Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington McElroy, 14 January 1802

From George Washington McElroy

Lancaster 14th. January 1802


I had flattered myself with the hope of paying personally my respects to your Excellency, but extreemly regret indisposition must deprive me of that anticipated honor.

I have taken the freedom, thro the medium of my friend Mr. Duane to lay before you a letter from Governor McKean, Certficates from Le Chevallier d’Yrujo and Don Josef Yznardy, as also the memorial of Sundry Merchants of Philadelphia, suplicating in my behalf the Consular Office at the Canary Islands; which should it please you to grant, the hight of my ambition should be, by attention & regularity to merit your Confidence.

Permit me to assure you, of the Sentimts. of respectful Consideration with which I have the honor to be

Your Excellency’s Mo. Obd. huml. Sevt.

Go. Washn. McElroy

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Jan. and “to be Consul at Teneriffe” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Thomas McKean to TJ, 11 Jan. 1802 (not found, but recorded in SJL as received 27 Jan. with notation “G. W. McElroy to be Consul Teneriffe”). (2) Certificate of Carlos Martínez de Irujo, undated, stating that McElroy would fill the position of U.S. consul at Tenerife “in a manner as useful to his Countrymen as agreeable to the people” among whom he would reside (MS in DNA: RG 59, LAR; in Irujo’s hand and signed by him). (3) Certificate of Joseph Yznardi, Sr., 7 Jan. 1802, testifying that McElroy resided with him for 12 months in Cadiz, where he “made considerable progress in the Spanish language,” then served an additional 11 months as consular agent at Sanlúcar de Barrameda; McElroy’s knowledge of the language and “his acquaintance with the manners and customs of the people and his other necessary qualifications” made him a proper choice for the Canary Islands consulship (MS in same; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Yznardi). (4) Memorial of merchants of Philadelphia to TJ, 2 Jan. 1802, stressing the need for a U.S. consul at Tenerife and stating that McElroy’s “punctual performance of his duty” would merit the president’s confidence in his appointment; McElroy spent three years in Spain and the Canary Islands, and his skills in the Spanish and Portuguese languages can be attested to by Irujo and Josef Ignacio de Viar (MS in same; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Chandler Price, Philip Micklin, and 18 others).

In February 1802, TJ appointed George Washington McElroy (d. 1804) consul at Tenerife in place of John Culnan, who had abandoned the place due to poor health (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:406, 407; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 2:371–2; 8:121–2; commission for George Washington McElroy, 10 Feb. 1802, in Lb in DNA: RG 59, PTCC; Vol. 33:678).

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