To Josef Ignacio de Viar and Josef de Jaudenes
Philadelphia, June. 30th. 1792.
I have laid before the president of the United States the letter of May 10th. of Captain Henry Burbeck, commandant of the Fort of St: Tammany, to his Excellency the Governor of East Florida, with the other letters relating thereto, which you were pleased to put into my hands, and I have the honor to inform you that, the president having entirely disapproved of the expressions which Capt. Burbeck has permitted himself to use in the said letter to Governor Queseda, the Secretary at War, has by his instructions written to Capt: Burbeck the letter whereof I inclose you a copy: and Capt: Burbeck being no longer in the same command, a copy will be sent to his Successor, as an admonition that no conduct of this kind will be countenanced by the government of the United States. I hope that you will see, Gentlemen, in these proceedings, a proof of the respect entertained for the person and character of his Excellency Governor Queseda, and of the desire that the most friendly understanding should be kept up between the United States, and the neighboring Governments of Spain. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of perfect esteem and respect, Gentlemen, Your most Obedient, and most humble Servant,
PrC (DLC); in William Lambert’s hand; unsigned; at foot of text: “Don Joseph de Viar Don Joseph de Jaudenes Commissioners of his Catholic Majesty.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 360, DL). Tr (AHN: Papeles de Estado, legajo 3894 bis); in Viar’s hand, attested by Jaudenes and Viar. Tr (same); in Viar’s hand, attested by Jaudenes and Viar; in Spanish. Enclosure: Henry Knox to Henry Burbeck, 28 June 1792, reprimanding Burbeck, in the President’s name, for his “highly indecorous and improper” letter to Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada of East Florida and reminding him that the law of nations did not require the return of military deserters in the absence of an express agreement for that purpose (PrC of Tr in DLC, in a clerk’s hand; Tr in Lb in DNA: RG 360, DL). Knox had transmitted a copy of the letter in a brief note to TJ of 29 June 1792 (PrC of Tr in DLC, in a clerk’s hand, at foot of text: “The honorable Mr. Jefferson Secretary of State”; Tr in Lb in DNA: RG 360, DL; Trs in AHN: Papeles de Estado, legajo 3894 bis, in Viar’s hand, attested by Jaudenes and Viar, in English and Spanish).
On 10 May 1792 Captain Henry Burbeck, the commander of Fort St. Tammany on the St. Mary’s River in Georgia, wrote a letter to Governor Quesada of East Florida alleging that the governor protected American deserters. In his 25 May reply, Quesada promised that Burbeck’s offensive language would be brought to the President’s attention by Viar and Jaudenes and stated that though American deserters were not welcome in Spanish territory, they could not be surrendered without a convention for that purpose. Viar and Jaudenes evidently submitted extracts of these letters to TJ (PrCs of Trs in DLC, in TJ’s hand; PrCs of Trs in DLC, in a clerk’s hand; Trs in Lb in DNA: RG 360, DL). The other letters relating to this incident have not been found.