Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from David Humphreys, 23 September 1800

From David Humphreys

Madrid Sepr: 23d. 1800

Dear Sir,

After a long suspension of our correspondence, I take occasion of resuming it by enclosing to you a Prospectus for the publication of my works. To this measure I have been induced principally for the sake of inserting among the others a Poem on the death of Genl. Washington, of considerable length, in which I have paid the tribute of gratitude & have attempted to do whatever justice my talents would admit to the Memory of that most excellent Character.

Mr. Henry Preble, a respectable Citizen of the U.S., will have the honour of delivering this letter. I beg leave to recommend him to your favorable notice & good offices. He has for some time past performed the duties of Consul of the U.S. in this Capital (during the absence of Mr. Young) & of secretary to myself, very much to my satisfaction. He wishes to be named Consul of the U.S. for Cadiz whenever a vacancy may happen, and as I think him possessed of the qualities necessary for filling that place with credit to himself & utility to the Public, I should experience a real pleasure in his obtaining the appointment.

With Sentiments of great consideratn. & Esteem I am dear Sir Your Mo: Ot & Mo hble: Servt.

D. Humphreys

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. Thos. Jefferson, V. President of the U.S of America &c. &c. &c.”; endorsed by TJ as received 8 Jan. 1801 and so recorded in SJL.

Long suspension: TJ’s last letter to Humphreys that is extant is dated 3 Jan. 1794.

Publication of my works: Humphreys’s writings, The Miscellaneous Works of Colonel Humphreys, were first published in 1790. In 1800 he delivered his “Poem on the Death of General Washington” as a Fourth of July oration for Americans living in Madrid and included this poem in the 1804 edition of his works (Humphreys, The Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys. A Facsimile Reproduction with an Introduction by William K. Bottorff [New York, 1804; repr. Gainesville, Fla., 1968], 149–87; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 4449).

Henry Preble was appointed U.S. consul at Cadiz by John Adams but was not retained by TJ. A 22 Dec. 1801 entry from one of TJ’s lists of appointments reads: “Joseph Yznardi consul at Cadiz. restored vice Henry Preble a midnight nomination.” Relocating from Spain to France in 1801, Preble unsuccessfully sought appointments as U.S. commercial agent at Marseilles, Nantes, or Havre. In 1801 Preble also sailed to Italy with his wife and daughter hoping to open a mercantile house in Tuscany (George Henry Preble, Genealogical Sketch of the First Three Generations of Prebles in America [Boston, 1868], 265–6; List of Appointments, 5 Mch. 1801–23 Feb. 1809 in DLC: TJ Papers, 186:33096; Preble to TJ, 23 Oct. 1801 and 26 Aug. 1802 in DNA: RG 59, LAR).

Index Entries