Thomas Jefferson Papers

Circular to Consuls and Vice-Consuls, 14 November 1792

Circular to Consuls and Vice-Consuls

Philadelphia. Nov. 14. 1792.


Purposing to retire from my office at the close of our first constitutional period of four years, which takes place on the 3d. of March next, I am to beg the favor of you to direct your future public letters to ‘the Secretary of State for the U.S of America at Philadelphia’ by title and not by name, until that of my successor shall be known to you, to avoid the delay, risk and expence of their travelling post 200 leagues.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand and signed by him after last additional paragraph noted below. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DCI); in a clerk’s hand; at head of text: “(Circular) To the Consuls & Vice Consuls of the United States”; at foot of text: “Paragraphs to be added to different persons.” At foot of text in PrC and FC (except addendum to Thomas Barclay omitted from the latter) are listed the eleven recipients to whom the circular was sent and the additional paragraphs incorporated into their letters immediately following the text of the circular. Except where noted, the paragraphs given below are taken from the PrC:

(1) To Thomas Auldjo, vice-consul for Poole: “After acknoleging the receipt of your favors of June 27. and Aug. 9. I have the honor to assure you of the very particular esteem & regard with which I am Sir.”

(2) To Thomas Barclay, consul at Morocco: “Your letters to the 10th. of Sep. are received. Before this reaches you, some papers will have been sent to you, which on the supposition that you were engaged in your original mission were directed to Admiral J. P. Jones, but in the event of his death were to be delivered to you. That event happened. The papers will have so fully possessed you of every thing relating to the subject, that I have nothing new to add, but the most pressing instances to lose no time in effecting the object. In the mean while the scene of your original mission will perhaps be cleared, so that you then return and accomplish that. I am with great & sincere esteem Dr Sir.” (An FC of the complete text of the letter is in Lb in DNA: RG 59, DCI.)

(3) To Stephen Cathalan, Jr., vice-consul at Marseilles: “Having in my letter of the 6th. inst. which accompanies this, acknoleged the receipt of your several favors to that date, I have now only to add assurances of the particular & high esteem and regard, of Sir.”

(4) To Edward Church, consul at Lisbon: “Your letters of May 16. 17. were duly received and communicated to the President. You will have seen that he had not waited for these explanations from yourself, having through other channels become satisfied that you merited the appointment contemplated, and it having been accordingly made and forwarded to you. I beg you to be assured of the sentiments of particular esteem & regard with which I have the honor to be Sir.”

(5) To Joseph Fenwick, consul at Bordeaux: “After acknoleging the receipt of your favors of Apr. 30. May 20. July 16. Aug. 16. and Sep. 1. I have the honour to assure you of the sentiments of esteem with which I am Sir.”

(6) To Joshua Johnson, consul at London: “After acknoleging the receipt of your favor of May 19. I have the honor to assure you of the sentiments of esteem and respect with which I am Sir your most obedt. & most humble servt” (RC in DNA: RG 59, CD; signature clipped; addressed: “Mr. Johnson”; endorsed in part by Johnson: “Recived 3 Jany. 1793 Answrd 24 August per the Pigou Capt Loxley”).

(7) To James Maury, consul at Liverpool: “After acknoleging the receipt of your favors of Apr. 30. May 8. and 27. I beg leave to assure you of the sentiments of sincere & affectionate esteem with which I am Dear Sir.”

(8) To Delamotte, vice-consul at Le Havre: “Your letters of June 5. and July 22. have been duly received. Letters also are received from Mr. Coffyn of Dunkirk, a native of America who had been appointed by Doctr. Franklin agent of the U.S. at that port, and has acted in that capacity ever since, and with approbation. He claims a continuance in his office on the grounds of possession and good conduct. These considerations will I am sure have their due weight with you, to whom the matter is submitted. I have the honor to be with great esteem, Sir.”

(9) To John M. Pintard, consul at Madeira: “I have to acknolege the receipt of your favors of May 11. 14. 15. and Sep. 11. and to express a perfect approbation of your conduct in the violation of our flag committed by the commanding officer of the Hyaena, to whose government due representations will be made thereon. In the mean time I wish you to assure the governor of Madeira that we are extremely sensible of his justice and friendship on that occasion, and shall on our part ever pay a reciprocal respect to the rights of his nation, and avail ourselves of every occasion of cultivating their friendship and interests. I have the honor to be with great esteem Sir.” Pintard’s letters of 11, 14 May and 11 Sep. 1792 have not been found. According to SJL, the first letter was received on 26 June and the third on 23 Oct. 1792. The second letter, possibly a continuation of the 11 May dispatch, is not recorded in SJL.

(10) To Hans Rodolph Saabÿe, consul at Copenhagen:Your favor of July 13. has been duly received, and we learn with due sensibility that the government of Denmark in dispensing with it’s ordinary rules, has received you as our consul and admitted you to the exercise of it’s functions. You will be safe in assuring them at all times that we are desirous to cultivate a reciprocation of favors, good offices and interests with them, and to encourage a mutual commerce on the most liberal grounds. Their subjects participate here of every right of the most favored nations, and we rely on their justice and friendship to recieve ours with the like favor. I have the honour to be with great consideration, Sir.”

(11) To C. W. F. Dumas, agent at The Hague:Your favors of Apr. 25. and June 28 [i.e. 8] have been duly received. In taking leave of you in my character of public servant, I beg permission to assure you that I shall always feel a lively concern in your interests and happiness, and continue to cherish the sentiments of esteem and attachment with which I have the honor to be Dear Sir Your most obedt. & most humble servt” (RC owned by Dr. O. O. Fisher, Detroit, Michigan, 1950).

Index Entries