Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Warren, 9 October 1785

From James Warren

Milton, 9 Oct. 1785. Though they were only briefly acquainted in Boston, Warren writes to TJ concerning his son, Winslow Warren. The latter, “encourag’d by the principal Members of Congress,” established himself at Lisbon over a year before, in anticipation of an appointment as consul in Portugal. Though consular appointments had been postponed until treaties of commerce were concluded, it now appears that Congress will “probably adopt a Report made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to make the Ministers abroad Consuls General, with the Power of Appointment to the several Ports, within their respective Departments.” In that event, the choice for Portugal will be TJ’s, and Warren asks that it be given to his son. Since the “partiality of a Father might be suspected on such an Occasion,” he refers TJ to “others, who know him, for his Merits and Qualifications‥‥I shall only say that he has been much Abroad, in England, Holland and France, especially the last, and speaks the French Language fluently, and that the Countenance and Encouragement, he has receiv’d from many Members of Congress, particularly from all those of this State, is a strong Evidence in his Favor.” Portuguese-American trade suffers from the absence of a consul there. “If the Office should not be very Lucrative, it would give him Consequence, and Support, and prevent that Injury, to the Feelings of a Young Man of Spirit, and Sensibility, which would arise from a Disappointment, in a matter so long and so generally expected. I will only add that I have had a considerable Share (for an Individual) in the American Revolution, without deriving yet any Personal Advantage to myself or Family.”

RC (MHi); 2p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Warren; endorsed. Recorded in SJL as received 6 Dec. 1785.

Though Warren did not mention Adams in his letter, he must have anticipated that TJ would think of Adams as being among the others who know him. Warren had already written Adams on 6 Oct. 1785 saying that his son “went to Lisbon with great and well founded expectations of being appointed the consul there and still remains there with such Expectations. Congress have delayed the Appointment until a Commercial Treaty should be formed. By a letter from my Friend Gerry last Evening I am informed they now have it in Contemplation and probably will appoint the foreign Ministers Consul General and leave the appointment to the several Ports with them and that Lisbon will fall into the department of Mr. Jefferson. Will you write to him, and use your influence to gratify me in the acquisition of this small favor” (MHi: AMT). In acknowledging Warren’s letter, Adams wrote: “I had before written very fully to Mr. Jay, a recommendation of your son to be consul of Lisbon, and desired him to communicate it to the Members of Congress. I will also write to Mr. Jefferson, and wish very heartily that he may be appointed” (Adams to Warren, 12 Dec. 1785, same). See Adams to TJ, 13 Dec. 1785.

Index Entries