From Josef de Jaudenes and Josef Ignacio de Viar
Philadelphia 26 Dicre. 1793
Muy Señor nuestro
Acavamos de recevir, y ahora tenemos la Satisfacion de embiar a V.S. las pruevas requisitas al assunto del Bergantin Español nombrado San Josef y Carga, que fueron llevados a Wilmington (Carolina Septentrional) como presa de un Corsario frances, y reclamada por nuestra Carta escrito a V.S. con fecha 23 de Octubre de 1793.
Dichos Documentos declaran, y pruevan incontestablemente, que el expresado Bergantin Español fue apresado y llevado al Puerto de Wilmington (Carolina Septentrional) el dia Cinco de Agosto Ultimo, por la Balandra nombrada la Amable Margarita, la misma que fue apresada algun tiempo antes por el Conquistador de la Bastilla (Siendo uno de los Corsarios proscritos por el poder Executivo del Govo. Gl.) Su Capitan Francis Henry Hervieux, y llevado por el dicho, al referido puerto de Wilmington, en donde fue armado y abilitado por el dicho, como Corsario frances; de manera que la Captura del San Josef se puede justamente considerar como dos veces ilegal.
El Testimonio no parece haver sido tomado en la forma que V.S. nos recomendo en su Carta del 10 de Noviembre Ultimo, porque el procurador del districto de la Carolina Septentrional a tomado una parte activa contra nosotros, y a favor del apresador, por cuya razon, no juzgamos oportuno el recurir a el en esta ocasion; se hallara haver sido tomado de la manera acostumbrada; que es a decir, jurado delante de un Magistrado Autorizado para este efecto, y Certificado por un Notario publico.
Despues que V.S. havra leido este testimonio, confiamos que Se dara una Orden en nuestro favor al poder Executivo de la Carolina Septentrional para que Se nos entriegue immediatamente el dinero y qualesquiera otra propriedad tomado en el San Josef por. F. H. Hervieux y al presente en possecion del juez del almirantazgo de aquel districto.
Nos han informado con certitud que el Buque con el resto de la Carga abordo, han permitido que fuese extraido fuera de la jurisdicion de la Carolina Septentrional, no obstante las instructiones del Presidente y nuestras repetidas aplicaciones al Governador de dicho Estado, por Consiguiente no esperamos direcciones por ahora del poder Executivo de los Estados Unidos para la imediata restitucion de estos, aunque nos lisonjeamos con grande confianza, que tales direcciones no se dilataran mas tiempo que el necesario para que el Presidente obtenga la informacion que se requiere para una ocurrencia tan inprevista. Tenemos la honra de Subscrivirnos con la mas pura voluntad y profundo respecto Los mas obtes. y reconocidos Servs. Q. S. M. B.
Josef de Jaudenes Josef Ignacio de Viar
Philadelphia 26 Dec. 1793
Our very dear Sir
We have just received, and we now have the pleasure of sending to you, the requisite proofs in the matter of the Spanish brig named San Josef and its cargoes, which were brought to Wilmington (North Carolina) as a prize by a French privateer, and reclaimed in our letter to you under date of 23 October 1793.
These documents make clear, and prove irrefutably, that the said brig was captured and brought to the port of Wilmington (North Carolina) on the 5th day of August last, by the sloop called Amiable Margaretta, the same one that was captured sometime ago by the Vainqueur de la Bastille (being one of the privateers proscribed by the executive authority of the general government) her captain Francis Henry Hervieux, and brought by him to the said port of Wilmington, where it was armed and outfitted by the same as a French privateer. So the capture of the San Josef may be considered to be twice illegal.
The testimony seems not to have been taken in the form which you recommended to us in your letter of the 10th of November last because the attorney general of North Carolina has taken an active role against us in favor of the captor, for which reason we did not deem it opportune to have recourse to him on this occasion; it has been taken in the customary manner, that is, sworn before a magistrate authorized for such purposes, and certified by a notary public.
After you have read this testimony, we trust that an order will be issued in our favor to the executive authority of North Carolina for the immediate delivery to us of the money and any other property taken from the San Josef by F. H. Hervieux and at present in the possession of the admiralty judge of that district.
