Thomas Jefferson to Gouverneur Morris and Thomas Pinckney, 15 March 1793

To Gouverneur Morris and Thomas Pinckney

Dear Sir

The President has seen with satisfaction that the Ministers of the United States in Europe, while they have avoided an useless commitment of their Nation on the subject of M. de la Fayette, have nevertheless shewn themselves attentive to his situation. The interest which the President himself, and our Citizens in general take in the welfare of this gentleman, is great and sincere, and will entirely justify all prudent efforts to serve him. I am therefore to desire that you will avail yourself of every opportunity of sounding the way towards his liberation, of finding out whether those in whose power he is, are very tenacious of him, of insinuating through such channels as you shall think suitable the attentions of the Government and people of the United States to this object, and the interest they take in it, and of1 procuring his liberation by informal solicitations, if possible. But if formal ones be necessary, and the moment should arrive when you shall find that they will be effectual, you are authorized to signify, through such channel as you shall find suitable, that our Government and Nation, faithful in their attachments to this gentleman for the services he has rendered them, feel a lively interest in his welfare, and will view his liberation as a mark of consideration and friendship for the United States, and as a new motive for esteem and a reciprocation of kind offices towards the power to whom they shall be indebted for this Act.

A like letter being written to Mr. Pinckney,2 you will of course take care that, however you may act through different channels, there be still a sufficient degree of concert in your proceedings. I am, with great and sincere esteem, Dear Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

Th: Jefferson

RC (NNC: Gouverneur Morris Papers); in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., signed by TJ; at foot of text: “Mr. Morris”; endorsed by Morris. PrC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); signed by TJ in ink. RC (NNP); in Taylor's hand, signed by TJ; at foot of text: “Mr. Pinckney.” PrC of Dft (DLC); with emendation noted below; lacks part of complimentary close; at foot of text: “Mr. Morris.” Tr (NjP: Andre deCoppet Collection); in Taylor's hand, signed by TJ; at foot of text: “Messieurs Morris Pinckney”; marginal note in TJ's hand: “communicated to Colo. Humphries merely for his information. Th:J.” PrC (DLC); unsigned; at foot of text in TJ's hand in ink: “communicated to Colo. Humphr. Carmichl. Short.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DCI); at head of text: “To Gouverneur Morris Esqr.”; note in margin: “The same to Mr Pinckney. Communicated to Col. Humphreys Mr Carmichael Mr Short.” Enclosed in TJ to George Washington, and Washington to TJ, both 15 Mch. 1793, and TJ to Washington, 5 May 1793.

  1. The passage “of insinuating … and of” interlined in PrC of Dft.
  2. “Morris” in the RC to Pinckney; “Morris Pinckney”—with the first name written in TJ's hand—in the Tr sent to David Humphreys.