Thomas Jefferson Papers

Note on the Subject of Vacant Consulships, 22 December 1791

Note on the Subject of Vacant Consulships

Lisbon. Candidates. Edward Church. His case is known to the President. John Telles of Philadelphia. His papers inclosed. Samuel Harrison. See Colo. Humphrey’s lre. to the President. John Cowper. (Virginia) Recommended by Josiah Parker.

Cadiz. The former candidates not approved, and no new offer. It is very desireable we should have a consul there. Should Mr. Church not be appointed to Lisbon, he would be proper for Cadiz. There are good perquisites to the former; but I do not know that there are any to the latter.

Bristol. Elias Vanderhorst of So. Carolina, recommended by Majr. Butler. It is a port where we have a good deal of commerce, and as this is the first application for a Consulship for a Carolinian, and Vanderhorst is highly spoken of, I am of opinion it is expedient to nominate him.

When the President shall be pleased to fix on the persons for the above ports, a nomination shall be prepared with a description of their districts.

Th: Jefferson
Dec. 22. 1791.

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); addressed: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by Lear. PrC (DLC). FC (DNA: RG 59, SDC). Entry in SJPL reads: “[Nomination of Consu]ls.”

After reading this report Washington evidently asked TJ to prepare a message nominating Edward Church consul at Lisbon and Elias Vanderhorst consul at Bristol, a draft of which he completed on 24 Dec. 1791 (PrC in DLC). Washington delayed submitting these nominations to the Senate until 3 May 1792, whereupon that body approved both nominations after some debate over Church (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 121–2). Washington did not fill the consular vacancy at Cadiz until 20 Feb. 1793, when the Senate confirmed his nomination of Joseph Yznardi, “a native of Spain,” to serve there (same, i, 130–1).

John Telles’ unsuccessful quest for the Lisbon consulship is described in Editorial Note on consular problems, at 21 Feb. 1791. David Humphreys’ 12 May 1791 letter to Washington on behalf of Samuel Harrison is summarized at length in notes to Humphreys to TJ, 3 May 1791. Josiah Parker recommended John Cowper in a letter to TJ of 8 Aug. 1790.

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