Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 2 March 1792

To George Washington

Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the President and returns him the letter to Genl. St. Clair. The only passage about which he has any doubt is the following ‘it does not appear by any information in my possession, that your exertions were wanting to produce a different result either in the previous preparations, or in the time of action.’ Th: J. never heard a statement of the matter from Genl. St. Clair himself in conversation: but he has been told by those who have, that, from his own account it appears he was so confident of not meeting an enemy, that he had not taken the proper precautions to have advice of one previous to the action, and his manner of conducting the action has been pretty much condemned. If these criticisms be just, the only question is whether the above paragraph will not be so understood as to be exposed to them? Th: J. does not pretend to judge of the fact, and perhaps the expression may not bear the meaning he apprehends.

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); endorsed by Lear. Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDC). Later the same day TJ prepared from memory a copy of this letter which differs only slightly in phraseology. He added this below the text: “The date is verbatim, as nearly as I can recollect, the diction of a note I wrote to the President this morning, and forgot to take a copy of before it went out of my hands. But I think there will be found scarcely a word of difference, except perhaps in the quotation, the substance of which alone can be answered for” (Dft in DLC; printed in Ford, v, 440–1, with only minor transcription errors).