Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Wood, 29 August 1793

From James Wood

In Council August 29th. 1793.


By a letter just received from Colonel Newton Commandant of the Norfolk Militia, the Executive are notified of the Arrival in Hampton Road, of a British ship of 74 Guns, with her Prize the Sans Culotte. The enclosed is a Copy of Colonel Newton’s letter and an Application from the British-Consul, that the ship be permitted to Water and take in Provisions. The Board have declined giving any instructions to Colonel Newton, doubts having arisen, whether the Case of the Sans Culotte from the peculiar situation in which she stands would come within the meaning of the 17th. Article of the Commercial Treaty with France. I have the honor to be with greatest respect &c.

James Wood

FC (Vi: Executive Letterbook); at head of text: “To the Secretary of State.” Recorded in SJL as received 6 Sep. 1793. Enclosures: (1) Thomas Newton, Jr., to the Governor of Virginia, Norfolk, [27] Aug. 1793, reporting that the British ship Orion of 74 guns has arrived at Hampton Roads seeking provisions and water, that she captured the privateer Sans Culotte, that more British warships are expected from the West Indies, that he encloses the consul’s letter and his response, and that instructions would be gladly received. (2) John Hamilton to Newton, 27 Aug. 1793, requesting that the British warship be permitted to obtain water and provisions and be accorded every assistance consistent with the Proclamation of Neutrality (printed in CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , vi, 500–1, which incorrectly dates the first enclosure; see Wood to Newton, 29 Aug. 1793, in Vi: Executive Letterbook).

17th. article of the commercial treaty with France: see note to Document II of a group of documents on the referral of neutrality questions to the Supreme Court, at 18 July 1793. The peculiar situation which led to doubts about the applicability of this clause to the Orion was the status of its prize, the Sans Culotte, as an illegally commissioned privateer officially banished from American ports (TJ to Edmond Charles Genet, 5 June 1793).

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