Thomas Jefferson Papers

I. Memoranda on Candidates and Places for Consular Appointments, [ca. 1 June 1790]

I. Memoranda on Candidates and Places for Consular Appointments



[ca. 1 June 1790]

This º is a considerable deposit of our rice for the consumption of the Northern countries of Europe: being very free in it’s commerce, it is a good deal frequented by our vessels; and might be worthy of a consulship were a good native citizen to desire it, or an Englishman, as the English have great privileges there. John Parish named by Mr. Morris.1

Amsterdam.º Mr. Greenleaf is married and settled there. Mr. Cassinove speaks of him as a discreet young man. If we should have a Chargé des affaires there, it would be less important who should be the Consul. But if we have no Chargé there, I imagine it would be important to appoint such a person Consul as might be rendered useful in the very great money transactions we shall have there; and who might keep an eye over our bankers there, which will be found necessary.

Cadiz.º Richard Harrison already nominated. Welsh asks the appointment. I believe he is a native of Britain. With respect to these a general observation must be made. In those countries disposed to be friendly to us, and not so to Great Britain, the governments would be jealous of seeing a Briton employed as American Consul, because they could so easily cover British bottoms under the American flag. In France, where we have considerable privileges denied to the English, the government has been much perplexed and defrauded by British ships under false American colours. And these suspicions have produced embarrasments to vessels really ours. Tho’ I do not know that we have any privileges in Spain which the English have not, yet that government is not friendly to the British, and therefore the appointment of a native of Britain to be American Consul might draw an unfavorable shade over the appointment. In countries where British commerce is favored, it might be advantageous sometimes to appoint an Englishman our Consul, in order to partake of the favor of his nation.

Bilboa. Edward Church of Massachusetts already named.

Teneriffe.º Thomas Thompson of Virginia already named. Sarmento asks it. He is said by Mr. Fitzsimmons to be a Spaniard, married to a Miss Craig of Philadelphia, settled at Teneriffe, to have a good deal of the American business and to be of excellent character.

Qu. if it be sufficiently important to have any appointment here, unless it were a good native?

Lisbon.º John Marsden Pintard, of New York, will probably prefer this to Madeira. He is not at present in New York.

Madeira. Wm. Hill Wells is proposed, if Mr. Pintard does not accept.º He is the nephew of Henry Hill of Philadelphia. Mr. Morris saisº he is a very clever fellow. He is 22. years old.

Angra, in the island of Tercera, is the metropolis of the Azores. It is said to be the only station for ships in all the seven islands, and is the residence of the English, French and Dutch consuls. It is the port at which the Brazil ships refresh, and where intelligence of that country may be had.

Fayal. Messrs. Morris and Fitzsimmons recommend John Street of Fayal to be Consul. They say he is a native of England, but has resided in Fayal so long that he is considered as a Portuguese: that he is 30. years old and of very good character.

St. Michaels. Thomas Hickling of Boston, asks the consulship of the Azores or Western islands. He sets forth that he has resided several years at St. Michael’s, is well versed in the Portuguese language and in their laws and customs respecting trade: that on the acknolegement of our independence, he, being the only American residing in those islands, was appointed by the Chief judge Consul for the protection of our commerce to the Western islands in which he has acted since 1783. Mr. Yates of New York sais that Hickling is a respectable man of property, and that he has long corresponded with him.

Qu. if this appointment might not as well be left in it’s present state till some good native can be found who will settle at Angra which is central to all the islands? It’s connection with Brazil gives it advantage over any other position in these islands.



Liverpool. James Maury of Virginia already named. Is not this port sufficient for the Western coast?

Cowes in the Isle of Wight. This is a port at which many of our vessels touch, and where patronage against the Custom house officers will certainly be useful. Thomas Auldjo, a native of Britain, of the house of Strachan, Mackenzie & co. is recommended by Mr. Morris. I know him personally, and think him a good man. The Custom house officers seem devoted to him. He is the only merchant of any note there, and has the care of almost all the Carolina rice deposited there. This port would suffice for all the Southern coast of England.

Dublin.º William Knox, of Massachusetts, decidedly prefers this consulship to all others. He will decide within two or three days whether he will accept it. Randall, who was nominated, declines accepting. Mr. Morris recommends a Mr. Wilson of Dublin.1

Newry.2 Wm. Eugene Imlay of Jersey already nominated.

