Thomas Jefferson Papers

V. Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Pinto, 28 August 1790

V. Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Pinto

New York August 28th. 1790


I have made it very much my rule to preserve the arrangements which Mr. Jay had established in the office for foreign affairs. In your case indeed I was led on the representations I received through or from Mr. Remsen to raise the allowance for translating which had been given by Mr. Jay: in this I went as far as I thought an impartial judge ought to go, deciding between the public and an individual. No new cause occurring to produce any change of opinion, I doubt not you will yourself approve of my not going beyond what I believe to be right. I am Sir &c.

FC (DNA: RG 59, PCC No. 120).

In a letter to Jay of 13 Nov. 1789, Pinto referred to his appointment as Spanish interpreter in the Office of Foreign Affairs and added: “When I received that Appointment, altho’ no Salary was arranged, I took it for granted that the employ would have been of considerable advantage to me; you will be apprised of the little benefit I have derived therefrom when I acquaint you that the whole amount for my Service is no more than £8. 12. 4 in the very near Three Years‥‥ I therefore concieve it no impropriety in me to hope or even expect some further Compensation. I am persuaded you will think what I have received not an Object for an appointment from your Office. I rest the matter Sir on your own Equity and Feelings to fix the Compensation, in Confidence that it will be agreeable to my wishes” (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; Tr in same, PCC No. 120). Pinto enclosed a copy of this letter in one to TJ of 16 Aug. 1790, stating: “Mr. Jay … seem’d to think my Expectations of more Advantage from my Appointment were well founded and a Subject of relief; yet as he was then Circumstanced, cou’d not take it upon himself making me the Compensation I wish’d for, and recommended an application to you for that purpose” (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; endorsed by TJ as received by the office on 17 Aug. and by him on 21 Aug. 1790, and so recorded in SJL).

Index Entries