Conversation with George Hammond1
[Philadelphia, March 10–April 17, 1794] “I have the honor of transmitting … a letter … which on the 10th. of March I addressed to the Secretary of State2 on the subject of the encroachments by the citizens of Vermont on the territory occupied by his Majesty’s arms. To this letter I have not as yet received any answer, though both Mr. Randolph and Mr. Hamilton have assured me that the President and all the members of this administration are much displeased at these practices, and will employ the most effectual means to prevent a repetition of them.”
D, PRO: F.O. description begins Transcripts or photostats from the Public Record Office of Great Britain deposited in the Library of Congress. description ends , Series 5, Vol. 4.
1. This conversation has been taken from Hammond to Lord Grenville, April 17, 1794, Dispatch No. 16.
2. Hammond’s letter to Edmund Randolph reads in part as follows: “On the 5th of July, I had the honor of submitting to your predecessor, Mr Jefferson, a statement of certain attempts by persons acting under the authority of the State of Vermont, to exercise legal jurisdiction within the districts occupied by the King’s troops, and also of acts of violence committed by them on the persons and property of British subjects residing under the protection of his Majesty’s garrisons. Mr Jefferson … assured me that an application had been made to the Governor of Vermont [Thomas Chittenden] for information on the subject, on the receipt of which no time should be lost in taking thereon the measures which should appear proper.
“Reposing on that assurance the confidence which it merited, I entertained no doubt that the State of Vermont would have relinquished the authority it had endeavored forcibly to establish, and that all future encroachments … would have been avoided.… It has therefore been with great surprize and concern that I have learnt from the Governor General of his Majesty’s provinces in North America [Lord Dorchester] that the measures, which I trusted would have resulted from the interference of the federal government, have been ineffectual … that the state of Vermont still perseveres in extending its authority to the district of Caldwell’s manor, the subject of my former representation … [and] that … a small party, sent in pursuit of a deserter before Dutchman’s point, was committed to Burlington Jail, and not liberated until after the payment of a fine.… I farther understand this example has been followed by citizens of the state of New York.…” (ALS, RG 59, Notes from the British Legation in the United States to the Department of State, Vol. 1, October 26, 1791–August 15, 1794, National Archives.)
On April 29, 1794, Randolph replied: “Very soon after the receipt of your letter of the 10th ultmo, I took more than one opportunity of mentioning to you verbally, that the government of the United States was sincere and constant in its determination to fulfil its assurances, concerning the districts, occupied by the British troops, and the acts of violence, said to be committed under the authority of the State of Vermont, on the persons and property of British Subjects residing under the protection of your garrisons.…
“I have it in charge from the President of the United States again to assure, that his purpose to cultivate harmony with your nation, and to prevent the measures of which you complain in the above letters, continues unchanged. Orders will be therefore immediately repeated upon this head, to repress the violences which you state, and they shall be accompanied with an injunction to use against the refractors every coercion which the laws will permit. We have received no intelligence of the particular facts, to which you refer. But to prevent all unnecessary circuity in first inquiring into them, and next transmitting to this City the result, the proper instructions will be given to act, without waiting for further directions.
“In these measures, Sir, you will see a real disposition in us, to friendship and good neighborhood and I shall be justified by your own recollection, when I claim the merit of our having been uniform in the same demonstrations.” (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 24, 1794, National Archives.) The letter is printed in ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 463.