Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from David Humphreys, 4 April 1793

From David Humphreys

Lisbon, 4 Apr. 1793. Since his letter of 24 Mch. he has repeated his application to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs about “the hardship of refusing our vessels laden with wheat, after requesting Franquia, to proceed to their destination.” He has succeeded in this instance, as his letter to the Secretary and its enclosures indicate, and will continue to be unremitting in his efforts to protect American trade. Bountiful rains promise an improved harvest in Portugal. European affairs become more critical every day. After a conference with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, M. d’Arbot, the National Convention’s “Agent Negociateur to this Court,” is returning to France on the first neutral ship, not having been officially acknowledged. War with France will probably ensue after Arbot’s return, despite the assertions of English gazettes that it exists already. The celebrations planned for the Princess of Brazil’s childbirth will overshadow the Queen. He encloses a letter from Short for TJ and another for the Secretary of the Treasury.

RC (DNA: RG 59, DD); 2 p.; at head of text: “(No. 70.)”; at foot of text: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 31 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Tr (Lb in same). Enclosures: (1) Bill of Lading, Petersburg, Virginia, 2 Feb. 1793, for shipping 7,218 bushels of wheat to Cadiz on the Mary for Gurdon Bachus of Petersburg (printed form in same; signed by Joseph Perkins; endorsed on verso: “Copy of Original left at Belleam Custom House”). (2) Joseph Perkins to Humphreys, Lisbon, 23 Mch. 1793, stating that the brig Mary, owned by Moses Brown of Newburyport and commanded by himself, put into Lisbon for safety on the way to Cadiz and was being unjustly detained on the pretended grounds that its cargo of wheat “was order’d to this market” and “invested entirely to my care independent of any Consignee”; that he would sail to his destination come what may unless the vessel and cargo were confiscated, thereby enabling him to justify himself to his employers; and that he should be paid the price of the market he is bound for if bread is urgently needed in Lisbon, where the price is only four-fifths of that in neighboring ports and will not cover the freight and charges of the voyage (Tr in same; signed by Perkins). (3) Humphreys to Luis Pinto de Sousa Coutinho, 25 Mch. 1793, promising to transmit to his government as soon as possible Pinto’s 20 Mch. answer to several communications on the subjects of grain and flour, transmitting Nos. 1 and 2 to verify the destination of the Mary and document the hardship caused by its detention, and requesting that the ship be allowed to proceed on her voyage before her perishable cargo was ruined (Tr in same, in Humphreys’s hand; Tr in Lb in same). (4) Pinto de Sousa Coutinho to Humphreys, n.d., enclosing an advisory for the Mary to be released from customs so that it may continue its voyage (Tr in same, in Portuguese, in Humphreys’s hand; Tr in Lb in same).

The enclosed letter from William Short to TJ has not been identified; its receipt was not recorded in SJL on 31 May 1793 when TJ registered Humphreys’s letter. Short’s letter to Alexander Hamilton was dated either 22 or 30 Mch. 1793 (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xiv, 235–6, 261–3). TJ submitted Humphreys’s letter to the President on 31 May 1793 (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 157).

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