Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Reuben Harvey, 3 June 1803

From Reuben Harvey

Cork 3rd. June 1803

Respected Friend

Altho’ I have retired from business these several Years, being advanced in Age, I am notwithstanding induced through a long continued regard for the United States of America, to represent to thee the great injury which your Commerce now suffers on this Coast by the pressing of Men from every American Vessel that is met by British Ships of War. In general there are two or more taken, out of each Vessel, & the Juno from Norfolk—which touch’d here on her Voyage to Liverpool lost five—As I am ignorant of the Treatys existing between Great Britain & America I cannot pretend to say by what authority the British Officers press your Seamen, therefore shall not presume to make any remarks on the occasion more than to say that your Trade will suffer much if something be not settled by the respective Governments of both Countrys, with respect to what Men shall be liable to be impress’d from American Ships—The American Consul at London has been recently acquainted with the above mention’d Matter. I had the favour of receiving the thanks of Congress dated in June 1783 for my attention & service to American Prisoners in that War

With sincere esteem I remain thy real friend

Reuben Harvey Senr.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esqr. President of Congress”; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Aug. and so recorded in SJL.

During the American Revolution, Quaker merchant Reuben Harvey (1734–1808) worked diligently for the relief of distressed American prisoners held at Kinsale, Ireland. His efforts earned him the thanks of George Washington and Congress. When Washington was president, Harvey sent him information detailing abuses committed by British authorities against American vessels and their crews at Cork (Sheldon S. Cohen, British Supporters of the American Revolution, 1775–1783: The Role of the ‘Middling-level’ Activists [Woodbridge, Eng., 2004], 83–105; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser. description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, Edward C. Lengel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1983- , 57 vols., Confed. Ser., 1992–97, 6 vols., Pres. Ser., 1987- , 16 vols., Ret. Ser., 1998–99, 4 vols., Rev. War Ser., 1985- , 21 vols. description ends , 15:316–19, 610–11).

american consul at london: George W. Erving.

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