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To George Washington from Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 26 May 1795

From Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

Treasury Departt May 26: 1795.

The Secretary of The Treasury has the honor of transmitting to The President of the United States an official Certificate of a settlement made at The Treasury; by which it appears that the United States are indebted to William Lindsay, Collector of Norfolk, the sum of Four hundred & eighty nine dollars & seven cents: being the amount paid by him to David M. Randolph Marshal for the District of Virginia, for his own fees & sundry other expenses attending the seizure & custody of the Ship Unicorn in the summer of 1794, on suspicion that said ship was fitting out at Smithfield as a cruizer contrary to Law.1

As there is no specific fund provided by Law for discharging these demands, it appears to be expedient, if the President shall be pleased so to direct, that payment be made out of the Fund appropriated for defraying the Contingent Expenses of the Government of the United States. All which is most respectfully submitted by

Olivr Wolcott Jr.
Secy of the Treasury.


1In July 1794, Virginia governor Henry Lee received reports concerning the activities of John Sinclair of Smithfield, an expatriated American who had declared French citizenship. Investigation found Sinclair in the process of fitting out the ship Unicorn as a possible privateer, and a military force of seven or eight men under David M. Randolph seized the vessel. Sinclair, however, grew volatile and threatened a counterattack in greater strength. Randolph turned to the Isle of Wight militia for help, but its commander failed to act promptly. Randolph then contacted William Lindsay, collector at Norfolk. Ultimately, a militia detachment from Norfolk and a revenue cutter were sent as reinforcements (Calendar of Virginia State Papers, description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends 7:213–15, 218–20, 223–26, 228–29).

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