Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Tobias Lear, 17 November 1792

From Tobias Lear

United States, Novr. 17th: 1792.

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to transmit to the Secretary of State the enclosed letters relative to appointing a Counsul for the United States to reside in India; and to request, that, if the Secretary on considering the subject sees no objection to such appointment, he would prepare a message to the Senate therefor.

Tobias Lear
Secretary to the President
of the United States

RC (DLC); inadvertently endorsed by TJ as received 15 Nov. 1792. PrC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); docketed by Lear. FC (Lb in same, SDC).

Washington’s appointment of Benjamin Joy to be consul in India was made at the behest of the Boston mercantile community. On 1 Nov. 1792 Thomas Russell, Stephen Higginson, and seven other Boston merchants wrote to Senator George Cabot urging that a consul be appointed in order to aid, protect, and facilitate America’s growing trade with India and recommending the appointment of Joy, who was shortly to depart for that country (DNA: RG 59, MLR; endorsed by Lear: “Note, there are about 40 Vessels trading beyond the Cape of Good Hope from the State of Massachusetts”). Cabot, who had received the letter along with “several others of similar import from individual Gentlemen,” submitted it to Washington and urged the President to approve the merchants’ recommendations (Cabot to Washington, 16 Nov. 1792, same). Benjamin Lincoln, Washington’s old comrade in arms, also supported Joy’s appointment (Lincoln to Washington, 9 Nov. 1792, DLC: Washington Papers, Applications for Office). The first two letters were definitely among the enclosed letters sent by Lear, but it is not clear that Lincoln’s was also included.

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