George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Diego de Gardoqui, 24 July 1789

From Diego de Gardoqui

The House of Spain in New York 24th July 17891

The Underwritten “Encargado de Negocios” of his Catholic Majesty has the Honor to inform Senõr the President of the United States, that having obtained Permission from the King his Master to go to Spain, to attend for a Time to his domestic Affairs, he has concluded to avail himself of the present Leisure of his Station, by embracing the first good Opportunity that may offer.

He will shortly have the Satisfaction of presenting to Senõr the President his Secretary, on whom will devolve the Charge of such Affairs as may occur during his Absence;2 being persuaded that his Capacity and Conduct will promote the Continuance of the Harmony which happily subsists between the two Nations.3

Diego de Gardoqui.

Translation, DNA:PCC, item 97; ALS (in Spanish), DNA:PCC, item 97; LB, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 125; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters. John Jay wrote to GW on this day “herewith transmitting to the President of the United States, a Letter to him of this date from Mr Gardoqui, and a note for the President which was inclosed in it, together with translations of both” (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters). Gardoqui’s letter to John Jay, 24 July 1789, requesting Jay to send his communication to GW is in DNA:PCC, item 125.

Diego Maria de Gardoqui (1735–1798) was already well known to American diplomats when he came to the United States in 1785 to serve as Spain’s encargado de negocios. During the Revolutionary War his father’s firm, Gardoqui & Sons, acted as the chief agent in supplying secret aid and subsidies from Spain to the United States. Gardoqui was now nearing the end of his sometimes stormy diplomatic career in the United States, although his departure was delayed until 10 Oct. 1789, when he sailed for Bilbao on board the snow San Nicholas, accompanied by his son and one of his secretaries (Gazette of the United States [New York], 14 Oct. 1789).

1The Spanish embassy, which was noted for Gardoqui’s lavish entertainments, was located at no. 1 Broadway in the Kennedy House.

2Gardoqui may have been referring to Josef de Jaudenes who was a member of his staff and whom he may have intended to leave in charge. Jaudenes, however, returned to Spain with Gardoqui in October and did not return to the United States until early 1791. See Gardoqui to Jefferson, 1 Feb. 1791, in Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 19:238. In his absence the Spanish delegation’s business with the United States was conducted by Josef Ignacio de Viar (c.1743-1818), another member of Gardoqui’s diplomatic staff. After Jaudenes’s return the two men acted as Spain’s representatives in the United States. They had no official diplomatic rank but were usually referred to as chargés or encargados.

3The original Spanish version of the letter reads: “El infracscrito Plenipotenciario Encargado de Negocios de su Magestad Catholica tiene el honor de comunicar al Señor Presidente de los Estados Unidos, que haviendo obtenido permiso del Rey su Amo para yr a España, a atender, por una temporada, a sus asuntos domesticos, ha resuelto aprovechar el resto de la estacion actual por la primera oportunidad que ce proporcione.

“En breve tendra la satisfaccion de presentar al Señor Presidente el Secretario que ha de seguir con el encargo de lo que ocurra, durante su ausencia, persuadido de que su capazidad y conducta, contribuira a la continuacion de la armonia que felizmente subsiste entre las dos naciones” (DNA:PCC, item 97).

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