Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Rodolph Vall-Travers, 29 March 1793

From Rodolph Vall-Travers

Rotterdam, Haring’s Vliet, in Lodgs. at the Widows Hamilton & Habercrafft; Friday March 29th. 1793.” He requests TJ to take care of “the various Contents of the inclosed Letters and Dispatches” addressed to the President.

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); 1 p.; endorsed by TJ as received 1 July 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Vall-Travers to George Washington, Rotterdam, 16 Mch. 1793, with two postscripts of 29 Mch. 1793, describing his intercessions with various Dutch authorities to secure the release of eight American ships detained in the Netherlands as a result of a general trade embargo begun on 22 Feb. 1793 in consequence of the war with France, one of which (the Hope) was to have borne this letter, announcing (in the first postscript to the Dupl) that the States General had decided to detain foreign ships under the embargo for no longer than thirty-five days, and citing (in the second longer postscript) the detention of these ships in the Netherlands as an example of the need for the appointment of a consul general or other representative of the United States in that country, offering to serve in various capacities, and describing recent diplomatic and military developments in Europe (RC in same, lacking first postscript of 29 Mch. 1793 but containing elements of it in body of text; Dupl, with some variations in wording and containing two postscripts of 29 Mch. 1793, the second undated; long postscript to both texts filed with Vall-Travers to TJ above). (2) Petition of American sea captains to the States General, Rotterdam, 3 Mch. 1793, and Amsterdam, 6 Mch. 1793, protesting the detention of three American ships at Rotterdam and five at Amsterdam under a Dutch trade embargo as a violation of the 1782 treaty of amity and commerce with the United States (Tr in same; in Vall-Travers’s hand, signed by twelve petitioners, including Herman Hend Damen on behalf of two of the original eight sea captains and three other American sea captains whose ships arrived later). (3) Vall-Travers to Van Son, Procurator at The Hague, Rotterdam, 8 Mch. 1793, requesting the release of the five American ships at Amsterdam (Tr in same; in French; in Vall-Travers’s hand). (4) Van Son to Vall-Travers, The Hague, 12 Mch. 1793, reporting that the States General had provisionally declined to release these five American ships (Tr in same; in French). (5) Van Son to the States General, [ca. 12 Mch.] 1793, reciting a request by Captain Miller that the embargo be lifted on the Hope so that he can sail from Rotterdam for Pennsylvania (Tr in same; in Dutch). (6) Extract from the Register of Resolutions of the States General, 14 Mch. 1793, stating that the Hope will be provisionally included in the Dutch embargo and referring documents relating to this matter to the Dutch minister in the United States so that he can justify this embargo (Trs in same; in Dutch, French, and English, the last in Vall-Travers’s hand). (7) Queries by Vall-Travers respecting the 1782 Dutch treaty of amity and commerce with the United States, neutral rights, and the Dutch trade embargo, Rotterdam, 26 Mch. 1793 (MS in same, in Vall-Travers’s hand; Dupl in same, with variant heading, dated 27 Mch. 1793). See also F. P. Van Berckel to TJ, 22 May 1793, and TJ to Van Berckel, 29 May 1793.

On 2 Apr. 1793 Vall-Travers wrote TJ from Amsterdam advising that after the packet for the President which he directed to TJ and entrusted jointly to Captain James Miller, commander of the Philadelphia-bound Hope, and Captain Benson Forster, a passenger, left Rotterdam three days ago, he returned there to deliver the enclosed duplicate and a new Dutch regulation on contraband, and that if Dumas, Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard, or Van Berckel do not furnish an English translation of the latter, he will send one in his next letter (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; endorsed by TJ as received 17 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL).

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