Thomas Jefferson Papers

Chandler Price to Thomas Jefferson, 13 May 1812

From Chandler Price

Philada May 13. 1812


Nothing but a friendly motive on my part towards Mr Alexander Stewart. and a firm belief from some circumstances within my knowledge that you take a friendly interest in the Welfare of that Gentleman would induce me to take this great liberty

Mr Stewart has been since about two years settled in Kingston Jamaica. where he is conducting Merchantile business of considerable magnitude under the auspices of some of the most respectable Merchants of this City and I have reason to believe is doing well for himself—His conduct has procured him many friends & the approbation of all for whom he has done business. and the Pride of his friends who recommended him is not a little gratified by his good conduct & uncommon merit—

My particular object in the liberty I thus take is to Beg your Influence with the President of the United States to procure for Mr Stewart the American Consulship for Kingston Jamaica.

Mr Stewart tho not Born in this Country came to it very Young and is legally and in Principle truely American he served his apprenticeship in the Counting House of Morgan & Price (Mr Benjamin Morgan of New Orleans & myself) which no doubt had some tendency to fix his Political1 principles; already well enclined in favor of Democracy

Mr Savage is now the American Consul. & altho he holds the Commission, the situation may be considered as vacated, as Mr Savage has retired much in debt to a plantation in the Country. and is considered as failed: the Consulship is I am told totally neglected & left to take care of itself—

Mr Stewart is in all respects fit for the station & if he should be appointed to it will I have no doubt do Credit to himself & honor to his Country—I shall be much gratified Sir by a line in reply & beg leave to subscribe myself With much respect Sir Your Obed servt

Chand. Price

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 13 May; endorsed by TJ as received 22 May 1812 and so recorded in SJL; endorsed by a State Department clerk as a letter that “recommends Alexander Stewart as Consul at Kingston.” Enclosed in TJ to James Madison, 25 May 1812.

Chandler Price (ca. 1765–1827), merchant, established with Benjamin Morgan the firm of Morgan & Price in Philadelphia by 1794. They dissolved the partnership seven years later, about the time that Morgan moved to New Orleans, but they continued to collaborate in the mercantile trade from their respective ports. Price served as a director of the Bank of Pennsylvania and the Second Bank of the United States and as a manager of the Germantown and Perkiomen Turnpike Road Company. In 1818 and 1821 respectively he became president of the American Fire Insurance Company and the United States Insurance Company. He formed C. Price & Morgan, a mercantile business, with Thomas A. Morgan in 1819. Price occasionally helped procure wine for TJ and recommended men to him for political preferment. He engaged in charitable activities through the Welsh Society and the Philadelphia Dispensary, for the Medical Relief of the Poor (James Hardie, The Philadelphia Directory and Register [Philadelphia, 1794], 108, 124; Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 9 Oct. 1801; Benjamin Morgan to Price, 11–31 Aug. 1803 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–09]; Price to TJ, 30 Nov. 1804 [MHi]; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory for 1810 [Philadelphia, 1810], xxviii, xlii, 225; John Adems Paxton, The Philadelphia Directory and Register, for 1818 [Philadelphia, 1818]; Paxton, The Philadelphia Directory and Register, for 1819 [Philadelphia, 1819]; The Philadelphia Directory and Register, for 1821 [Philadelphia, 1821]; Philadelphia Souvenir, 2 Jan. 1828; Edward L. Clark, A Record of the Inscriptions on the Tablets and Grave-Stones in the Burial-Grounds of Christ Church, Philadelphia [1864], 424).

alexander stewart served in Price’s countinghouse in Philadelphia for more than a decade starting in about 1795. He was then an accountant in that city from 1805 to about 1808. Having unsuccessfully sought a consular position in Cuba, Stewart moved about 1810 to Kingston, Jamaica, where he opened a mercantile business. During the War of 1812 he served as agent for American prisoners in Kingston by appointment of William Henry savage, the United States agent for commerce and seamen. By 1817 Stewart had returned to Philadelphia as a merchant and later as a supercargo. He described himself as a gentleman, 1823–24, before resuming work as an accountant and then as secretary to the United States Insurance Company at least until early in the 1830s, and by 1837 he again served as an accountant (Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory for 1805 [Philadelphia, 1805]; Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory for 1808 [Philadelphia, 1808]; Stewart’s files in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–25; Savage to James Monroe, 1 Dec. 1812 [DNA: RG 59, CD, Kingston]; Robinson’s Original Annual Directory for 1817 [Philadelphia, 1817], 415; Desilver’s Philadelphia Directory and Stranger’s Guide, 1830 [1830], 186; Desilver’s Philadelphia Directory and Stranger’s Guide, for 1837 [1837], 228).

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Jamaica; U.S. consulship at search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; mercantile business of search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Price, Chandler; identified search
  • Price, Chandler; letters from search
  • Price, Chandler; recommends A. Stewart search
  • Savage, William Henry; as U.S. agent at Jamaica search
  • Stewart, Alexander; identified search
  • Stewart, Alexander; recommended by C. Price search
  • Stewart, Alexander; seeks consular appointment search