Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joshua Johnson, 12 September 1791

From Joshua Johnson

London 12 September 1791


I had the Honor to write you on the 10th. Ultimo, which Letters went by the America Captn. Mackay, via New York, and which I now confirm, since then I am deprived of the pleasure of any of your much respected Favors.

I now inclose you Copies of Mr. Long’s (Joint Secretary to the Treasury) Letters to me, in Answer to mine on the Subject of the Seizure of the Hope, and Janet at Liverpool, which the Lords of the Treasury have ordered to be liberated on Compensation being made to the seizing officers. Their Lordships have also directed the liberation of the Thomas, Captn. Vickery at Guernsey but are determined to condemn all offenders hereafter.

Mr. Hammond has at length obtained his Appointment, and Embarked in the last Packet for America. People here seem very sanguine that on his Appearance, Congress will be so much pleased that they will readily come into any Measures this Court shall ask, and that great Commercial Advantages will be granted to Britain by the United States, and that a Treaty Offensive and Defensive will be concluded; I pretend not to be capable of judging, but it strikes me that it would be as well to move slowly, and consider very well before the United States bind themselves in any thing, nor should they be too hasty in sending an Envoy in return to this Court.

You will pardon the Ideas I have taken the Liberty of throwing out, and believe me always Sir Your most Obedient and most Humble Servant,

Joshua Johnson

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD); in clerk’s hand except for signature; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Secretary of State for the Department of State”; endorsed as received 29 Nov. 1791 and so recorded in SJL. Dft (same). Enclosures: (1) Charles Long to Johnson, Treasury Chambers, 1 Aug. 1791, informing him that his letter transmitting “petitions of Captns. Fendel and Griffith was transmitted to the Commissioners of the Customs on the 5th of last month,” together with some papers received from Brownlow, owner of the Janet, sent to the board on 12 July; and that no answer had been received, but in response to Johnson’s recent letter he had written to the secretary of customs “to desire as speedy a report as possible.” (2) Long to Johnson, Treasury Chambers, 18 Aug. 1791, informing him that the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, on the report of Commissioners of the Customs on the American ship Hope and the brig Janet charged with landing their cargoes at Guernsey “contrary to the Provisions of an Act of 12 Chas. 2 chap. 18; sect: 3,” had concluded on the petitioners’ plea of ignorance that no fraud was intended, that they had issued warrant for release of the vessels, and that “their lordships desire you will make it known … that the said Act will be strictly enforced in future” (Tr of both texts in DNA: RG 59, CD).

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