Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Smith, 7 October 1801

From Samuel Smith

Baltimore 7th. Octr. 1801

Dr. Sir/

I have shewn your letter recommending a clergyman to some of my particular friends, they laugh at the Idea of my being written to on that Subject, however your Recommendation will have great Weight—There is no positive Vacancy here yet, but there must be, for Doctr. Allison’s situation is little short of Lunacy, Nor is there any Appearance of his recovery—There has been a young Gentleman of some Talents on trial from N: York, a Mr Mc.Knight who has given satisfaction, whether this will prevent your friends success I know not—

The Spaniards had declared (a L’Anglais) the Blockade of Gibraltar & our ships Avoided going there—but since the sailing of our ships of War—almost every Vessel had Orders to touch there for convoy & Information, a Number of those have Actually been Captured, bound to Leghorn Smyrma &c &c & carried to Algezira—The losses are tremendous & will be reported to the Departmt. of State by the Insurance companies—something I hope will be done—If C. Pinckney can stop this Infamous Conduct—& Recover for those latter Captures—It will be another successful Attempt in favor of our Commerce—I am sir with Truth your friend

S. Smith

P.S—I have opened this Letter to Inform you that Capt. Rogers has sent a Box to my Care with a Mark Containing Books, which he believes to be for you. He delivered me two large Boxes sometime past which I forwarded—I have recd. a present of a Box of Old Hock from the Consul at Bremen Mr. Wichelhausen for myself & another for your Acceptance, shall I forward it

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 9 Oct. and so recorded in SJL.

Your Letter: TJ to Smith, 26 Sep., regarding John Glendy. Patrick Allison, D.D., had been the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Baltimore since the 1760s. For several years before his death in 1802, he suffered from disease that erratically impaired his mental functions. Washington McKnight, the son of a New York City minister, was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New York in October 1800 (Sprague, American Pulpit description begins William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, or, Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations, New York, 1857–69, 9 vols. description ends , 3:257–9, 373–4).

On 21 Aug., David Humphreys reported from Madrid the “disagreeable intelligence” that five ships owned by Americans had been brought into the port of Algeciras for violation of a Spanish Blockade of Gibraltar, “altho’ they were most, if not all of them, destined to ports up the Mediterranean.” Another American vessel that had been detained in the bay at Algeciras was sunk during the naval battles between the Spanish and the British in the area. On 25 Oct., Madison sent Charles Pinckney copies of letters and memorials from Americans about “the predatory cruizers from the port of Algeciras.” Madison explained the U.S. government’s position on the issue, arguing that the Spanish blockade of Gibraltar, based on a proclamation of February 1800, had never been properly announced or enforced. “Among the abuses committed under pretext of War,” Madison wrote, “none seem to have been carried to greater extravagance or to threaten greater mischief to neutral commerce, than the attempts to substitute fictitious blockades by proclamation, for real blockades formed according to the law of nations.” Smith blamed that practice on the British with his phrase “a L’Anglais” in the letter above. Lafayette, writing to TJ in 1799, called Britain’s imposition of sweeping blockades by proclamation a “Contrivance” (Humphreys to the secretary of state, 21 Aug., in DNA: RG 59, DD; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 2:199–203; Vol. 31:94). TJ sent papers relating to the Algeciras seizures and other spoliations involving Spain to the House of Representatives on 20 Apr. 1802 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 2:440–58).

The U.S. Consul at Bremen, Frederick Jacob Wichelhausen, had written to Madison on 31 July congratulating Madison and praising TJ. That letter was received at the State Department on 7 Oct. (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 1:410).

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