George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 19 August 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Philadelphia August 19th 1793


It has just been reported to me that the Schooner Jane, Benjamin Stammers Master—a prize to the Little Democrat was yesterday stopp’d at Mud-island; where she will be detained till your instructions are received for restoring her to the owners at the time of her capture.1 I am with perfect respect Sir Your most obedient Servant

Tho. Mifflin.

LS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; Df, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letter-Books.

1For GW’s receipt of Mifflin’s letter on 19 Aug., see JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 224. According to a letter from Richard Söderström, the Swedish consul at Philadelphia, to Thomas Jefferson of 19 Aug., the schooner Jane was commanded by Benjamin Stanners and owned by Richard Barden, both of the island of Saint-Barthélemy, West Indies, and subjects of the King of Sweden. The ship was “Captured about 5. Leagues from Land” on Saturday, 17 Aug., while en route to the island of Faial in the Azores with its cargo of “Lumber, Flour, Bees wax and Sugar.” In addition, the privateer seized “three Negro Slaves the Property of the Said Barden and two White Sailors” of unknown nationality. In his reply to Söderström of 20 Aug., Jefferson wrote: “The transaction in question having taken place between nations at peace with each other its discussion belongs to the judiciary department. The Court of Admiralty has full power to give all the redress which by the law of Nations may be given in such cases. … the Executive of the United States will on its part be careful to extend to the vessels and subjects of his Swedish Majesty while in their Ports the full protection of their laws” (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 , 26:726–27, 733).

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