Marseilles.º Stephen Cathalan, a Frenchman. } already nominated.
Bordeaux. Joseph Fenwick, of Maryland.
Nantes. Burrell Carnes, of Massachusetts.
Havre. La Motte, a Frenchman.
Rouen. Nathaniel Barrett of Massachusets.

Isle of Rhé. Very unimportant in my opinion. Perhaps it would be as well to let the Consul for Nantes (to which place I believe it is nearer than Bordeaux) appoint T. Baudin his Agent there. Baudin desires it for the sake of the honor, and sais he has done several good offices for our vessels there. He is a Frenchman.

Hispaniola.º The ports are the Cape, Port au Prince and aux Cayes. Sylvanus Bourne already named.

Pointº à petre.

Port royal.º Fulwar Skipwith of Virginia already named.

Carenage.º } These two islands lying nearer to Martinique than
to any other Consulship, and seeming too inconsiderable for separate Consulships, may as well perhaps be agencies under the Consul of Martinique. And indeed, considering how many Consuls are destined for France and it’s dependancies, it may be doubted whether it would not be better to make Guadaloupe also an Agency of Martinique (to which it is so near) till a very good native shall offer for it? º Canton.º Samuel Shaw of Massachusetts already named. Thomas Randall Vice-Consul. There is a complaint against him for malpractice; recieved from Jacob Sarly.3

MS (DLC: Madison Papers); entirely in TJ’s hand; undated, but written after 27 May, when TJ received the complaint from Sarly about Randall that is mentioned in the final paragraph, and before 4 June 1790, when Washington submitted the first list of nominations to the senate. PrC (DLC: TJ Papers, 55: 9343–6); containing variations not in MS (see notes 2 and 3).

Several documents preceded or followed the above in the period when Washington and TJ were discussing consular appointments late in April. All are undated, but they reveal that geographical as well as political considerations were involved in the search for suitable nominees. These may be described as follows:

(1) Memorandum in TJ’s hand, mutilated, DLC: TJ Papers, 233: 41617, reading:

“Newry Wm. Eugene Imlay Jersey Isle of Bourbon

Lorient (Franklin Murray) Vail N. York

Mediterranean. Nice. Sasserno. Piemontese Civita Vecchia (D. Carrol) W.I. Braxton

Lisbon. Bristol. London.
John Cowper of Portsmouth
} recommended by Josiah Parker”
St. Domingo. Bristol.
Wm. Stokes. Virga.

The recommendation for an appointment made by Daniel Carroll refers to a letter from John Carroll to Daniel Carroll, 14 Feb. 1790 (RC in DLC: Applications for Office under Washington; endorsed by TJ: “Consulate for Civita vecchia. Mr. Carrol’s Letter asking it for Alexander Sloane”). This was really an endorsement of part of a letter from “Mr. Thorpe” reading as follows: “Mr. Alexander Sloane, a Scotch Gentleman, has been settled in business, during several years, at Civita Vecchia, where he has born an uniform character of honesty and industry, and obtains very considerable credit. He sollicits the appointment of Consul for the United States in that port. He asks no salary, and expects none to be annexed to the office; but only desires the advantage of holding that rank, and taking those eventual emoluments, which are customary, when there shall be need for his assistance.”

(2) Memorandum in TJ’s hand, DLC: TJ Papers, 233: 41618, with James Greenleaf designated for Amsterdam; Paul R. Randall of New York and Richard Codman of Massachusetts for Cadiz (the latter having “Mr. Dalton” beside his name as a sponsor); “T[homas] Thompson Virginia” and “Sarmento Portugee” for the Canaries; “(D.Carroll) Portugee” for Oporto; “Street (R. Morris) Portugee” for the Azores; and “Donald.A” and “Bromfield” for London, together with a recommendation by “(Mr. Morris)” that is not discernible because of the mutilation in MS.

