowed to the vice Consuls of that Nation—and that I do hereby wholly revoke and annul the said Exequatur heretofore given, and do declare the same to be absolutely null and void from this day forward” (LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

Jefferson’s letters of 3 Oct. to Duplaine and to French minister Edmond Genet announced the revocation and enclosed copies of the evidence on which it was based. His letter of the same date to the American minister at Paris, Gouverneur Morris, directed him to transmit copies of all the material to the French government and “to express to them the very great concern with which the President has seen himself obliged to take a measure with one of their agents, so little in unison with the sentiments of friendship we bear to their nation, and to the respect we entertain for their authority” (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 , 27:184–88). For Jefferson’s letter of 3 Oct. to Benjamin Bankson, 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 , 27:182. Benjamin Bankson (d. 1795) served as a clerk in the office of the secretary of the Continental Congress, in the Senate, and in the War Department before becoming a State Department clerk in the summer of 1793.

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