From George Washington
Philadelphia 7th. July 1795
My dear Sir,
Your letter of yesterday is this moment received.1 Not a line from Mr Pinckney. I fancy he left London for Madrid about the 8th. or 10th. of May.2 Nor has the government any thing but Newspaper accounts of the order you allude to.3
Yours ever & Affectly
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Letter not found.
2. On November 24, 1794, Thomas Pinckney, who had been United States Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain since 1791, was appointed Envoy Extraordinary to Spain (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 164). Pinckney’s mission was “for the purpose of negotiating of and concerning the navigation of the river Mississippi, and such other matters relative to the confines of their territories, and the intercourse to be had thereon, as the mutual interests and general harmony of neighboring and friendly nations require, should be precisely adjusted and regulated; and of and concerning the general commerce between the said United States and the kingdoms and dominions of his said Catholic Majesty” (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 163).
3. This is a reference to the British order in council of April 25, 1795, which reads: “Secret Instruction to the Commanders of all Our Ships of War, Given at Our Court at St. James’s the Twenty-fifth day of April, 1795, in the Thirty-fifth Year of our Reign. George R
“Whereas Information has been received that the Persons exercising the Powers of Government in France have made large Purchases of Corn and other Provisions, for the Purpose of being imported into France, under feigned Names and Destinations, in order to supply the Want of Corn and Provisions now existing in that Country, and to enable them to provide for the Support of their Military and Naval Forces in the Prosecution of the unjust War which they are carrying on against Us and Our Allies:
“We, judging it necessary to counteract the said Purposes, and to provide for the Interests of Our People in this Respect, have thought fit to direct that the Commanders of Our Ships of War should, ’till Our further Order herein, detain all Ships loaden with Corn, or other Provisions, that shall be bound to France, or to the Ports occupied by the Armies of France, or which they shall have reason to believe are proceeding to France, or to the Ports occupied by the Armies of France, and which they shall also have reason to believe are laden on Account of the said Persons or of any other [of] His Majesty’s Enemies; and that they should bring all such Ships into such Ports of Great Britain as shall be prescribed to them by Instruction from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, in order to be there dealt with as the Case shall appear to require.” (Bernard Mayo, ed., “Instructions to the British Ministers to the United States,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1936 [Washington, 1941], III, 97.)
On July 6, 1795, Edward Livingston wrote to Robert R. Livingston: “A vessel has very Appropriately arrived from England…. A passenger declares that he saw an Official order in London to all Privateers &c. to seize Neutral Ships carrying provisions to France which they again declared in a State of Siege” (ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City).