(3) Memorandum in TJ’s hand, DLC: TJ Papers, 233: 41619, listing on its recto the names of ports and opposite to these the names of those being considered for nomination. The ports correspond with those listed in Document I above, except that the Azores and Cowes are omitted. The names designated for these ports correspond with those above except that Moylan was assigned to Lisbon, Pintard to Madeira, Randall to Dublin, and, for Bordeaux, Marseilles, and Martinique, respectively, the names of Bondfield, Larreguy, and Benjamin Thompson are deleted and those of Fenwick, Cathalan, and Skipwith are substituted for them. On verso TJ listed the appointments by states, as follows:


  • ✓Sylvanus Bourne
  • ✓Nathaniel Barrett
  • ✓Burrel Carnes
  •  Church
  • <James Greenleaf
  • ✓William Knox
  • ✓Samuel Shaw

    Rhode Island

  • <Dunn>)

    New York

  • ✓John Marsden Pintard Madeira
  • <Paul R. Randall>

    New Jersey

  • <Stephen Moylan>
  • <Benjamin Thompson>
    France or Fr. islds.
  • <enquire character of R. Morris>
  • ✓Wm. Eugene Imlay
    Q. of Mr. Bland Lee of Virga. and member of N. Jersey.


  • <Richard Harrison> Cadiz
  • ✓Joseph Fenwick


  • ✓James Maury
  • ✓Thomas Thompson
  • ✓Fulwar Skipwith


  • <John Larreguy>
  • Stephen Cathalan
  • La Motte
  • Auldjo
  • Parish

The foregoing tabulation was clearly employed from late April until after Document I was drawn up, as the deletions and additions show, thus indicating that TJ kept a geographical distribution of the appointments clearly in mind during the whole period.

(4) PrC of list of proposed nominees, DLC: TJ Papers, 55: 9340, in TJ’s hand. This is the list of those whom TJ describes in Document I as being “already named” or already nominated, except that the nominees for Teneriffe, Bilbao, and, of course, Canton are not included. The names of “Stephen Moylan of New Jersey” for Lisbon and “Paul R. Randall of New York” for Dublin have lines drawn through them, indicating that the list was drawn up about 1 May 1790, since Washington wrote to Moylan a day after that asking if he would accept the appointment “as it is not proposed to give salaries therewith” (Washington, Diaries, ed. Fitzpatrick, iv, 126).

(5) MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 69:11903); in TJ’s hand; at head of text: “Memorandums for making out consular commissions.” PrC in same, 55:9347–9. PrC of list of proposed nominees, with one exception, in DLC: TJ Papers, 55: 9347–9, in TJ’s hand. This list is cast in the form in which Washington presented the nominations to the senate, the first of which reads:

“Cadiz. Richard Hanson Harrison of Maryland, Consul of the United state of America for the port of Cadiz in the kingdom of Spain and for such parts of the said kingdom as shall be nearer to the said port than to the residence of any other consul or vice-consul of the U.S. in the said kingdom.” There were thirteen nominations in this list; the fourteenth was that of John Parish for the port of Hamburgh that was evidently added to the (missing) manuscript before Washington transmitted it to the senate on 4 June 1790. See Editorial Note above.

(6) MS in Remsen’s hand listing applications and recommendations for consular appointments as follows:

“Andrew Christian Tilebein, to be Consul for the District or Kingdom of Catalonia in Spain. He resides at Barcelona and is recommended by the Marquis d’Yranda.

John Marsden Pintard to be Consul for Lisbon and Madeira.

Sir Edward Newenham of Ireland, appointment of Consul for his Son at Marseilles, recommended by Dr. Franklin and Genl. Washington.

Robert Montgomery, to be Consul at Alicant in Spain.

Richard Harrison, to be Consul at Cadiz

John Bondfield, to be Vice Consul at Bordeaux, recommended by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Barclay.

Nathaniel Cutting to be Consul at Havre de Grace.

Paul Randall, offering himself as a Candidate for a foreign Appointment.

Mr. Thomas Barclay was recommended as Consul General for G. Britain by Mr. John Adams. [In TJ’s hand, in pencil:] Broadway, 2 doors below Crown str. Mrs. Barclay’s.

Mr. Uriah Forrest, to be Consul General for Do.” (MS in DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11904; at head of text: “Applications for Foreign Appointments”).

On Washington’s correspondence with Sir Edward Newenham concerning a consulship for his son, see Editorial Note.

