George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 2 September 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Philade. 2d Sept. 1793


I have the honor to lay before you, copies of several letters, which I have recd from the French Consul, respecting the approach of a very considerable body of armed Deserters, from the French Ships of War, now lying at New York and expressing his solicitude to obtain the aid of the Militia, in executing a Warrant, which the Chief Justice has issued, for apprehending them.1 With that view, as well as to preserve the public peace (obviously at this moment endangered) I have given orders (a copy of which is enclosed) for making a draft from the Militia;2 but being apprehensive, that this arrangement cannot be seasonably effected, I request your sanction for calling in the assistance of Capt. Sedan’s Company, to act, upon the request of the Civil authority, until the Militia are prepared to discharge the duty which the occasion requires.3 I am, with perfect respect Sir Your most obedt Hble Servt

Thos Mifflin

Df, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letterbooks.

1The enclosed letters from François Dupont, the French consul at Philadelphia, have not been identified, but Dupont discussed two of them in his letter to Genet of 2 Sept. (DLC: Genet Papers). One enclosed a letter from Genet to Dupont warning that thirty or forty of the sailors who had left the Jupiter were en route to Philadelphia, and requested Mifflin’s assistance in apprehending them. A second revised the estimate of the number of “deserters” upward to between 150 and 200 men.

2Mifflin wrote Pennsylvania Adjt. Gen. Josiah Harmar on this date directing him to “immediately make a draft from the City Brigade of the Light Infantry Companies, the Company of Light Horse, and a Company of Artillery, with four field pieces; and direct the whole detachment to parade on the height above Phillips’s old rope walk, between Second & First street, at 9 o’Clock tomorrow” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99).

3Cornelius Ryer Sedam (Suydam; 1759–1823), who served as an ensign in the 1st New Jersey regiment during the latter stages of the Revolutionary War, was appointed an ensign of U.S. infantry in 1786 and a lieutenant in 1790. His promotion to captain in March 1793 was backdated to April 1792. After leaving the army in November 1796, he settled in Ohio, where he became a farmer. No reply to this request has been identified.

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