Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., to Auguste de Grasse
Philada Jany 29. 1794
The President of the United States has been made acquainted, by a letter from you, with the situation in which you &, your family are at Charleston.1 Such representations are daily made to him from various parts of the United States, by your Countrymen, in the same unfortunate predicament with yourself. No man feels more for your distresses than the President, nor is any one more willing to contribute to their alleviation, than he is. In fact, he has done this as far or perhaps further, than the resources of which he is possessed wou’d strictly justify—having no public fund which he is authorised to apply to these objects, his private purse is inadequate to satisfy the deplorable cases which are brought before him by letters and otherwise, for relief.2 The subject has been laid before the Legislature of the U.S. now in Session here; & it is expected they will appropriate a sum for the immediate relief, in some degree, of the necessities of the unfortunate fugitives from St Domingo. Shou’d an Act be passed to this effect, it is hoped that your case, among others, will be embraced thereby.3 The President directs me to assure you, Sir, that it is not from a want of inclination to serve you, or of sympathy for your accumulated distresses, that he gives you this answer, but from his real inability to afford you relief. I am Sir &c.
Bw: Dandridge. S.P. U. States.
1. The letter referenced may be de Grasse’s letter to GW of 28 Dec. 1793, or it may be the one de Grasse wrote GW from Charleston, S.C., on 24 Aug. 1793.
2. Although GW declined to give de Grasse financial aid, he did make an occasional exception. In July 1793 he gave $250 to a committee established by Philadelphia citizens for the relief of refugees from Saint Domingue, and in January 1794 he gave $25 to two French women who had asked for his personal support (GW to De Saxÿ and De Verneüil, 26 Dec. 1793, and notes).
3. See “An Act providing for the relief of such of the inhabitants of Saint Domingo, resident within the United States, as may be found in want of support,” 12 Feb. 1794, in which an amount not exceeding $15,000 was appropriated for this purpose (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 6:13).