Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Yznardi, Sr., 4 January 1801

From Joseph Yznardi, Sr.

Philadelphia 4th January 1801

Respected Sir,

I had this honor on the 21. of october last, since which I have continued a convalesents, depriving me the pleasure of personally paying you my respects, as I have long wished and continue to do so, when the inclemency of the season moderates in mean time I am happy to avail myself of the goodness of General Smith, now in this City, to express to you the satisfaction I have in the current report that you will be elected to the Presidency of this Government, for their public good and other Nations in amity with them.

The inclosed Copy manifests the charge that the Minister of State of HCM placed under my care from the disopinion arising to Mr. Yrujo, by Mr. Pickerings representation, in my view without proper foundation, for he certainly merits to the contrary, from the knowledge I now have of the motives that caused this misunderstanding, and my particular acquaintance with this Gentleman and his personal talents, and not having it in my power to reveal the Secrecy of my Commission, I have represented to HCM, what I thought in justice since my arrival to this Continent

I have communicated with Mr. Marshall, and delivered him a Copy of my Credential, assuring him also of the best wishes from HCM towards a good understanding with the US—and have referred him to the new Minister appointed Mr. Orosco with whom I am to confer on different points, which I think proper to communicate to you, for your private government, until the arrival of said Gentleman, Conceiving it my duty to do so, in Consequence of my said Commission, as I have wrote to Mr. Urquijo, HCM, Secretary of State of the tranquility good understanding &ca. existing in this Government towards that, as far as I could learn by my Conference with Mr. Marshall, from whom I expect an Official acknowledgment of my presentation, to manifest to HCM. Minister that I have complied with his wishes.

Having read the treaty concluded between this Country and France and hearing thro’ some public opinions that it possibly would not be ratified, which I shall feel for from the alliance existing between Spain and that Country, and fearing the disagreeable consequences that probably might be the result, desirous to see in Amity the three Nations, that in a body could defend their just rights—the general benefit of which, If I possessed a public power I think I could easily explain: I hope for your Excuse touching on this subject while I have the honor to be with Great respect and veneration

Sir Your most obedient and very humble Servant

Josef Yznardy

RC (DLC); in an unidentified hand, signed by Yznardi; at foot of text: “Rt. Honble Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ, on enclosure, as received 8 Jan. 1801 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Mariano Luis de Urquijo to Yznardi, 13 Jan. 1800, noting that Spain wished to maintain good harmony with the United States and authorizing Yznardi to assure the government that any difficulties would be resolved “on the best terms of friendship”; to obtain better intelligence from the United States, as had previously been the case through David Humphreys, the Spanish government was sending a person who would “expressly carry proper instructions, more Enlarged” (Tr in DLC in TJ Papers, 106:18128–9; in Spanish with English translation, both in the same hand as the letter above).

Yznardi had acted as deputy to his son, who received the appointment as U.S. consul at Cadiz in 1793 (Vol. 27:60n). The letter of the 21st of October last was probably one of October 1800 recorded in SJL as received from Philadelphia on 3 Nov. along with another from Yznardi dated 1 Oct.; neither letter has been found. On 22 Sep. TJ acknowledged receipt of Yznardi’s communication of 20 Aug.—probably a letter, not found, recorded in SJL as written 24 Aug. and received from Baltimore on 5 Sep.—and noted that he had received no other correspondence from him since a letter of 5 Sep. 1799 that he had received when he was about to leave Philadelphia—again, not found but recorded in SJL as received from Cadiz on 14 May 1800. TJ assured Yznardi that the charges against him in the newspapers had made no impression, for rumors in the press merited little confidence (Tr in AHN: Papeles de Estado, Legajo 3891 bis, expediente 1, no. 109, in Spanish, possibly only an extract, recipient identified as “J.Y.”; Miguel Gómez del Campillo, comp., Relaciones Diplomáticas entre España y los Estados Unidos, 2 vols. [Madrid, 1944–46], 1:121–2; 2:490). Yznardi had come to the United States to answer charges made by several people, including Joseph Israel, master of the Trial, and John M. Pintard, U.S. consul at Madeira, who owned the vessel, that he had failed to protect the rights of American ships at Cadiz. Timothy Pickering wrote to John Marshall in Yznardi’s defense, saying that American captains were “too apt to expect & demand unreasonable attentions and indulgences” and noting that any consul resisting “their demands, would not fail to incur their displeasure” (Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, Chapel Hill, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 6:55–6; Yznardi to John Marshall, 10 Nov. 1800, enclosing “Vindication to the charges,” in DNA: RG 59, CD; see also Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 3267, a printed set of documents that TJ catalogued for his library as Yznardi’s “Letter in vindication of his conduct as pro-consul at Cadiz,” p. 23; Vol. 27:60n).

Yznardi had previously sent the secretary of state a copy of the letter from Urquijo, who was Spain’s minister of state for foreign affairs until late in 1800. On 27 Aug. Marshall forwarded it to President Adams with the observation that it “merits some attention. The conduct of the spanish government towards that of the United States has furnished cause for complaints much more serious & extensive than have ever been made. To me it seems that compensation for every American vessel condemnd by the french consular courts in the dominions of spain is justly demandable from the spanish government & that it is not yet too late to make the demand” (Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, Chapel Hill, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , 4:247–8; Germán Bleiberg, ed., Diccionario de Historia de España, 2d ed., 3 vols. [1968–69], 3:851–2; Salvador Bermúdez de Castro y O’Lawlor, Marqués de Lema, Antecedentes Políticos y Diplomáticos de los Sucesos de 1808, 2d ed. [Madrid, 1912], 13).

HCM: His Catholic Majesty. For the disagreement between Spanish diplomat Carlos Fernando Martínez de Irujo (YRUJO) and Timothy Pickering over implementation of Pinckney’s Treaty, see Vol. 30:53–5. Adams requested Irujo’s recall, so in 1800 the Spanish government named Nicolás Blasco de Orozco as the new minister to the United States, appointing Irujo minister to the Cisalpine Republic. Irujo, however, elected to stay in America until his replacement arrived. That did not occur before TJ’s inauguration, and at TJ’s request the Spanish retained Irujo as minister to the U.S. (Samuel F. Bemis, Pinckney’s Treaty: America’s Advantage from Europe’s Distress, 1783–1800 [New Haven, 1960], 309n; Gómez del Campillo, Relaciones Diplomáticas, 1:120, 251; 2:481, 496; Vol. 30:194n; TJ to Yznardi, 26 Mch. 1801).

In Spanish the name of the Yznardi family, which was of Italian origin, is usually spelled Iznardi (sometimes Iznardi), and Joseph or Josef generally appears as José. However, for consistency despite variations in signatures and contemporary usage, we have continued to employ for both father and son the form used by the younger man in his earlier correspondence with TJ: Joseph Yznardi (Alberto García Carraffa and Arturo García Carraffa, Enciclopedia Heráldica y Genealógica Hispano-Americana, 88 vols. [Madrid, 1952–63], 46:175; Julián B. Ruiz Rivera, El Consulado de Cádiz: Matrícula de Comerciantes, 1730–1823 [Cadiz, 1988], 172; Gómez del Campillo, Relaciones Diplomáticas, 1:114–15; 2:501–2; Vol. 27:499).

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