George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 10 July 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Phil: 10 July 1793


In consequence of some reports, respecting the equipments of the1 English Letter of Marque, the Jane, I thought there was reason to suspect that she was fitting out as a Cruiser; and, therefore, I directed the Master Warden to renew his enquiries upon the subject. His report, and the paper mentioned in it I have now the honor to transmit for your consideration.2

I take this opportunity, likewise, to lay before you a copy of a letter, dated the 8 instant wch I have recd from the Consul of the French Republic.3 I am, with perfect respect Sir Yr Excellency’s most Obed. Hble Ser.

Tho. Mifflin

DfS, PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99; LB, PHarH: Executive Letter-Books.

1The preceding three words are not in the letter-book copy.

2On French objections to the presence of the British ship Jane and for Nathaniel Falconer’s previous report of 5 July, see Mifflin to GW, 5 July 1793, and notes 1–2. In his first letter to Falconer of 8 July, Mifflin instructed him to “take immediate measures to ascertain” whether the Jane was a privateer. Falconer wrote in his report to Mifflin of 9 July that he had “been a Board the Ship Jane, and finde the number of Cannon that she has now mounted, is Sixteen Three & Two pounders.” The shipwright, Mr. Patterson, denied that the captain, William Morgan, had requested the upper deck removed and portholes cut in her sides. Falconer also wrote that the ship’s clearance from Jamaica was for Philadelphia, and “one of the owners A Mr Donaldson is come in her; A Mr McCurach who has this ship under his Care, Called on me yesterday and told me that they would give Twenty Thousand Guineas Security if required.” Falconer enclosed a “Copy of a Memorandum for Insurance” of 8 July, signed by “James McCurach & Co.” of 42 Dock Street, Philadelphia. The original document was filed in the insurance office of Wharton & Lewis of 109 South Water Street and described the Jane as “A British Bottom, a Letter of Marque.” Mifflin’s instructions, Falconer’s report, and the insurance statement are in PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99. For an affidavit about the ship’s intentions from Capt. Morgan to George Hammond of 11 July, see Hammond to Jefferson, 11 July 1793, and source note, in Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends , 26:469–70. For GW’s receipt of this affidavit on 13 July, see JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 195.

3The enclosed letter from François Dupont to Mifflin of 8 July protested U.S. policy toward French privateers and prizes, and specifically mentioned the privateer Petite Démocrate (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790–99). GW gave Mifflin’s letter and its enclosures to Thomas Jefferson on 11 July 1793 (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 191).

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