George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 19 August 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Phila: 19th Augt 1793.

Sir.

The Commanding Officer at Mud Island, has reported to me that the following vessels have been stopped and detained, in pursuance of my orders.1

1. The Brig Gayoso, commanded by Jas Graisbury, bound from Phil: to New Orleans, a prize to the Little Democrat; but originally owned by Reede and Forde, of Phila.2

2. The Brig Pilgrim of Philadelphia, Capt. Benj: Earl, a Prize to the Little Democrat; but originally owned by Jos: Donnaldson sen. of this City.3

3. The Schooner Derry, or Dairy Maid Capt: John Hammil, also a prize to the Little Democrat; but originally owned by John Leamy of this City.4

It appears from the affidavit which I have ⟨e⟩nclosed, that Twenty thousand Dollars were taken out of ⟨th⟩e latter prize, before her arrival in the port; and the money, as I am well informed, has been sent hither in a Pilot boat. I have, therefore, ordered the Pilot boat to be taken into custody; and I shall await your instructions, as well on that subject, as for the restoration of the Prizes.5 I am, with perfect respect, Sir, Your most obedt Servt

T. M.

Df, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letter-Books.

1Any written report from William Linnard concerning these ships has not been identified. In a letter of 16 Aug. 1793 Mifflin instructed Adj. Gen. Josiah Harmar to give orders to Linnard to seize prizes brought into port by French privateers (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–1799). Mifflin did this to comply with instructions received in the first circular letter to the state governors from Henry Knox of 16 Aug. 1793 (see Knox to Tobias Lear, 17 Aug., n.1).

2According to Philadelphia merchant John Reed’s affidavit of 18 Aug., the brig Gayoso, which he owned in partnership with Standish Forde, had been captured on the morning of 14 Aug. “about three leagues from the Cape henlopen light house” while sailing from Philadelphia to New Orleans. Peter Lohra, “notary public, scrivinar and broker,” of 36 Chestnut Street, certified the affidavit (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; Philadelphia Directory 1793 description begins James Hardie. The Philadelphia Directory and Register . . .. Philadelphia, 1793. description ends ).

3Joseph Donaldson, Sr., a “gentleman” at 1 N. Sixth Street, wrote Mifflin on 18 Aug. that Capt. Benjamin Earle reported that the brig Pilgrim had been captured on Thursday, 15 Aug., “at Sea between 3 & 4 League S. E. from this Light House” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; Philadelphia Directory 1793 description begins James Hardie. The Philadelphia Directory and Register . . .. Philadelphia, 1793. description ends ).

4Irish native John Leamy was a merchant at 199 S. Front Street and active in trade with the Spanish colonies (ibid.).

5In the enclosed affidavit of 18 Aug. 1793, William Young, John Boreman, Peter Davis, and David Bruce swore that the schooner Dairy Maid was captured by the Petite Démocrate on 15 Aug. while en route from New Orleans to Philadelphia and that the crew of the privateer seized about $20,000. In a second affidavit of the same date, Thomas Harper, a merchant at 14 Pine Street, swore that the Dairy Maid was owned by Leamy. Notary public Jacob R. Howell, an attorney at 60 N. Third Street, certified both documents (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; Philadelphia Directory 1793 description begins James Hardie. The Philadelphia Directory and Register . . .. Philadelphia, 1793. description ends ). On the pilot boat Delaware, see Mifflin’s third letter to GW of this date, and note 2.

On GW’s receipt of this letter and its enclosures on this date, see JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 224. In his first letter to Mifflin of this date, Henry Knox wrote: “The President of the United States having received your Excellency’s letter of this date relatively to the three Vessels therein mentioned which have been stopped at Mud Island as prizes to the little Democrat, has directed me to request that you would please to cause the said Vessels to be restored to their late Masters or Owners at the time they were so Captured together with all the property belonging to them.

“And in future he requests that all prizes which may be sent in by any of the privateers mentioned in my letter of the 16 instant may be delivered to their Masters or Owners at the time of their being captured and in case such should not be found that the prizes be delivered to the order of the Minister of the power to which the said prizes belonged at the time they were captured” (NHyF).

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