Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Morton, 3 February 1801

From John Morton

Geo-Town, Tuesday-morning 3. feb. 1801.

Mr Morton’s respectful Compliments wait upon the V. President.

Mr. M. takes the Liberty of requesting that if the V. Presidt. has perused the Notes Mr. M. had the Honor to leave with him yesterday, he will do him the favor to return them by the bearer:—but, if the reading thereof has not been completed, M. Morton is also desirous that they may be retained for that purpose untill tomorrow.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 3 Feb. and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “(Consul at Hava.).”

John Morton of New York, a brother of prominent Federalist Col. Jacob Morton, was named consul for the port of Havana as of 29 June 1799. In the fall of 1800, after charges of self-interest and improper conduct surfaced against Morton, he returned to the U.S., first to Boston and then to Washington to explain and defend his actions. He had retained, he claimed, “the Confidence & favor of the President and his confidential officers” and desired “to satisfy the present administration” about his “character, & qualifications for the office which I am desirous of retaining” (John Morton to James Madison, 4 June 1801 [DNA: RG 59, Dispatches from U.S. Consuls in Havana]; JEP, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends 1:326; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 1:108, 263; Roy F. Nichols, “Trade Relations and the Establishment of the United States Consulates in Spanish America, 1779–1809,” Hispanic American Historical Review, 13 [1933], 300–301).

Index Entries