Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Wood, 8 July 1793

From James Wood

In Council 8th. July 1793.


I do myself the honor of enclosing you the Copy of a Letter Just Received by express, from the Mayor of the Borough of Norfolk, with the Proceedings of the Court of Aldermen On the Subject of it. To Afford a Temporary Relief to the Distressed emigrants, the Executive have Directed two thousand Dollars to be immediately Advanced, which is to be Applied Agreeably to the direction of the Common-hall; and the Board have Approved the proceedings of the Court, in Accommodating the sick and wounded with the use of the Marine Hospital. I have the honor to be with great Respect Sir Yr. Mo Obt. Servt.

James Wood

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 13 July 1793 and so recorded in SJL. FC (Vi: Executive Letterbook). Probably the letter recorded in SJPL under 12 July 1793: “Govr. of Virga’s lre on arrival of French in distress from the Cape.” Enclosures: (1) Robert Taylor, Mayor of Norfolk, to Governor Henry Lee, 6 July 1793, stating that by order of the Norfolk Court of Aldermen he was enclosing a paper about the French 74–gun ship Jupiter, which had arrived in Hampton Roads seeking permission to land 400 sick and wounded from that and other ships; that on 20 June a force of whites had lost a battle with blacks and mulattoes near Cap-Français; that a day later that town was destroyed by fire and from ten to twelve thousand of the inhabitants massacred; that those who escaped boarded a French fleet of 150 vessels that will arrive any moment in Hampton Roads, their first port since Cap-Français, lacking money or clothes and seeking succor; that the directors of the Marine Hospital have agreed to accommodate the sick and wounded there, although it is unfinished, but desire authorization, since it is a public building; that he is directed to furnish these unfortunates with every necessary but that if all the distressed individuals land here the sum he can apply will be only a trifle, wherefore he asks the executive to supply him with the necessary orders on this business; and that in the meantime every possible attention will be paid to the refugees by the inhabitants, who feel for their misfortunes (Tr in DLC; in Archibald Blair’s hand and attested by him). (2) Minutes of Court of Aldermen of Norfolk Borough, 6 July 1793, giving its unanimous opinion, based on information received from the mayor of the French request to land refugees from Cap-Français, that the inhabitants would do everything in their power to relieve them and that the mayor should ask the president and directors of the Marine Hospital for permission to shelter the sick and wounded there, seek assistance from the county’s civil and military authorities in providing relief, report by express to the governor about the borough’s actions and request guidance on how to proceed, and meanwhile furnish the sufferers with whatever immediate relief was necessary (Tr in DLC; attested by Alexander Moseley). Enclosed in Tobias Lear to TJ, 15 July 1793.

TJ submitted this letter to the President on 13 July 1793 (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 196).

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