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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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5253. MINISTERS (Foreign), Outfit of.—
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3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
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5253. MINISTERS (Foreign), Outfit of.—

When Congress made their first appointments
of ministers to be resident in Europe,
I have understood (for I was not then in Congress )
that they allowed them all their expenses,


Page 557
and a fixed sum over and above for their time. Among their expenses was necessarily
understood their outfit. Afterwards they
thought proper to give them fixed salaries of
eleven thousand one hundred and eleven dollars
and one-ninth a year; and again by a resolution
of May the 6th and 8th, 1784, the
“salaries” of their ministers at foreign courts
were reduced to nine thousand dollars, to take
place on the 1st of August ensuing. On the
7th of May, I was appointed in addition to Mr.
Adams and Dr. Franklin, for the negotiation
of treaties of commerce; but this appointment
being temporary, for two years only, and not
as of a resident minister, the article of outfit
did not come into question. I asked an advance
of six months' salary, that I might be in
cash to meet the first expenses, which was
ordered. The year following I was appointed
to succeed Dr. Franklin at this court [France].
This was the first appointment of a minister
resident, since the original ones, under which
all expenses were to be paid. So much of the
ancient regulation as respected annual expenses
had been altered to a sum certain; so much of
it as respected first expenses, or outfit, remained
unaltered; and I might, therefore, expect that
the actual expenses for outfit were to be paid.
When I prepared my account for settlement
with Mr. Barclay, I began a detail of the articles
of clothing, carriage, horses, and household
furniture. I found they were numerous,
minute, and incapable from their nature of being
vouched; and often entered in my memorandum
book under a general head only, so that
I could not specify them. I found they would
exceed a year's salary. Supposing, therefore,
that mine being the first case, Congress would
make a precedent of it, and prefer a sum fixed
for the outfit as well as the salary, I have
charged it in my account at a year's salary;
presuming that there can be no question that
an outfit is a reasonable charge. It is the usage
here (and I suppose at all courts), that a minister
resident shall establish his house in the
first instant. If this is to be done out of his
salary, he will be a twelvemonth, at least, without
a copper to live on. It is the universal
practice, therefore, of all nations to allow the
outfit as a separate article from the salary. I
have enquired here into the usual amount of
it. I find that sometimes the sovereign pays
the actual cost. This is particularly the case
of the Sardinian ambassador now coming here,
who is to provide a service of plate, and every
article of furniture and other matters of first
expense, to be paid for by his court. In other
instances, they give a service of plate, and a
fixed sum for all other articles, which fixed sum
is in no case lower than a year's salary. I desire
no service of plate, having no ambition for
splendor. My furniture, carriage and apparel
are all plain, yet they have cost me more than
a year's salary. I suppose that in every
country, and in every condition of life, a year's
expense would be found a moderate measure
for the furniture of a man's house. It is not
more certain to me that the sun will rise to-morrow,
than that our government must allow
the outfit on their future appointment of foreign
ministers; and it would be hard on me
so to stand between the discontinuance of a
former rule, and institution of a future one,
as to have the benefit of neither.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 401.
(P. 1788)