George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 31 December 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

Philadelphia Decr 31. 1793.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose you a statement of the expenditure of the monies appropriated to our intercourse with foreign nations to be laid before the legislature according to the requisitions of the law.1

The account of the Secretary of State commences July 1. 1792, where that rendered at the last session, ended; and is brought down to this time. In the two preceding Years of this appropriation, Bills of Exchange were given me from the Treasurer on our Bankers at Amsterdam: so that the remittance of these Bills to the Bankers, for the credit of the Department of State, constituted a separate Deposite in their hands, on which the public Agents abroad, might draw for their salaries & other authorized expenditures. For the last year an order was given me by the Treasurer on the Bank of the United States, Bills of Exchange were purchased by an Agent employed for that purpose, and the money was paid to the Drawers by the Bank, on my Orders. As Amsterdam was at one time in danger of an attack, and the seat of war continued not very distant from it, it was thought safer to make the Bills payable to Mr Pinckney, our Minister in London, to be remitted by him to our Bankers in Amsterdam, if the place were safe.

The Deposite being thus transferred to the Bankers of the United States in Amsterdam, the monies pass from them into the hands of the public agents abroad, with whom the expenditures are final, being for their salaries and other authorized disbursements. The account of the Bankers now rendered, from July 1. 1792 to July 1. 1793, shews the sums paid to each of these.2

With these payments the ministers are debited, and are required annually on the 1st day of July to state and forward their separate accounts to be settled by the proper officers of the Treasury. This, with the payments to occasional Agents (generally a very small Article) completes the system of accounts for the foreign fund confided to the Department of State.

I enclose herewith Statements from the accounting Officers of the Treasury vouching my own account, begging leave only to observe that the 4,786 dollars, 67 Cents therein stated to be due from me, are the same which are stated in my account to be remaining on hand in the Bank, and which never have been taken out of it, as is vouched by the Bank book.3 I have the honor to be, with the most perfect respect and attachment, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble servant

Th: Jefferson

LS, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; LS (letterpress copy, signature added by Jefferson after use of letterpress), DLC: Jefferson Papers; LS (letterpress copy of different version), DLC: Jefferson Papers; ADf (letterpress copy; first page only), DLC: Jefferson Papers; LB, DLC:GW; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters; LB, DNA: RG 233, Third Congress, 1793–95, House Records of the Office of the Clerk, Records of Reports from Executive Departments; LB, DNA: RG 46, Transcribed Reports and Communications Transmitted by the Executive Branch to the U.S. Senate, 1789–1819.

1The relevant law was “An Act to continue in force for a limited time, and to amend the act intituled ‘An act providing the means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations,’” 9 Feb. 1793. The earlier law, of 1 July 1790, had required the president to “cause a regular statement and account” of the expenditures “to be laid before Congress annually,” and the continuing act did not alter that requirement (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 , 1:128–29, 299–300). The enclosed statement of “The Department of State (for the foreign fund) in account with the United States” shows the expenditure of most of $39,500 from 11 April to 30 Sept. 1793, leaving $4,786.67 cash on hand in the Bank of the United States (DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; see also 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 , 27:654). Jefferson also submitted a draft for GW’s message of this date sending the statement to Congress. GW’s LS followed that draft.

2The account of Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard exhibits the expenditure of 83,144.9 florins between 1 Aug. 1792 and 2 April 1793, and an additional 23,540.11 florins between 2 April and 1 July 1793. This, after the subtraction of the balance on hand as of 30 June 1792, left 36,795.17 florins due to the bankers (DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages).

3The two reports of Jefferson’s accounts, certified by Treasurer Joseph Nourse, 30 Dec., as true copies of originals on file in his office, show Jefferson charged with $183,000 in warrants and credited with various remittances, most to the Amsterdam bankers Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard, leaving the balance stated here (DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; see also 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 , 27:658–61).

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