Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Peter Kuhn, Jr., 5 November 1802

From Peter Kuhn, Jr.

Philad 5 Novr. 1802


Since my Arrival in Philadelphia I have determined on returning to Gibraltar earlier than I contemplated, when I had the honour of Seeing you, and expect to Sail in about ten days;—it will give me Much pleasure, in taking charge of any commands, that you may be pleased to commit to my Care for that quarter—

I am Sir With Much respect Your Most Obt Hle Svt

Peter Kuhn Junr

RC (DLC); at head of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson President of the United States of America”; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.

Peter Kuhn, Jr., son of a Philadelphia merchant, operated a commercial house in Gibraltar. In 1803, he expanded his business to Genoa and formed the partnership Kuhn, Green & Co., which on a few occasions filled TJ’s orders for items such as wine and macaroni. The president named Kuhn the American consul in Genoa in 1804, a post he retained until being arrested and exiled by the French in 1807 under suspicion of spying for the British. After returning to the U.S., he advertised for publication by subscription his treatise A System of Exchange Operations between the Principal Places of Europe, which advised American merchants on how best to negotiate currency exchange rates in Europe (Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 27 July 1808; 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 , 1:476–7; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1117, 1238; Peter Kuhn, Sr., to TJ, 6 Dec. 1803; Kuhn, Green & Co. to TJ, 24 Dec. 1803; Anna Kuhn to TJ, 2 Oct. 1807; John Armstrong to TJ, 28 Oct. 1807).

HAD THE HONOUR: Kuhn met with the president in Washington on 26 Oct. when he delivered five letters, which TJ recorded in SJL and connected by a brace with the notation “Kuhn P. junr. to be Consul at Gibraltar.” The letters were from Caspar Wistar, 15 Oct.; J. P. G. Muhlenberg, 18 Oct. (not found); Michael Leib, 19 Oct.; William Barton, 22 Oct.; and Thomas McKean, 22 Oct. (not found).

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