Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Auldjo, 8 July 1791

From Thomas Auldjo

Cowes, 8 July 1791. Despite repeated applications, his commission not yet recognized and the under secretaries have given only “flimsy and foolish pretext” for the failure. He will continue to officiate to the limit of his power. Little political or commercial information to report. “American shipping meet no interruption in this port.” The only thing causing him trouble “is…your American Seamen calling themselves English” to get wages due or advances, which occurs every day. “Even seamen with passes as American’s from the Consul in London, have left their Ships here and gone on board men of war…to get their wages paid them… . I wish you could find a remedy for it, but I confess I think it will be a difficult point.” Encloses list of American ships in port there for preceding six months, with their cargoes, arranged in a manner he hopes will be approved.

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD); endorsed by TJ as received 23 Aug. 1791 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: “An Account of American Ships and vessels with their Cargoes at the Port of Cowes between 1st. January and 30th June 1791” (actually between 25 Apr. and 3 July). The matter was arranged in tabular form showing dates of arrival and departure, names of masters and owners, place of registry, tonnage, number of men, and cargoes. There were eight vessels in all, the smallest of 99 tons and the largest of 272, employing 69 men. All save one were freighting rice from South Carolina (3,180 barrels) and tobacco from Virginia (934 hogsheads). The exception was Abigail of Boston, bound from London for Georgia with “Bale Goods,” but windbound at Cowes (MS in DNA: RG 59, CD; dated at Cowes 30 June 1791 and signed by Auldjo). The form indicated that all of the cargoes save hers were destined for Cowes, but Minerva of Philadelphia, owned by Robert Morris and carrying 450 hogsheads of tobacco, entered Cowes 3 July and departed the same day for Havre de Grace, to which port her cargo was obviously destined.

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