Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Smith, [before 12 March 1801]

From Samuel Smith

[before 12 Mch. 1801]


Capt. William Buchanan has resided at the Isle of France for the last four or five years, [his] friends request me to solicit the Consulate of the Isles of France & Bourbon for him—An application for his appointment was presented by me lately to Mr. Marshall signed by the most [respec]table Merchants of both parties in this City—It was rejected because (as I understood) he was known to be my Cousin—& Mr. George Stacy was appointed—Mr. Stacy was a kind of Lawyer, serving the late Consul (Lewis) as his Chancellor—

Capt. Buchanan is a Man of liberal Education about 34 Years of Age & for whose good Conduct I will hold myself responsible—he has a fair Claim on his Country, having been shot thro: the Arm at St. Clairs defeat in a Charge on the Indians—at the Head of his Company—

From every information I Can have Mr. Stacy would do no honor to our Country—there is a ship bound from Philadelphia & will sail within a few Days for the Isle of France—If you think it proper to appoint Capt. Buchanan the Commission might go on immediately—

I will do myself the honor to write you fully on the subject of your Letter in a Week & am Sir/

your friend & Obedt. Servt

S. Smith

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); undated; frayed; endorsed by TJ as received [12] Mch. and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “Wm. Buchanan to be Consul at the I. of France.”


Isles of france & bourbon: when U.S. consul Jacob Lewis returned to the United States in 1799, George Stacey began serving as vice consul at the Île de France and subsequently submitted reports to Timothy Pickering, John Marshall, and James Madison. Although appointed commercial agent by Adams in February 1801, Stacey did not receive a commission and continued to sign his correspondence as vice consul. TJ issued a commission appointing William Buchanan commercial agent for the islands on 9 July 1801, but Buchanan did not learn of his appointment until January 1802. He enjoyed popularity in île de France and remained in office until 1816 (Toussaint, Mauritius description begins A. Toussaint, ed., Early American Trade with Mauritius, Port Louis, Mauritius, 1954 description ends , 10–13, 40–2, 62–4; Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, Chapel Hill, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 4:240–1; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 2:104; TJ to Samuel Smith, 24 June and 9 July 1801).

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