Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Blake, 12 July 1793

To James Blake


You will proceed with all diligence in the Ship1  bound to Cadiz,2 in Spain, with the dispatches committed to you for Messrs. Carmichael and Short, Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, at Madrid. When arrived at your port of destination, or any other to which you may by accident be forced, proceed directly to Madrid by such conveyance as will best reconcile safety, reasonable dispatch and due Economy. You will be furnished with proper passports from the Commissioners of Spain residing here and from myself, to ensure to yourself, as the Courier of this Government, and the dispatches of which you are the Bearer, that protection from harm, and freedom from search or impediment, which you will be entitled to by the law of nations, from a friendly nation. When arrived at Madrid deliver your dispatches into the Hands of the Commissioners themselves, and no other. Await there, their Orders, and return to this place with their answers, in such way as will again best combine safety, dispatch and Economy. Keep an exact account of your disbursements, letting them be perfectly reasonable, according to the character in which you go; providing vouchers for such Articles as will admit of it, and proving the residue on oath.

Over and above these reasonable expenses, you will be allowed at the rate of 5003 dollars a Year, for your time and trouble.

Given under my hand and the Seal of the Department of State this twelfth day of July 1793.

PrC (DLC); in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., with insertions by him in ink; unsigned; at head of text: “To Mr. James Blake.” Tr (DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess.). Tr (Lb in same, TR). FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). Enclosed in Tobias Lear to TJ, 15 July 1793.

James Blake, a resident of Philadelphia, had recently applied unsuccessfully for a clerkship in the Department of State (see George Meade to TJ [25 Mch. 1793], and note). Dispatches committed to you: TJ to William Carmichael and William Short, 31 May, 30 June, and 12 July 1793, and enclosures. In connection with his mission, TJ this day made out a draft on the Bank of the United States directing it to pay Blake $800 and and to “charge the same to the department of state as for public service” (FC in DLC; in TJ’s hand and signed by him, with Blake’s signature at foot of text).

TJ submitted this document to the President on 13 July 1793 (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 196).

1Word inserted in ink.

2Word inserted in ink.

3Digits inserted in ink.

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