George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 2 August 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Phil. 2d Aug. 1793

Sir.

It has been intimated to me, that the Jane will, probably, sail during the ensuing night; and, therefore, I think it proper to remind your Excellency, that I have issued express orders for detaining her at Mud-Island, in consequence of the information that has been given respecting her warlike equipments, and of your instructions dated the 23d & 24th of May last.1

The present communication I have deemed the more necessary, as the Secretary at War, in a letter, of the 27th ulto. says that if the Jane should attempt to depart prior to the ⟨5⟩th of August, and without a determination upon her case, it will be expected that I should employ, for detaining her, such means of military coercion as are in my power.2 I am, with perfect respect Sir, Yr Excs. most ob. ⟨&ca⟩

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

1On the administration’s interest in the Jane, a British letter of marque currently docked at Mud Island in the Delaware River, see Cabinet Opinion, 12 July, and GW to Cabinet, 29 July 1793, and note 2. A recent examination of this ship by Philadelphia officials revealed “several augmentations to her force, & an increase of hands” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 212). Earlier this day Mifflin wrote Adj. Gen. Josiah Harmar, instructing him to inform William Linnard (d. 1835), the commanding officer at Fort Mifflin on Mud Island, that the Jane “will attempt to depart within the course of this night without due authority” and that he was to stop and detain her at Mud Island until “further orders” (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99). For the instructions contained in Henry Knox’s letters to Mifflin of 23 and 24 May 1793, see Knox to GW, 24 May, and note 2, and Mifflin to GW, 25 May 1793.

2For Knox’s letter to Mifflin of 27 July, see Mifflin to GW, 27 July 1793, n.3. The cabinet read Mifflin’s letter of 2 August during its meeting that day, and Knox received instructions to inform Mifflin that the Jane “had complied with the requisites of Government, (if he should be so certified by the Collector [Sharp Delany] &c.) & that she was at liberty to depart with proper clearances” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 212). Mifflin therefore issued orders on 3 Aug. to allow the ship to depart (Mifflin to Harmar, to Linnard, both 3 Aug. 1793 and at PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99).

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