Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Stuart Kerr, 24 December 1801

From John Stuart Kerr

Manila 24th. Decr. 1801


I have the honour to enclose for your Excelly. a Letter from a Gentln. who remits for the Philosofical Society a box of Marine Curiostys, wch. I wish safe to hand & worthy your Excellys. approban.

This Gentleman has resided at Manila and the Provinces of this Island, thirty years, and in all his Occupations and Employments, always dedicated his Studys in Naturalena, amongst his ivestigationes in different places of this Archipeligo, particular observationes for more than twenty Years, touching the flux and reflux of the Sea round the Philipines and an object little known before this, altho many Navigators affirms that the Tides throughout the Archipeligo Oriental is irregular, haveing the contrary a constante order, altho difft. to that of Europe. he has compared his Observationes with all the informationes that he could obtain of the pacific Ocean: and no doubt that his discoverys touching these objects so interesting deserves the Attention & Applause of the Learned and Studious when they are Published,

and beg to have the honour to be Your Excellys. most Obt. Humbe. Servt.

John Stuart Kerr

RC (DLC); at head of text: “His Excelly. Thoms. Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Nov. 1802 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: José García Armenteros to TJ, 22 Dec. 1801, recorded in SJL as received from Manila on 22 Nov. 1802, but not found.

John Stuart Kerr of Philadelphia was appointed U.S. consul at Manila on 8 Jan. 1801 (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 , 1:366).

Letter from a Gentln.: José García Armenteros, secretary of the Manila branch of the Royal Philippine Company and a noted amateur naturalist (Andrew David and others, eds., The Malaspina Expedition, 1789–1794, Journal of the Voyage by Alejandro Malaspina, 2 vols. [London, 2001–3], 2:280, 299; María Lourdes Diaz-Trechuelo Spínola, La Real Compañia de Filipinas [Seville, 1965], 261).

The letters from Kerr and Armenteros were forwarded to TJ from Philadelphia by Robert Bridges, whose letter of 19 Nov. 1802 is recorded in SJL as received 22 Nov., but has not been found. On 23 Nov. 1802, TJ requested that Bridges deliver the box of shells from Armenteros to Caspar Wistar at the American Philosophical Society (PrC in DLC; at foot of text: “Mr. Robert Bridges”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso). The same day, TJ wrote Wistar, informing him to expect the shells and forwarding the letters from Bridges and Armenteros (PrC in DLC; at foot of text: “Doctr. Wistar”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso). The society acknowledged the donation of shells at their 3 Dec. 1802 meeting (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, 22, pt. 3 [1884], 329; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Transactions, 6 [1809], xix).

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