George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Sim Lee, 15 October 1793

From Thomas Sim Lee

Anna[po]lis Octr 15 1793


I do myself the honour to transmit to yr Excelly the copy of a letter from the British Vice Consul residing in Baltimore and of a deposition corroborative of those which accompanied my letter of the 11 Instant respecting the Brig Cunningham.1

I enclose likewise the copy of a letter from the same Gentleman on the subject of the Ship Roehampton captured by the french Privateer Industry.2

T. S. L.

Df, MdAA; LB, MdAA: Council Letterbook, 1787–1793.

1British Consul Edward Thornton’s letter to Lee of 13 Oct. enclosed a deposition from the pilot aboard the brig Conyngham and expressed his hope that the “facts, advanced in this and the former deposition,” would be “fully sufficient, to substantial the most important point, and consequently to procure the restoration of the vessel and compensation for its illegal capture and detention” (MdAA).

2Thornton’s other letter of 13 Oct. informed Lee that “The British ship Roehampton . . . was exposed to public sale and purchased by a citizen of the United States, immediately after the suit instituted on behalf of the original owners, had been dismissed from the district Court of the United States.” Thornton argued that “The exercise of this right of property, which can only be justly founded on the perfect lawfulness of the previous capture . . . must be considered as forming no bar to the claim of the former proprietors, if the illegal equipment of the Privateer Industry be fully substantiated.” He also reminded Lee that his previous “requisition for the release of the Roehampton” had been forwarded to the secretary of war in mid-September, and that the British minister at Philadelphia had earlier announced to the secretary of state that L’Industrie had been illegally outfitted at Baltimore. Thornton then requested Lee “to inform me whether the former proprietors may expect to recover their vessel through the exertion of your authority, that in contrary event the whole affair may be fully and finally submitted through his Majesty’s Minister to the executive government of the United States” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). In a longer version of the preceding paragraph that was struck from the draft, Lee summarized this letter and added, “to which I have answered that I have not yet received any instructions from the general government on the subject” (see Lee to Thornton, 15 Oct., MdAA: Council Letterbook, 1787–1793).

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