From Josef Ignacio de Viar and Josef de Jaudenes
Philadelphia 26. de Junio de 1792.
Mui señor nuestro
Por las copias del Memorial presentadas al Governador de San Agustin de la Florida, Carta que este escriviò al del Estado de Georgia, y su Respuesta, que tuvimos la honrra de pasar à manos de V.S. con la presente se hallarà V.S. enterado del Robo de Cinco Esclavos pertenecientes à Juan Blackwood (Vasallo Español en aquella provincia) que cometieron Thomas Harrison, David Rees y Guillermo Erwin vezinos del Estado de Georgia, y las diligencias practicadas por el Govierno de San Agustin.
La demora que se està experimentando en la restitucion de los precitados Esclavos, y el haverse pasado mas de Seis meses sin recivirse aviso alguno en aquel Govierno de San Agustin, a pesar de lo que prometiò el Governador de Georgia, juntamente con la suma falta, que hacen los Esclavos al Memorialista Dueño de ellos, nos induce a participarlo a V.S. para que con su acostumbrada actividad, y notoria buena disposicion, se sirba tomar aquellos pasos que V.S. juzgase conducentes, y produzcan la deseada Restitucion, Reparacion prudente de los perjuicios causados y el Castigo, que prescriven las Leyes à los Delinquentes.
No dudamos que se efectarà todo asi como que ès el medio, no solo de precaver semejantes atentados en lo venidero, sino de consolidar la mexor harmonia, buena correspondencia, à cuia conservacion se hallan tan bien dispuestas dos Naciones.
Dios guarde à V.S. los muchos años que deseamos. BIMo. de V.S. Sus mas atentos, y obedientes Servidores
Josef Ignacio de Viar
Josef de Jaudenes
Philadelphia 26 June 1792
Our very dear Sir
By the copies of the petition presented to the Governor of San Agustin de la Florida, a letter which he wrote to the Governor of the State of Georgia, and its answer, which we had the honour of sending to you, you will with this communication, be informed of the robbery of five slaves belonging to John Blackwood (a Spanish subject in that Province) committed by Thomas Harrison, David Rees, and William Erwin, inhabitants of the State of Georgia, and also of the measures taken by the Government of San Agustin.
The delay being experienced in the restitution of the aforesaid slaves and the passage of more than six months without any information being received by the Government of San Agustin, notwithstanding what the Governor of Georgia had promised, together with the great need for the slaves felt by the petitioner, their owner, obliges us to communicate these things to you so that with your customary dispatch and well known good intentions those measures may be taken which you shall judge appropriate, and that achieve the desired restitution, a reasonable compensation for the damages caused, and the punishment the laws prescribe for offenders.
We have no doubt that all this will be done, since it is the means not only of preventing in the future similar attempts, but likewise of consolidating the harmony and good relations, to the preservation of which our two nations are so much disposed. May God preserve you for the many years we desire for you. Your most attentive and obedient servants who kiss your hand.
Josef Ignacio de Viar
Josef de Jaudenes
RC (DNA: RG 59, NL); in Viar’s hand, signed by Viar and Jaudenes; at foot of text: “Sor. Dn. Thomas Jefferson Secretario de Estado, y de los Negocios Extranjeros”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 June 1792 and so recorded in SJL. Tr (AHN: Papeles de Estado, legajo 3894 bis); in Jaudenes’s hand, attested by Jaudenes and Viar. Tr (DNA: RG 59, NL); English translation in a clerk’s hand with corrections by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to Washington, 3 July 1792 (see note to TJ to Viar and Jaudenes of the same date).
Only two of the three documents mentioned by Viar and Jaudenes have been found. The first was a 30 Dec. 1791 letter from Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada to Governor Edward Telfair demanding the return of five slaves stolen from John Blackwood of East Florida in October 1791 by Thomas Harrison and two other Georgians to satisfy a debt Blackwood owed to Harrison. The second was a 24 Jan. 1792 reply from Telfair to Quesada stating that he had taken steps to have Harrison and his accomplices tried in Georgia for the theft of Blackwood’s slaves and that the results of the trial would be communicated to Quesada (Trs in DNA: RG 59, NL; in Spanish and English, the former attested by Jaudenes and Viar). Blackwood’s petition to Quesada has not been found, nor is it known precisely when Viar and Jaudenes transmitted the three documents to TJ. For TJ’s considered response to the problem of law enforcement raised by this case, see Opinion on Offenses against the Law of Nations, 3 Dec. 1792.