To George Washington
Philadelphia Apr. 1. 1793.
The Report brought by a captain of a ship from Lisbon just in the moment of your departure that France had declared war against several nations, involved in that declaration almost every power of Europe. I therefore suspect that it has arisen from Kersaint’s proposition to declare war against every nation, which a pilot may not have distinguished from a declaration. Still I have thought it adviseable that Capt. Cutting should prefer going in an American ship. He therefore has written to know the precise day of sailing of two or three vessels bound from New York to London, and will go in the first. I am told that private letters from Gr. Britain render civil war a more probable thing there than would be concluded from the papers.—I received from Mr. Sargent a letter complaining of the absence of the judges from the N. Western territory; and inclosed a copy of it in a letter from myself on the subject to Judge Turner. I have not yet any answer. General Knox continues still too unwell to meet us on the subject of your circular letter. I have the honour to be with the most perfect respect & attachment Dear Sir Your most obedt: & most humble servt
RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); at foot of text: “The President of the U.S.”; endorsed by Washington. PrC (DLC). Tr (Lb in DNA: RG 59, SDC). Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy.
Kersaint’s proposition: a reference to the proposal made in the National Convention on 1 Jan. 1793 by Armand Guy Simon de Coetnempren, Comte de Kersaint, for the issuance of a general proclamation “à tous les peuples” stating that “dans une guerre des rois contre des hommes, nous ne pouvons connaître que des amis ou des ennemis” (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860: Recueil Complet des Débats Législatifs & Politiques des Chambres Françaises, Paris, 1862–, 222 vols. description ends , 1st ser., lvi, 114). An English translation of the lengthy speech by Kersaint containing this proposal was printed in the 23 and 27 Mch. 1793 issues of the National Gazette. The President’s circular letter to the Cabinet is printed above at 21 Mch. 1793.