George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 26 December 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Phil: 26 Dec. 1793.


Inclosed I have the honor to communicate to you, copies of a letter, which I have received from Mr Cassan, the Vice-Consul of the French Republic, and of the answer which I have transmitted to him, relatively to the intended departure of the Brigantine Peggy for the Mole and Jeremie.1

The sentiments, which I have expressed on this occasion, are in conformity to those that were lately communicated to me as yours, in the letter of the Secretary at War, dated the [ ] instant.2 I am, with perfect respect, Sir, Your most obed. & most Hble Serv.

Df, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letterbooks. The draft is in Alexander J. Dallas’s writing.

On 27 Dec. Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., sent this letter to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and informed him “that the President wishes if any thing is necessary to be done in consequence thereof, the Secretary will take such steps as he may conceive to be proper” (AL, DLC: Jefferson Papers; see JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 274). No record of any subsequent action by Jefferson has been identified.

Secretary of War Henry Knox acknowledged this letter in his letter to Mifflin of 10 Jan. 1794 (see Mifflin to GW, 31 Dec., source note).

1The enclosed copies have not been found, but an LS of Jean-Baptiste Cassan to Mifflin, 24 Dec., and a draft of Alexander J. Dallas to Cassan, 26 Dec., are in PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99 (see also PHarH: Executive Letterbooks). Cassan’s letter protested the proposed departure of the Peggy to “Places occupées par des rébelles.” He warned that the laws of nations, which recognized as legal the seizure of all aid given to rebels and the arrest of ships bound to besieged or blockaded ports, would allow French vessels to seize any ships bound to the rebellious ports of Saint Domingue. Cassan explained that “les traîtres, qui habitent les places” were no friends of the United States and claimed that the Americans could have no connection with the rebels without compromising “leur alliance avec la République française.”

The reply informed Cassan “that, although the General Government will not permit a military enterprize against any of the belligerent powers to be formed within the territory of the U.S., it is not thought just or expedient to deter the Hispaniola emigrants from returning to their homes, or peaceably going to any other place. I shall, however, communicate your letter to the President for his instructions; and at the same time intimate to the owners of the Peggy, the risques to which, according to your statement, they will be exposed on this occasion.”

2Mifflin probably was referring to Henry Knox’s letter to him of 29 Nov. (see Mifflin to GW, 2 Dec., n.1).

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