Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memorial from George Hammond, 10 July 1793

Memorial from George Hammond

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty’s Minister plenipotentiary to the United States, has the honor of submitting to the Secretary of state the annexed depositions, relative to the capture, by the armed Schooner, fitted out at Charleston, named le Citoyen Genêt, of the British Brigantine, the Prince William Henry from Baltimore to Barbadoes, and of the British brigantine the lovely Lass belonging to Barbadoes, both of which, together with the Schooner that took them, are arrived in the Port of Baltimore.

The undersigned, deeming it unnecessary to place any stress on the aggravating circumstances specified in these depositions—of the evident concert subsisting between the Pilots of Chesapeak bay and the person commanding the schooner, and of the unwarrantable proceeding of the latter in firing into the Prince William Henry, after her colours had been ordered to be struck &c—esteems it sufficient for him to confine himself to the mere fact of the capture of these vessels: For, after the formal assurance he has received of the President’s having required the schooners, le Citoyen Genêt and le sans culotte “to depart to the dominions of” another “sovereign” and after the “expectation” expressed in the Secretary of states letter to him of the 19th. ulto. that “the speedy departure of those vessels will obviate the inconveniences apprehended” by the undersigned—he must presume, (until he is informed of a contrary determination on the subject) that the executive government of the United states will pursue the most efficacious measures for procuring the immediate restitution of the vessels thus captured to their respective owners.

Geo: Hammond
Philadelphia 10th July 1793.

RC (DNA: RG 59, NL); at foot of first page: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 10 July 1793 and so recorded in SJL; with later note by TJ:

“Brigs Lovely Lass
Prince Wm. Henry
taken by the Citoyen Genet proscribed
before Aug. 7.”

FC (Lb in PRO: FO 116/3). Tr (same, 5/1). Tr (same, 115/2). Tr (Lb in DNA: RG 59, NL). Enclosures: (1) Deposition of James Mitchell, master of the Prince William Henry, Baltimore, 6 July 1793, declaring that after this British brigantine departed from Baltimore for Barbados on 18 June and while detained at New Point Comfort until 26 June by contrary winds, various pilots informed him that an English schooner privateer from Halifax was lying off the capes; that on the basis of these assurances he cleared the capes on 28 June and was sailing about eight leagues off Cape Henry when the Prince William Henry was attacked and captured by a French privateer which turned out to be the Citoyen Genet, Captain Johanene, which fired on his ship even after he agreed to surrender it, wounding one of his seamen; that immediately after the capture the rest of the crew “except a negro boy” was sent to Baltimore on the Prince William Henry, and three days later he, his mate, and a seaman were released and put aboard a pilot boat off the capes; that upon arriving in Baltimore on 5 July he learned that the prize master of his ship was born in North Carolina; and that because about a fourth of the privateer’s crew spoke English, they were either English or American. (2) Deposition of Thomas Gibbes Williamson, master of the Lovely Lass, Baltimore, 7 July 1793, stating that this Barbadian brigantine sailed from Hampton Roads on the morning of 4 July with the ship Trusty and the brigantine Cornwallis; that leaving the Cheseapeake near Cape Henry and encountering an armed schooner flying French colors and supposed to be the Citoyen Genet, the Trusty dropped anchor and the unarmed Lovely Lass made for the southern shore, fearing it would be the first to be attacked; that the privateer captured the Lovely Lass at anchor in six fathoms of water six or seven miles from land; that the privateer’s captain declared he would have considered the Lovely Lass to be a lawful prize had it been only half a mile from land; and that after the Trusty and the Cornwallis evaded capture, the privateer brought the Lovely Lass to Baltimore on 6 July (MSS in DNA: RG 59, NL, both in the hand of Edward Thornton, signed by Mitchell and Williamson, respectively, attested by Baltimore justice of the peace Gros Almon, and endorsed by TJ; Trs in Lb in same).

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