Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John M. Pintard, 15 October 1793

From John M. Pintard

Madeira, 15 Oct. 1793. He encloses copies of his 8 and 9 Oct. letters. Since then he has conferred with the governor, the result of which is in the enclosed statement No. 3. He also encloses paper No. 1, his letter to Captain Goddard, and No. 2, Goddard’s certified deposition, copies of all three of which he transmitted to Humphreys. He has always endeavored to get on well with the government of this country, but the governor is a stubborn man who will go to any length to revenge himself on anyone he takes a dislike to. Although he is vulnerable to injury by the governor in his commercial capacity, that will never prevent him from carrying out his consular duties. P.S. He will attend to TJ’s 21 Mch. circular, which he received via Lisbon a few days ago.

Tr (DNA: RG 59, CD); 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, unsigned; at head of text: “The Honble. Thomas Jefferson Esqr.”; at foot of text: “(Copy).” Recorded in SJL as received 19 Dec. 1793. Enclosures: (1) Pintard to Captain Lemuel Goddard, Funchal, 5 Oct. 1793, and Goddard to Pintard, n.d., the first requesting Goddard to send any letters for him by the visit boat or by the first boat coming ashore, the second stating that Goddard was sending six letters by the bearer and hoping to see Pintard soon, and giving his compliments to Mrs. Pintard (Trs in same; at foot of texts: “Copy”; with notation on verso of the first: “No. 1”). (2) Deposition by Goddard, Funchal, 8 Oct. 1793, stating, in his capacity as commander of the American brigantine Washington of Baltimore, which had arrived from Lisbon and anchored off Funchal on 5 Oct. 1793, that after having sent his boat ashore to request two boats to tow him in, the boat returned with a letter from the merchant to whom he was addressed as well as a letter from Pintard requesting any letters addressed to him to be sent ashore by the first boat; that upon being approached by a large boat and a small boat, he sent ashore by the latter a bundle of letters directed to Charles Alder & Company, all the letters directed to Murdock, Fearns & Company, and six letters directed to Pintard, three of which Goddard had received from the American consul at Lisbon, who had requested him to take particular care of them because they dealt with consequential matters (Tr in same; at foot of text: “Copy”). (3) Statement by Pintard, n.d., affirming that last July, having been informed by Joseph Fenwick of heavy freight charges on American ships, he chartered a ship for Bordeaux, which the governor here refused to allow to sail until a vessel arrived from Lisbon that was daily expected; that in response to his question as to who would pay him demurrage and damages for the detention of a ship it was costing him £65 sterling a month to charter, the governor very laconically stated that he might get paid wherever he could; that in consequence of an application by David Humphreys, whom he had immediately notified of his plight, the Portuguese court issued orders to the governor to make full satisfaction to him, sending them by the Washington, Captain Goddard; that after these orders and various letters to him and to the mercantile firms mentioned in No. 4 had been sent ashore by boat, the governor placed him under house arrest for thirtyeight hours for receiving letters from the Lisbon vessel “before she was Vissited”—an action, despite his many years on Madeira, he had never realized was a crime and that he found extraordinary because the mercantile firms which had received letters from the same ship under the same circumstances had not been punished; that, according to the governor, the Portuguese government approved of his detention of the chartered vessel but ordered him to pay demurrage out of the royal coffers, an order which clearly mortified him; and that he left it to the United States government to decide whether the governor was justified in imprisoning him (MS in same; in Pintard’s hand). (4) Pintard to TJ, 8 and 9 Oct. 1793. Letter and enclosures enclosed in Pintard to TJ, 29 Oct. 1793.

TJ submitted this letter to the President on 19 Dec. 1793, and Washington returned it the same day (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 271).

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