George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 19 August 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Phil. 19 Aug. 1793


In consequence of the letter, which I addressed to the French Consul, respecting the Privateer, Citizen Genet and communicated to the Secretary at war, for your information on the 17th instant, I have recd two answers, copies of which I have the honor to lay before you.1

The allegations that were made of an extreme want of provision, on board that vessel, of her Leakage, and of the general bad state of her rigging, induced me to direct a survey, before I issued peremptory orders for compelling her to depart; and I now transmit a copy of the report of the surveyors, that you may exercise any discretion which you think proper on the subject.2

For my own part, I do not think it would be consistant with the tenor of your instructions of the 16 instant, to grant the indulgence of ⟨8⟩ days according to the Consul’s desire; and, therefore, notwiths[tanding] the report, I shall this morning issue an order for her departure in 24 hours; allowing her, during that time, to take in a reasonable supply of provisions.3 I am with perfect respect Sir Yr most obedt St &c.

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

1Mifflin’s letter to François Dupont of 17 Aug. announced the detention at Mud Island of the French privateer Citoyen Genet and asked the consul to assist in this vessel’s swift departure from U.S. waters in order to avoid the use of military force. The letter to Dupont and several other documents relating to the Citoyen Genet and the French prizes Hope and St. Alodia were enclosed in Mifflin’s letter to Henry Knox of 17 Aug. 1793 (see Knox to GW, 17 Aug., and note 1; see also JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 222). In a letter to Mifflin of 17 Aug., written in French, Dupont wrote that because the ship needed provisions, had torn sails, and leaked, it would require at least eight days to prepare for departure, and that it needed to dock at Philadelphia in order to make repairs and obtain supplies (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99). Dupont’s second reply to Mifflin of c.17 Aug. 1793 has not been identified.

2Mifflin appointed captains William Allen and John Justice to examine the Citoyen Genet. According to their report of 17 Aug., they found the ship “not fitt To procead to Sea at presant haveing Recieved two Shoot in her For mast her Bow sprit Sprung her Sails much wo⟨rn⟩ And the Hull appears to be very Leakey In so much that the people Refuses to Continue any Longer with her” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99).

3Mifflin’s order for the Citoyen Genet to depart within twenty-four hours was contained in his first letter to Dupont of 19 Aug. (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99). For GW’s submission of Mifflin’s letter and its enclosures to the cabinet later this date and for the cabinet’s opinion, see GW to Jefferson, 19 Aug., and note 3, and Mifflin to GW, 20 Aug. 1793, and note 1; JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 224.

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