Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Pinckney, 10 April 1793

From Thomas Pinckney

London 10 April 1793

Dear Sir

I avail myself of the delay of the Ship James, by which I have already written, to send the news papers up to the present time as they contain intelligence of some importance.1 The Armament of this country both by sea and land continues with spirit. A divi[si]on of the dominions of France is talked of in which the French W. Indies will be again allotted to Great Britain.

I have no hope of obtaining at present any convention respecting Seamen as lord Grenville now says it is necessary for them to make enquiries as to some points in America which object is given in charge to Mr. Bond. The impressment on the present occasion has not been so detrimental to our trade as it was on former occasions, though several instances of hardship have occurred which I have endeavor’d to remedy but not always with success. I send herewith a box of coins and some letters received from Mr. Diggs of Virginia now at Birmingham. You will also receive herewith the Account of Mr. Johnson our Consul at this Port—there being some articles in it which altho’ they appeared to me to be equitable charges against the United States I did not think myself authorised by my instructions to pass I recommended it to him to receive payment for such part of the account as I could pass and to refer the other charges to you, he however preferred my sending the whole account to you, which you will be pleased to return with your instructions thereon. I have the honor to be with the utmost respect Dear Sir Your most faithful and obedient Servant

Thomas Pinckney

I send herewith the certificate of register of the Ship Philadelphia Packet lately lost in the European Seas. I took it at the Captains request to forward to the Secretary of the Treasury and gave the Captain a receipt for it: be pleased, Sir, to obtain a receipt from the Treasury for it on my account.

Mr. Philip Wilson continues here in the utmost distress. I have urged his claim with all my industry. The treasury have at length made him an offer of £2000 on the score of compassion which he declines, his demand being for more than £18,000. I wrote not long after my arrival that I had obtained a loan of £100 for him, but I have not heard whether that measure was approved or whether I should allow him any thing for support ’till his claim shall be finally admitted or rejected which I am given to understand will take up a long time.

RC (DNA: RG 59, DD); written partly in code; decoded interlinearly, with one anomaly, by George Taylor, Jr. (see note 1 below); at foot of second page: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 31 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. PrC (ScHi: Pinckney Family Papers); lacks decipherment. Tr (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DD); written en clair with encoded sentences in brackets. Enclosures: (1) Thomas Digges to TJ, 10 Mch. 1793. (2) Same to Pinckney, Birmingham, 21 Mch. 1793, advising that “a Book of medals and Coins,” intended for TJ and sent by coach from Birmingham eight days ago, would not arrive in London until this day or the day after; cautioning Pinckney to conceal from Matthew Boulton that specimens of the half pence minted by Obadiah Westwood were also being sent to TJ; and describing methods used in England to debase the Spanish dollar, as well as the coins and paper of other countries, that threatened to have adverse consequences for America. (3) Same to same, 6 Apr. 1793, stating that Boulton’s coining apparatus would be the best security against counterfeiting in the United States and recapitulating his account of counterfeiting practices in England (RCs in DLC; printed in Robert H. Elias and Eugene D. Finch, eds., Letters of Thomas Attwood Digges [1742–1821] [Columbia, S.C., 1982], 449–56). For the certificate of registry, see TJ to Pinckney, 4 June 1793, and note. Other enclosure not found.

For a discussion of the case of Philip Wilson, see TJ to Thomas McKean, 23 Dec. 1790, and note. TJ submitted this letter to the President on 1 June and the enclosures on 12 June 1793 (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 158–9, 169).

Pinckney also wrote a brief note to TJ on 15 Apr. 1793 in which he enclosed “the Gazette containing the Proclamation on our Intercourse and the Leyden Gazette received since my last” (RC in DNA: RG 59, DD, endorsed by TJ as received 5 June 1793 and so recorded in SJL; PrC in ScHi: Pinckney Family Papers; Tr in Lb in DNA: RG 59, DD). One of these enclosures was the 9–13 Apr. 1793 issue of the London Gazette, which contained the text of a royal proclamation of 10 Apr. setting forth the conditions under which United States ships could trade with Great Britain (DNA: RG 59, MLR; endorsed by Pinckney).

1The remainder of the paragraph is in unidentified code, the text being supplied from Taylor’s decipherment.

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