Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Sir John Temple, 13 May 1793

To Sir John Temple

Philadelphia May 13. 1793.


I received from Mr. Beckley the inclosed commission with a request to have it recorded in my office, without giving you the trouble of coming to this place. This trouble may certainly be spared to you as being unnecessary, but it is our usage, where a nation has a minister here, to receive the Consular commissions through him only. If therefore you will be so good as to inclose your commission to Mr. Hammond, he will of course present it, and an Exequatur will be made out immediately. Not knowing whether Mr. Beckley would be in N. York, I have thought it better to return the commission to yourself directly, and have the honor to be Sir Your most obedt & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Sr. John Temple.” Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy. Enclosure: Sir John Temple’s commission as British consul general for New York and New England, 8 Feb. 1793 (Tr in DNA: RG 59, NFC).

In March 1793, as part of a general reorganization of its consular service in America, the British government appointed Sir John Temple consul general for New York and New England and Phineas Bond consul general for the Middle and Southern states. Upon receipt of TJ’s letter, Temple, who hitherto had been serving as British consul general for the United States, wrote a letter to George Hammond asking him to submit his new consular commission to the Secretary of State. As a result, the Department of State approved Temple’s exequatur on 17 May 1793 (Exequatur for Temple, 17 May 1793, FC in DNA: RG 59, Exequaturs, with George Washington and TJ as signatory and countersignatory). See also Lord Grenville to Temple, 8 Mch. 1793, Temple to Bond, 10 May 1793, Temple to Hammond, 14 May 1793, Temple to Grenville, 18 May 1793, all in PRO: FO 5/2; Memorandum Book of the Department of State, 17 May 1793, DNA: RG 360, PCC; Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 142; Neel, Phineas Bond description begins Joanne L. Neel, Phineas Bond: A Study in Anglo-American Relations, 1786–1812, Philadelphia, 1968 description ends , 96–7.

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