Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Tobias Lear, 27 February 1793

From Tobias Lear

27t Feby 1793.

The President refers the enclosed letter and affidavit of Messrs. Brown & Francis to the Secretary of State, to report to the President what may appear to him proper to be done in the case stated.

Mr. Bourne, the Representative from Rhode Island, handed the enclosed to the President and will be ready to give the Secretary any further information, if required.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 27 Feb. 1793. Enclosures: (1) Brown & Francis to George Washington, Providence, 17 Feb. 1793, noting that supercargo Thomas Willing Francis had sold their American-built ship, the President Washington, in Calcutta in part to purchase the foreign-built Eutrusco (renamed the Illustrious President), which Francis dispatched to Ostend without American papers, and that before sending her from thence to China and back to the United States they wished the President to issue papers entitling her to fly the American flag for protection since federal customs officials were not authorized by law to do so (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR). (2) Affidavit of John Brown and John Francis, Providence, 17 Feb. 1793, swearing to the circumstances under which the Illustrious President was acquired for them in Calcutta, as well as her subsequent voyage to Ostend and intended voyage to China and back to the United States, and certifying that they were the sole owners of the ship (MS in same; notarized on verso by Samuel Chace, justice of the peace and notary public in Providence, 18 Feb. 1793).

Washington had received the letter and affidavit this day (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 71). No report from TJ to the President on this subject has been found.

Index Entries