Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin H. Phillips, 7 June 1793

From Benjamin H. Phillips

Curaçao, 7 June 1793. He acknowledges receipt of TJ’s 20 Feb. letter with his consular commission and refers to the enclosed certificate for his ensuing conversation with the governor of the island. Last month an armed ship flying the flag of the States General brought into Aruba a Baltimore schooner, Robert Ross master, bound from Hispaniola to St. Thomas, and took from her 18 to 20 slaves and 2 boxes or trunks. The commander of the Dutch vessel claimed that the property was French. Ross reportedly has gone to St. Thomas and upon his return from Hispaniola intends to stop here, where the slaves have been brought. He shall pay attention to the instructions he has received and is grateful to the President for his appointment.

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD); 2 p.; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 July 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Certificate of Petrus Bernardus Van Starckenborgh, secretary of the States General in Curaçao, 4 June 1793, describing a 30 May 1793 meeting between Phillips and Governor Johannes Abrahamszoon de Veer during which the governor stated that he could allow no foreign consul to serve on the island without express permission from the States General and suggested that the American minister at The Hague request such permission for Phillips (MS in same, in Dutch, in a clerk’s hand, signed by Van Starckenborgh; Tr in same, in English). Letter enclosed in Tobias Lear to TJ, 15 July 1793.

TJ submitted this letter to the President on 11 July 1793 (Washington, Journal, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends 191).

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