Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington, [27 November 1793]

From George Washington

[27 Nov. 1793]

Enclosed is another Specimen of Mr. Genets Indecent conduct towards the Executive Government of the U. States.

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 95: 16271); undated, but probably written the same day TJ received it; addressed on cover sheet of an unidentified letter from TJ: “Mr. Jefferson—Secy. of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Nov. 1793. Enclosures: (1) Governor George Clinton to Edmond Charles Genet, New York, 21 Nov. 1793, stating that, having been informed by Genet’s 11 Nov. 1793 letter that the Carmagnole, the vessel undergoing repairs at the East River wharf, was fitted out as a privateer in the Delaware, he is certain that the French minister will agree to have it divested of all warlike equipment in conformity with the enclosed copy of Secretary of War Henry Knox’s 15 Nov. 1793 letter to the governor, written in response to one from Clinton to the President, announcing that Genet had withdrawn commissions granted to certain privateers fitted out in American ports. (2) Genet to Clinton, New York, 23 Nov. 1793, stating that, having received No. 1 and its enclosure, he considered the governor’s requisitions concerning the schooner Columbia, formerly known as the Carmagnole, to be part of the same system designed to disunite America from France and deliver her into English power that had bedeviled his mission from the first; that the orders given to Clinton were contrary to France’s treaties with the United States, the federal government’s practice of allowing British packets and merchant ships to arm for defense in American ports, and the bonds of friendship and mutual interest between the people of the two republics; and that since the Columbia was intended to serve as an advice boat with the French islands which the United States is bound by treaties to guarantee and by economics to take an interest in, he would order the consul and French commodore of the road to conform themselves to everything the governor thinks proper to direct. (3) Clinton to Washington, 24 Nov. 1793, stating that he had recently received 12 and 13 Nov. 1793 letters from Knox in answer to his of 8 Sep. 1793; that a review of his correspondence with Genet enclosed in that letter shows that he sought the departure of the privateers Petite Démocrate and Carmagnole in conformity with the presidential desire expressed in Knox’s 16 Aug. 1793 letter that in cases like this force should only be used as a last resort; that the Petite Démocrate left New York harbor without augmenting its military equipment, as far as he could tell, while the Carmagnole, the subject of his 15 Nov. 1793 letter, still remains; and that he transmits Nos. 1 and 2 and wishes to be informed of any further action he is expected to take before he sets out shortly for Albany to meet with the legislature, a trip which may last until the spring (Trs in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess.). Enclosures printed in Message description begins A Message of the President of the United States to Congress Relative to France and Great-Britain. Delivered December 5, 1793. With the Papers therein Referred to. To Which Are Added the French Originals. Published by Order of the House of Representatives, Philadelphia, 1793 description ends , 98–9.

On the previous day the President had submitted these enclosures to Henry Knox with a request that he “prepare such answer to the Govs. letter as may seem proper.” On the same day Washington approved a letter by Knox informing Governor Clinton that as a French privateer illicitly fitted out in the Delaware the Carmagnole was to be denied asylum in American ports in conformity with Knox’s 16 Aug. 1793 letter to the governor, but that if the ship divested itself of all warlike equipment it would be allowed to make “any repairs not belonging to a vessel of war” in accordance with Knox’s letters to the same official of 12 and 15 Nov. 1793 (Knox to Clinton, 26 Nov. 1793, DLC: Washington Papers; Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 250–1).

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