We have been informed with some certainty that the ship with the rest of the cargo on board has been permitted to slip out of the jurisdiction of North Carolina, in spite of the President’s instructions and our repeated requests of the governor of that state. Consequently, we do not for the present expect directions from the Executive authority of the United States for immediate restitution, although we do flatter ourselves with great confidence, that such directions will not be longer in coming than is necessary for the President to obtain the information necessary for such an unforeseen occurrence. We have the honor to subscribe ourselves with the most sincere good will and profound respect, your most obedient and grateful servants, Respectfully yours,
Josef de Jaudenes Josef Ignacio de Viar
RC (DNA: RG 59, NL); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Jaudenes and Viar; at foot of text: “Sor. Dn. Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Dec. 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Tr (AHN: Papeles de Estado, legajo 3895 bis); attested by Jaudenes and Viar. Enclosures: (1) Affidavit of Marshal Robert Wilkings, Wilmington, North Carolina, 23 Nov. 1793, stating, as town notary public, that Edward Jones, before whom Nos. 2–6 were taken, was, as acting justice of the peace of New Hanover County, duly authorized and empowered to administer the oaths and grant the certificates thereof. (2) Affidavit of William Reddie and John Telfair, 24 Nov. 1793, stating, as Wilmington shipwrights, that about last August they were employed by Mr. Brouard, the acting French vice-consul, to repair a sloop brought as a prize to Wilmington by its captor, the privateer Vainqueur de la Bastille, commanded by Captain Francois Henri Hervieux, so that the sloop could mount and carry guns, for which work Hervieux gave them an order of payment on Brouard; that in September or October, at the request of Hervieux and Severin Erickson, they surveyed a sloop at Fort Johnston, which they found to be the same one they had previously repaired, which then had six carriage guns, together with swivels and muskets, and which Hervieux commanded and called his privateer; that at the same time they also observed the San Josef of Cartagena, which Hervieux and his crew identified as a Spanish brig they had brought in as a prize; that going aboard the San Josef they found Hervieux and some sailors from the privateer Amiable Margaretta, with Hervieux holding a piece of gold said to be worth 460 dollars, which one sailor said he had found on the brig, and a handkerchief with some dollars, which a sailor had also found on the brig; and that they understood that Hervieux had brought a trunk with gold and some silver from the San Josef to the Brunswick County home of William Cook, captain of the revenue cutter, who, understanding that it contained a large quantity of these precious metals, seized the trunk for a breach of the revenue laws of the United States. (3) Affidavit of James Laroque, 24 Nov. 1793, stating, as a New Hanover County physician, that in September or October he went on board the Spanish brig San Josef of Cartagena with several other persons at the request of Captain Hervieux and satisfied himself by the conversation of Hervieux, his officers, and his crew and that of Captain Don Jaquinas de Mendenez y Marques and his officers and crew that the brig was the prize of the Amiable Margaretta; and that he spoke in Spanish to Captain de Mendenez, who asked him to request the captors to treat the captives well and informed him that the gold the brig carried belonged to the Spanish government but that the vessel and the rest of its cargo were private property. (4) Affidavit of James Robertson, 24 Nov. 1793, stating, as late commander of the sloop Providence of Montego Bay, Jamaica, that his sloop was captured in May or June last by Captain Hervieux, commander of the schooner Vainqueur de la Bastille, brought into Wilmington, and laid up for a short time, during which period Hervieux went out on a cruise with his schooner but returned to Wilmington because of sailing problems, fitted out the Providence as a privateer, and went to sea with it under the name of the Amiable Margaretta. (5) Affidavit of Robert Harley, November 1793, stating that in September or October he and others at Fort Johnston at the mouth of the Cape Fear river boarded the brigantine San Josef, which he had been informed was a prize of the Amiable Margaretta, Captain Hervieux, formerly the sloop Providence of Montego Bay, Jamaica, which had been brought in last June by the Vainqueur de la Bastille, also commanded by Hervieux; that he learned from the prize master, an American citizen, that the brig San Josef was captured at night off the pan of Matanzas on Cuba carrying 40,000 dollars, most of which had been brought to Wilmington by Hervieux and there seized by the customs officers for a breach of the revenue laws; that a few days ago, but after this seizure, he saw a piece of uncoined gold worth 460 dollars in the possession of an inhabitant of Wilmington who was accompanied by Hervieux and gold worth at least 1,000 dollars in the possession of two privateersmen; that after the seizure Hervieux told him that the 35,000 or 36,000 dollars taken by the revenue officers had come from the San Josef, on board of which at least another 1,000 dollars had been found subsequent to the seizure; and that from personal observation it was clear to him that the captors were mistreating the Spanish captives. (6) Affidavit of John Deparr, 24 Nov. 1793, stating, as a mariner serving on board the privateer Amiable Margaretta commanded by Captain Hervieux, that on 22 Sep. 1793 the ship captured without any resistance the San Josef, Captain de Mendenez, bound from Cartagena to Cadiz, which was brought to Wilmington under the direction of a prize master put aboard it by Hervieux; that the considerable quantity of gold and small amount of silver found on the San Josef was divided among Hervieux, his officers, and his crew, with Deparr’s share amounting to 600 dollars, which he allowed to be put in Hervieux’s trunk along with the shares of several other mariners; that while headed for Wilmington, Hervieux, accompanied by Deparr and another mariner, lodged this trunk in the home of Captain Cook, who seized it on the ground that it was a breach of the revenue laws to land it at night; and that the money in the trunk had been taken from the San Josef after its capture by the Amiable Margaretta, which was formerly the Providence, a sloop from Montego Bay in Jamaica that about July 1793, after its capture by the Vainqueur de la Bastille, was fitted out as a privateer with equipment from the ship that had captured it (MSS in DNA: RG 59, NL; in a clerk’s hand, signed by the respective deponents and Edward Jones, except for No. 1 in Wilkings’s hand and signed by him).