George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 26 November 1793

From Henry Knox

November 26th 1793


I have the honor to submit to you, a copy of a letter transmitted this day to the Governor of New York, and which is in pursuance of the rules heretofore adopted—Colonel Hamilton was present and approved of it, and it does not appear that any other answer can be given to the Governor’s letter of the 24th, than to acknowledge the same, and adhere to the letter of to day.1 I have the honor to be, Sir, with the highest respect, Your most obedt Servt

H. Knox


1Knox was responding to a letter from Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., of this date, enclosing George Clinton’s letter to GW of 24 Nov. regarding the French privateer Carmagnole, and conveying GW’s instructions that Knox “prepare such answer to the Govrs letter as to you may seem proper” (DLC:GW). Knox enclosed his first letter to Clinton of this date, which acknowledged Clinton’s letter to GW of 15 Nov. about the Carmagnole and informed Clinton that, “As this vessel was originally fitted in a warlike manner in the United States she was named in my letter to your Excellency of the 16th August, as one which was to be denied asylum in our ports.

“But if she divests herself entirely of her warlike equipments, which are her offensive qualities, she may then be permitted to make any repairs not belonging to a vessel of war, as mentioned in my letters of the 12th and 15th November. This divestment is an indispensible condition” (DLC:GW).

Knox wrote a second letter to Clinton on this date to acknowledge the letter of the 24th. He informed the governor: “I am instructed to say that the rules which have been transmitted to your Excellency were formed upon the most mature deliberation, and considered as indispensible for the preservation of our neutrality—that they have been measured out impartially as far as any cases have been known to the Executive of the United states.

“That the letter which I had the honor to transmit this day respecting the Carmagnole is conclusive as to her case” (N-Ar, Papers of George Clinton).

The Carmagnole apparently remained at New York until 7 Jan. 1794, when she sailed, along with two French frigates, “on a private expedition” (Greenleaf’s New York Journal & Patriotic Register, 8 Jan. 1794).

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