Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Sim Lee, 20 May 1793

From Thomas Sim Lee

In Council Annapolis May 20.1 1793


We have been honoured with your letter of the 26th. Ulto. covering the Proclamation issued by the President of the United States, respecting the conduct to be observed towards the powers at War in Europe; and we have issued a Proclamation conformably to the Sentiments contained in that of the President. Since that time we have received from Mr. Hamilton British Consul at Norfolk, the letter of which the enclosed is a copy.2 The Captured Vessel is, contrary to Mr. Hamilton’s information, in Choptank river on the Eastern Shore, and will probably be given up to Capt. Tucker by the Naval Officer of that District, who has, as we are informed, taken her into his Care upon her being abandoned by the Captors. We have acquainted the Consul with our incompetency in point of authority to interfere, even Supposing the Capture to be illegal, and have advised him that it can only be obtained from the general government. Esteeming the Situation of the United States with Regard to the powers at War to be extremely critical, and conceiving that the greatest circumspection will be requisite to keep them from being involved with some of the parties, We have thought it proper to make you this communication; and3 if any Measures can be pointed out by which4 we may aid the Views of the President in so important a concern we shall be happy to adopt them. With the greatest Consideration We have the honor to be, Sir, Yr Mo. Obedt. & Mo. Hble Servts.

Tho. S. Lee

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); in a clerk’s hand, with signature and part of complimentary close by Lee; at foot of text: “The Honble Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ. Dft (MdAA: Maryland State Papers); in Lee’s hand, with some revisions in a clerk’s hand (see notes 3–4 below); only the most important emendations are noted below. FC (MdAA: Letterbooks of Governor and Council of Maryland). Recorded in SJL as received 23 May 1793. Enclosure: John Hamilton to Lee, Norfolk, 7 May 1793, soliciting his interference to prevent any unlawful condemnation in his state of the British-owned schooner Eunice of New Providence, Henry Tucker master, bound for Philadelphia with 2,000 dollars in specie and a few boxes of sugar when it was captured on 29 Apr. 1793 off Virginia in latitude 36° north in water 27 fathoms deep by an Americanbuilt armed schooner which sailed under French colors and was said to be French property but was manned largely by Americans; reporting that Tucker’s captors put him on an American vessel bound for Norfolk while sending his ship as a prize to Baltimore; and requesting justice and protection for Tucker, who will deliver this letter (Tr in DNA: RG 59, MLR).

The Naval Officer who had taken charge of the Eunice was Jeremiah Banning (William Vans Murray to TJ, 9 May 1793).

1Reworked from “19” in Dft.

2In Dft Lee here canceled “We have advised Capt. Tucker to.”

3Word substituted in Dft by clerk for Lee’s original passage: “and would be glad to be informed of any measures by which we may aid the <wise intentions> views of the President in <this particular> so important a concern.” Remainder of sentence added by clerk below Lee’s original complimentary close.

4In Dft the clerk here canceled “in the case of more events of this nature.”

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