George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 13 October 1796

Department of State Octr 13. 1796.


To-day I was honoured with your letter of the 10th instant. A commission will be made out for Mr Bourne as district judge of Rhode Island. The letters concerning him which I transmitted to you yesterday will add to the satisfaction you have in conferring the commission on him.

The gentleman who was recommended for district attorney for Kentuckey, was William Clarke. His commission was forwarded to him about two weeks ago.

Yesterday I received a letter from Mr King, which I do myself the honour to inclose. If ever Britain is very complaisant it may be expected in her present perilous situation. If the official note to Barthelemi is authentic, as Ld Grenville supposed, it was not intended probably for instant operation on the american commerce; at least to the extent at first apprehended. I have to-day received verbal information of one of our ships directly from London, and which left Gravesend about the 17th of August, that met two French frigates in the British channel, who examined and politely dismissed her. If, however, they should take British property on board our vessels, on the pretences urged to Mr Monroe by M. De la Croix, I should not be surprized.

From the publication in the news-paper, of the information said to have been received by our consul Vanderhost at Bristol, I conclude that the Boston vessel taken by the Tunissians was soon released.

To-day I received letters from Colo. Humphreys, dated Augt 5 & 10. Capt. OBrien sailed the fourth for Algiers, with 225,000 dollars. The arrival of the French at Leghorn had, as was expected, interrupted the pecuniary negociations there: however, Mr Bacri, brother to the one at Algiers, had undertaken to finish what the English House had begun: so Colo. Humphreys concludes that business will end well.

Colo. Humphreys remarks, that he is much less apprehensive than some others of a rupture between Spain & England. The portuguese were completing their infantry to its establishment, and augmenting their cavalry: but the affair with Holland seemed to have nearly or quite passed over. He says that "every thing does not appear to be perfectly on a good understanding between portugal & Spain: two ambassadors, one ordinary, the other extraordinary, were appointed by the former to the latter. The Marquis of Pombal had not then (Augt 10) sailed on his embassy to England. I have the honor to remain with the highest respect, sir, your most obt servant

Timothy Pickering

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.

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