Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memorial from George Hammond, 8 May 1793

Memorial from George Hammond

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, requests permission to recall to the attention of the Secretary of State the memorial which was presented to him on the 2nd. curt., relative to the capture of the British Ship Grange by the French frigate the Embuscade. The subject of that memorial being merely a question of fact, the Undersigned entertained hopes that the confirmation or contradiction of the testimony he adduced might have been so easily procured as to have enabled the executive government of the United States before this time to have formed some determination upon it. But having been disappointed in these hopes, he ventures to indulge the expectation that the delay may not be of much longer duration, and that he may receive an early answer on a matter, in which he cannot but conceive the two countries deeply interested. Indeed he trusts that this renewal of his solicitation cannot be regarded as too importunate, when it is considered that a British ship has been a week in the harbour of Philadelphia in a state of arrest and detention under a capture, which he presumes to be illegal, and in consequence of which a number of his Majesty’s subjects remain in a condition of rigorous and unjust confinement. The undersigned is farther impelled to desire as speedy an answer as may be convenient by the consideration of his great anxiety to transmit to the King’s government in England the final resolution of the executive government of the United States on this important point—on the decision of which is to rest the degree of future security and protection, which vessels belonging to the subjects, of the King his Master and of the other powers now engaged in war with France, may expect to receive in the ports and harbours of the United States.

    8th May 1793.

Geo. Hammond

RC (DNA: RG 59, NL); in the hand of Edward Thornton, signed by Hammond; at foot of first page: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 8 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in PRO: FO 116/3). Tr (same, 115/2). Tr (same, 5/1). Tr (Lb in DNA: RG 59, NL).


TJ laid this and the following three memorials from Hammond before the President on 8 May. Washington the following day directed TJ to submit the present memorial, together with the 8 May letter TJ received from Jean Baptiste Ternant on the subject of the Grange, to Attorney General Edmund Randolph for his opinion, and to lay the other three memorials before the heads of the departments and the Attorney General and report to him “their opinions thereon” (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 131, 132). For the outcome of the Cabinet’s deliberations, see TJ to Hammond, and TJ to Ternant, both 15 May 1793. The memorials are printed here in the order TJ entered them in SJL.

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