Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Rawle, 15 May 1793

To William Rawle

Philadelphia May 15. 1793


By the inclosed papers you will perceive there is reason to believe that certain citizens of the United States have engaged in committing depredations on the property and commerce of some of the nations at peace with the United States. I have it in charge to express to you the desire of the Government that you would take such measures for apprehending and prosecuting them as shall be according to law. I am not able to point out to you the individuals against whom suggestions have been made but take the liberty of referring you to Mr. Deblois and Mr. Sharpe Delany who may give you information on the subject. I am with great esteem Sir Your most obedient and Most humble servant

PrC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, except for place and dateline in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., with day added in ink; unsigned; at foot of text: “Mr. Rawle.” PrC of Tr (DNA: RG 59, MD); in a clerk’s hand. FC (Lb in same, DL). Enclosures: (1) Memorial from George Hammond, 8 May 1793, on French privateers commissioned in Charleston. (2) Enclosures to George Washington to TJ, 14 May 1793. Letter enclosed in Washington to TJ, 15 May 1793, TJ to Gouverneur Morris, 13 June 1793, and TJ to Thomas Pinckney, 14 June 1793.

TJ dispatched this letter to the federal district attorney in Pennsylvania only after the Cabinet had approved it and he had submitted it to the President this day and received his approval (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 139–40; Washington to TJ, 15 May 1793). Rawle promptly instituted legal proceedings against the Massachusetts mariner Gideon Henfield (see Memorial from Edmond Charles Genet, 27 May 1793, and note). Lewis Deblois appeared as a prosecution witness in this case (Federal Cases description begins The Federal Cases; Comprising Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States …, St. Paul, Minn., 1894–97, 30 vols. description ends , xi, 1115).

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