Thomas Jefferson Papers

Carl L. Siegfried to Thomas Jefferson, 3 September 1810

From Carl L. Siegfried

Konigsberg in Prussia the 3d September 1810.


Since the death of our former American Consul Mr Jacob Muller the Americans my Countrymen arrived here more frequent, than ever they were here before and suffered very much for the want of a representative of their Nation. For that purpose I wrote twice to Mr John M Forbes in Hamburg even some American Captains and Supra Cargas drew up—as I heard afterwards—a petition to this Mr Forbes requesting to appoint me Vice Consul till another American Consul was lawfully constituted or I was confirmed in this Station. To the great surprize however of the respectable old mercantile house here of Mr George Hay who had been so polite as to forward the said petition to Mr Forbes confirming what they petitioned for, in having chosen besides a Citizen of their Country a Character worthy to be their Representative, also to the surprize of a number of Americans arriving afterwards daily hearing of what had happened and waiting impatiently for a decision; no answer from Mr Forbes arrived.

Humbly I beg therefore to lay this matter before You: I am a native of this Country—entered the United States of America 1793—was there of and on ten years— am American Citizen agreable to the Certificate of George Watson Esqr Judge of the Supreme Court of Georgia—was a privat Soldier in the Western Expedition from September till January 1794/5 in the Lancaster light Infantry Volontair Company against the Insurgents— am marry’d to an American Lady the former Miss Charlotte Frazer of Baltimore, where my mother in Law Mrs Towson is still alive—I am still an owner of some property in and near Baltimore and Fellspoint. In consequence therefore of the above reasons, as well as of my great attachment for and to the United States of America, I beg at present to be made here American General Consul for all the Prussian ports in the Baltic.

Natural propensity leads me to assure You that it will be my pride and great pleasure to me, to obey and execute any Orders or wishes of our remote Country, received by You Sir, or any lawfull Authority with the utmost secrecy or in the manner prescribed, and I flatter myself You’ll have the kindness to favour me soon with an answer

With the greatest deference and respect I have the honour to subscribe myself

Sir Yr most Obed humble Servt

C. L. Siegfried

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Siegfried; at foot of text: “The honorable Thomas Jefferson Esqr President of the United States of America residing at Washington”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 Mar. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in TJ to James Madison, 8 Mar. 1811.

Carl Ludwig Siegfried was a native of Prussia who lived in the United States nearly a decade, served in the army formed to quell the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, became an American citizen, and apparently anglicized his name to Charles Lewis Siegfried before returning to Brandenburg in Prussia (Baltimore Co. Court, Chancery Papers, cases 4824 [1806] and C511 [1821]).

On 26 Jan. and 6 Mar. 1810 Siegfried wrote the United States consul at Hamburg, John M. forbes, asking to be appointed consul for all of Prussia. Siegfried reported in the former letter that “we have had already in the Course of a few months several Americans here with there Vessels direct from America.” An 18 May 1810 petition to Forbes from American ship captains in Königsberg stated the need for a consul in that port, where direct trade had begun the previous year and was now “pretty brisk.” Five days after writing this letter, Siegfried realized that TJ was no longer president and enclosed Secretary of State Robert Smith an identical 3 Sept. 1810 letter addressed to James Madison (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17).

Index Entries

  • Forbes, John M. search
  • Hay, George; mentioned search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Muller, Jacob search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Prussia; U.S. consuls at search
  • Siegfried, Carl Ludwig (Charles Lewis); identified search
  • Siegfried, Carl Ludwig (Charles Lewis); letters from search
  • Siegfried, Carl Ludwig (Charles Lewis); seeks appointment search
  • Siegfried, Charlotte Frazer (Carl Ludwig Siegfried’s wife) search
  • Smith, Robert; secretary of state search
  • Watson, George search