George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 22 June 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Phila. 22 June 1793

The Secretary at War having stated in a letter of yesterday’s date, that he was commanded by you, to request me to order a party of the Militia on board the ship William, now in this port as a prize to the French Privateer, Citizen Genet, for the purpose of keeping her in safe custody, until you have decided upon an allegation, that the ship was captured within the limits of the protection of the U.S.,1 I immediately complied with the request; and I have now the honor to inclose, for your information, a copy of my instructions to the Adj: Gen. of the militia of Pena.2 I am, with perfect respect Sir Yr Excys most obed. ⟨H. svt⟩3

T. M.

Df, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letter-Books.

1Given the sequence of events leading to Henry Knox’s letter, which has not been identified, Mifflin probably should have identified it as being written “today.” GW’s decision to order the seizure of the British ship William followed Thomas Jefferson’s receipt on 22 June of British minister George Hammond’s letter to him of 21 June protesting that the ship had been seized in American territorial waters and asking for restitution of the ship to its “rightful owners” (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 26:335–36). Jefferson submitted this letter to GW on 22 June (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 187). On that decision, see Cabinet Opinion, 12 July 1793.

2In a letter of 22 June, Mifflin instructed Adjutant General Josiah Harmar “immediately to make a draft of 25 men and proper officers from the militia of the City of Philadelphia, and place them on board the William, with instructions to keep her in safe custody” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99)

3GW forwarded this Mifflin letter and its enclosure to Knox on 23 June 1793.

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