Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Edmond Charles Genet, 30 June 1793

To Edmond Charles Genet

Philadelphia June 30. 1793


I have to acknolege the receipt of your favor of the 25th. inst. on the subject of vessels belonging to the enemies of France which have procured arms within our ports for their defence. Those from Charleston and Philadelphia have gone off before it was known to the government, and the former indeed in the first moments of the war, and before preventive1 measures could be taken in so distant a port. The day after my receipt of your letter the communications now inclosed from the governor of Maryland came to hand, and prevented our interference on the subject of the Trusty Capt. Hale, a vessel loaded with flour and lumber and bound to Barbadoes. You will perceive by these papers that the governor of Maryland had got information that she was buying guns, and had given orders for the examination of the fact, but that she got off before the officer could get on board, having2 cleared out three or four days before. It appears that she was of 300. tuns burthen and had mounted 4. small guns. The case of the Swallow is different from any which has yet been presented to the President. It shall be submitted to him on his return; and no doubt will meet his earliest attention and decision. I have the honor to be with sentiments of the most perfect esteem & respect Sir your most obedt. & most humble servt.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “The M. P. of France.” Tr (NNC: Gouverneur Morris Papers). Tr (DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess.). PrC (PRO: FO 97/1). FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). Tr (DLC: Genet Papers). Tr (AMAE: CPEU, xxxvii); in French. Tr (DLC: Genet Papers); in French; draft translation of preceding Tr; docketed by Genet. Enclosures: (1) Extract of Thomas Sim Lee to Henry Knox, In Council, Annapolis, 22 June 1793, stating that Nos. 2–3 will explain the first case calling for action since receipt of Knox’s communication on the outfitting of fighting vessels in their jurisdiction and will show that the ship escaped because of the unintended application of the officer to Mr. Ireland for the information desired, and promising to be better prepared in the future for similar occurrences expected at the same port. (2) Lee to the Baltimore Customs Collector, 20 June 1793, ordering him to investigate immediately the arming, loading, manning, and destination of the British ship consigned to Mr. Ireland in Baltimore, and whether the twelve pieces of ordnance it was reportedly mounting were intended for offensive or defensive purposes, so that the Council could decide whether to prevent its departure under the Proclamation of Neutrality until the President was acquainted with the circumstances. (3) Daniel Delozier, Deputy Customs Collector, to Lee, Baltimore, 21 June 1793, stating that in the absence of the collector and on the presumption that the ship in question was the Trusty, John Hall master, which arrived from Barbados on 1 Mch. and cleared for there on 17 June with a cargo of flour and lumber, he learned from Mr. Ireland that it mounted four small guns, came with a crew of twenty and had no more than seventeen when cleared, and was upwards of 300 tons; and that because of a vague report differing from this account he decided to examine the ship itself, only to find it already under sail (PrCs of Trs in DLC: TJ Papers, in a clerk’s hand; Trs in NNC: Gouverneur Morris Papers; Trs in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess.; PrCs in PRO: FO 97/1; Trs in Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL; Trs in DLC: Genet Papers, except for No. 1; Trs in same, in French, except for No. 1). Letter and enclosures printed in Message description begins A Message of the President of the United States to Congress Relative to France and Great-Britain. Delivered December 5, 1793. With the Papers therein Referred to. To Which Are Added the French Originals. Published by Order of the House of Representatives, Philadelphia, 1793 description ends , 41–3. Letter and enclosures enclosed in Memorandum to George Washington, [11–13 July 1793], Tobias Lear to TJ, 15 July 1793, and TJ to Gouverneur Morris, 16 Aug. 1793.

1Word interlined.

2Manuscript: “have.” All other texts: “having.”

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