George Washington Papers

Enclosure: Nathaniel Falconer to Thomas Mifflin, 29 November 1793


Nathaniel Falconer to Thomas Mifflin

Wardens Office Philadelphia 29th November 1793.


In Obedience to Your Excellency’s Letter of this Morning,1 I have seen Mr Jacob Shoemaker, one of the Owners of the Ship Delaware; he informs me that they intend their ship for Cape Nichola Mole, and expected to take a Number of passengers, if they Offered; but they Assure me, only one person has as Yet engaged his passage in the Ship Delaware; I have requested of Mr Shoemaker and Captain Art, that whatever French Men, may engage their passages, that they will bring them to me, in Order to declare the Object of their Voyage.2 I have also been with the Owners of the Goillette, Betsey, who are Reed and Ford;3 who inform that She is not Bound to Jeremie nor the Mole, but Chartered by a French Gentleman for Guadaloupe, to go there in Order to bring off his property, Some passengers are going in her for that Island. You may rest Assured, I will pay every attention to those Vessels; and if I can discover any thing like Armament, I shall give Your Excellency immediate Notice of it. I am Your Excellency’s most Obedt Humble servt

Nathaniel Falconer,
Master Warden of the port of Philadelphia

Copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters.

1Mifflin also enclosed to GW a copy of this letter, in which Mifflin repeated Knox’s request and directed: “You will be pleased, therefore, with great Caution, to make such enquiries, as are Calculated to produce Satisfactory evidence on this Subject; and report the result with all Convenient dispatch. The Owners of the Vessels, as well as the persons on Board of them, will, I presume, give a Candid statement of the Object of the Voyage; but I do not mean to Confine You to those Sources of information” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

2Jacob Shoemaker was a partner with John James in the mercantile firm of James & Shoemaker at 25 N. Water Street in Philadelphia. The sea captain James Art resided on Front Street in Philadelphia. He was still captain of the Delaware in February 1794, when the ship was taken by a privateer out of Bermuda and condemned in the admiralty court at Montserrat (see Fulwar Skipwith to Edmund Randolph, 1 March 1794, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; and Greenleaf’s New York Journal, & Patriotic Register, 22 March 1794).

3John Reed and Standish Forde (1759–1806) were partners in a mercantile firm on S. Front Street in Philadelphia from 1781 until Forde’s death. At this time they were advertising freight or passage on the schooner Betsy and Hannah, bound for “Point Peter” (Pointe-à-Pitre), Guadeloupe (Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser, 25 Nov.).

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