George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 2 December 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Philadelphia December 2d 1793


In consequence of a letter from the Secretary at War, stating the suggestion of the French Minister, relative to the design of the Refugees, who, according to his information, were about to embark from this Port for Jeremie, or Cape St Nichola Mole, in the Ship Delaware, and the Goillette Betsey;1 I have instituted an enquiry on the subject; the result of which I have now the honor to communicate, in the report of the Master Warden of the Port of Philadelphia. I am, with perfect respect, sir, Your Excellencys Most obedient Servant

Tho. Mifflin

LS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters; Df, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letterbooks; Copy, DLC: Jefferson Papers. An endorsement with the LS notes that it was “recd 2d Decr.”

1British forces had captured Saint Domingue ports Môle-Saint-Nicolas and Jérémie in September. In a letter to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of 25 Nov., French minister Edmond Genet passed on reports that 200 colonists were leaving Baltimore for Jérémie while two ships were loading at Philadelphia for the Môle. Genet claimed to have proofs that the surrender of the Môle had been abetted by a conspiracy of some residents. He suggested that the people embarking intended to join the “traîtres” at those locations, and also stated that American vessels were carrying supplies to the rebels (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 , 27:436–39). Secretary of War Henry Knox’s letter to Mifflin of 29 Nov. requested, on behalf of GW, “your Excellency’s attention to this circumstance, and that if the persons alluded, or any others, should appear to be forming a military expedition, or enterprize within the State of Pennsylvania, that you would please to cause them to be stopped, and prevent their design—But, if it should appear that they are returning to their homes, or departing elsewhere, in a peaceable manner, it is considered that it would neither be lawful nor proper to detain them” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99).

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