Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Sullivan, 6 May 1791

From James Sullivan

Boston, 6 May 1791. Recommends for consular appointment Samuel Cooper Johonnot, grandson and only male descendant of “the late American Patriot Doctor Cooper.” Johonnot “has had his education in France … has read Law under my direction, and has been about three years at the bar. His conduct has added much to the partiallity I general[ly] feel for my pupils.” He has had a call to Demarara, and if the President intends to appoint a consul there or in the ports of Essequibo, Berbice, or Surinam, Sullivan will hold himself responsible for his conduct, “having the most unreserved confidence in his honor and integrity.”

RC (DLC: Washington Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 12 May 1791 and so recorded in SJL.

Johonnot’s grandfather, Samuel Cooper (“Silver-Tongued Sam”), was the famous clergyman and patriot of Boston who has been described in a none too sympathetic but very illuminating biographical sketch as having made a contribution to the Revolution “far greater than that of Paul Revere, perhaps as great as that of Sam Adams” (Clifford K. Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, xi [Boston, 1960], 189–213, at p. 211). Cooper sent Johonnot to France, but whether the primary object was the young man’s education or Cooper’s own ardent support of the French alliance is a question. Johonnot was graduated from Harvard in the class of 1783, the year of his grandfather’s death. He was appointed consul to Demarara on 2 Mch. 1793 (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, 1828 description ends , I, 135, 136).

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