George Washington Papers

To George Washington from S. B. Garrick, Westphal & Company, 25 November 1794

From S. B. Garrick, Westphal & Company

New York 25th Novr 1794.


Pardon our earnest Solicitations for Your Protection, and the liberty we have taken to represent to You a Statement of our grevances, and the losses we have sustained, in consequence of the present existing War of the European Nations; after the time prescribed by law for investing Aliens with the Priviledges of Native subjects had expired, the Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of America was administered, which intitled us to the rights and Protections of Citizens;1 From our extensive connections in trade to foreing ports particularly to Hispaniola, we were necessiated to keep at Sea a certain Number of Vessels laden with valuable Cargo’s to support our Mercantile Credit; from which we have received no returns, the[y] have been Illegally-captured by the brittish Nations; our loss on this Occasion is almost incredible, the many vexatious Lawsuits already accrued have cost us the Sum of one thousand Dollars, and upwards for each Cargo;2 We concluded at an earnest Period to present our Petition accompany’d with a Statement of the Number of Vessels taken, but as all our Papers were destroy’d, we are under the Necessity of waiting till the Arrival of our Correspondent, whom we hourly expect, to furnish us with an Account duly attested of the property seized.

Since the Embargo has been taken off our Mr Westphal, has on his own private Account made sundry Shipments, to the Amount of Sixty thousand Dollars to Jeremie and St Marc, which place were at the time & still are in Possession of the british; those Cargo’s concisted chiefly of Provisions the Returns of which he hourly expects, but in Addition to this he has just received the unfortunate Intelligence that another of his Vessels has been captured off Sandy Hook, by the British Fregate Leopart, this Vessel had sailed from St Marc, previous to her departure she paid the Necessary Duties, and was regularly permitted to depart, notwithstanding this, and her sailing under the American Colours, Invested with the Sacred Rights of Neutral Nation she was sent to Hallifax, where in all probability she will be condemned.

Permit us Sir to intreat Your Council in this particular, to enable us to proceed for a recovery of our losses, which the honour of an Answer we hope will assist us to do.3

Accept Great Sir of our sincere wishes for Your future happiness, and permit us to subscribe ourselves Your Devoted and very humble Servants

S. B. Garrick Westphal & Co.

LS, DNA: RG 76, Great Britain, British Spoliations, 1794–1824, Unsorted Papers. The New York mercantile firm S. B. Garrick, Westphal & Company, evidently formed in early 1793, was a partnership of Saturnine Bernard Garrick, Cornelius Christian Westphal, and John Godfried Wachsmuth. Wachsmuth apparently left the firm at the beginning of 1796, when it was renamed S. B. Garrick & Westphal, and the firm was defunct by 1798.

1“An Act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” of 26 March 1790, allowed a person who had resided within the United States for two years to become a citizen upon submitting proof of good character and taking an oath of allegiance (1 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 103–4). Garrick, who arrived at Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint Domingue, in July 1792, took the oath of allegiance at Philadelphia in April 1795 (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 2d ser., 3:69; P. William Filby, ed., Philadelphia Naturalization Records [Detroit, 1982], 216).

2For a record of one of the lawsuits, see Before the Most Noble and Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of Appeals in Prize Causes. (An Appeal from the Court of Vice-Admiralty of the Island of Jamaica.) The Echo, William Nicholl, Master. … [London, 1798].

3Secretary of State Edmund Randolph replied to this letter on 9 Dec., informing the firm, “if you will forward to me any papers explanatory of your complaints, I will pursue the same measures with respect to them, as have been adopted with respect to every other case of the like nature” (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

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