(7) A letter from Robert Morris, 1 May 1790, expressing regret that he had not met TJ “Yesterday at either of the reciprocal calls on each other,” and adding: “When Mr. Morris came to reflect on the Persons to whom the Consular Appointments might be desirable, He could recollect but few, and even of these He has set down two Americans that He is not sure of, Mr. Geo. Harrison and Mr. Edwd. Hall. They are Young Gentlemen of good Character and if desired Mr. M. would consult them on the subject” (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; on verso TJ wrote and then deleted the names of Wilson, Baudin, Parish, Sarmento, and Haller, substituting for them the names of Wilson, Welsh, Baudin, Auldjo, and Parish). The names that Morris set down are listed as follows:

“For Consuls

  • Dublin ‥‥ Mr. Philip Wilson
  • Cadiz ‥‥ Mr. Welsh of the House
  • of Dominick Terry & Co. Lisbon ‥‥ Mr. Stephen Moylan
  • St. Martins Isle of Rhé ‥‥ Fr. Baudin
  • Marseilles ‥‥ Estienne Cathalan
  • Bourdeaux ‥‥ Mr. Mason of Virga. Mr. Geo. Harrison of Philada. Edwd Hall of Maryland
  • Cowes Isle of Wight ‥‥ Mr a Nephew of Strachan Mackenzie & Co.
  • Hamburg—Denmark ‥‥ Mr. John Parish.”

(8) In DNA: RG 59, MLR, there is a copy of the foregoing in the hand of Thomas FitzSimons that contains the following additions and variations: for Cadiz the name of “Mr. Harrison” was added to that of Welsh; for Bordeaux the name of “J. Verney” [Jacob Vernes] was added to that of Mason; the names of Harrison and Hall were designated for Le Havre, and opposite these TJ wrote in the margin: “withdrawn by Mr. Morris”; for Tenerife, FitzSimons wrote: “Mr. Sarmento, a Spaniard, married Miss Craig of P[hiladelphia] settled at Teneriff. He has acquired a great p[art] of the American business and has applied for this appointment”; and for Marseilles he added the name of “Mr. Haller, nephew to the Banker Haller of Paris” to that of Cathalan.

Mr. Cassinove: Théophile Cazenove, of Amsterdam, who had recently arrived in New York as a representative of Dutch mercantile and banking houses, bearing letters of introduction to Washington and others. Washington treated the matter with punctilio. When Van Berckel, the Dutch minister, informed the president that Cazenove had arrived with letters which he wished to deliver in person and requested to know when it would be agreeable for him to do so, Washington recorded in his diary: “It was thought, before this should be done, it might be proper to know whether they were of a public nature, and whether he was acting in a public character. If so, then let them come to me through the Secretary of State—if not, then for him to send them, that the purport might be known before he was introduced, which might be at the next Levee, when he might be received and treated agreeably to the consequence he might appear to derive from the testimonials of the letters. It being conceived that etiquette of this sort is essential with all foreigners to give a respect to the Chief Magistrate, and the dignity of the Government, which would be lessened if every person who could procure a letter of introduction should be presented otherwise than at Levee hours in a formal manner” (Washington, Diaries, ed. Fitzpatrick, iv, 105–6). This was only two days before Washington held his first interview with Jefferson, but the letters of introduction were evidently not handled through the secretary of state since they must have concerned private rather than public affairs.

On the complaint against Randall received from Sarly, see Sarly to TJ, 22 Dec. 1789. William Knox was the brother of Henry Knox. The recommendation by Fitzsimmons may have been in a (missing) letter of 31 July recorded in SJL as received same day.

1This sentence interlined by TJ before PrC was executed.

2In PrC TJ deleted “Newry” and substituted “Limerick,” a change made after PrC was executed.

3At this point PrC has an additional sentence not in MS and therefore added after the former was executed: “Hamburgh. John Parish, merchant of Hamburgh vice-consul for Hamburgh.”

Authorial notes

[The following note(s) appeared in the margins or otherwise outside the text flow in the original source, and have been moved here for purposes of the digital edition.]

º Sweden.

º Hamburgh.

º Holland.

º Spain.

º The Canaries.

º Portugal.

º Madeira Is.

º Azores.

º Great Britain.

º Ireland.

º France.

º French Islands.

º Guadaloupe.

º Martinique.

º St. Lucie.

º Tobago.

º Isle of France.

º China.

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