George Washington Papers

Address from the Citizens of New York City, 8 August 1793

Address from the Citizens of New York City

[New York City, 8 August 1793]

At a Meeting of the Citizens of New York, not exceeded in Number and respectability, on any former Occasion, Assembled on the 8th day of August Instant, in pursuance of Public Notice inserted in all the News Papers1

Nicholas Cruger in the Chair2

The following resolutions were seperately and Unanimously Adopted—

Resolved, that the late proclamation of the President of the United States recommending A conduct friendly and impartial towards all the powers at war, was in our Opinion a wise and well timed Measure of his Administration and Merits our Warmest Approbation.

Resolved, that in our Opinion the Governor of this State is well entitled to the Acknowledgments of his fellow Citizens for his prompt and decided support of the System of Neutrality and Peace enjoined by the Proclamation.3

Resolved, that the Interest and duty of All good Citizens conspire to unite them on the present Occasion in supporting the Magistrates of Our Country, in their exertions to maintain Peace, and to avoid the Calamities of War.

Resolved, that while we cheerfully cooperate in the fulfillment of the treaties of the United States we will cautiously avoid every Measure which may be liable to interrupt the Neutrality and Peace of our Country.4

Resolved, that in our Opinion it is repugnant to the Laws of the land and injurious to the best Interests of our Country, for any Citizen to enter on board of, or to be concerned in fitting out any Privateer or Letter of Marque to cruise against any Nation at Peace with these States, And that the friends of order and good Government are bound to discountenance and by all lawful means to prevent the same.5

Resolved, that the Chairman of this Meeting be requested to transmit Copies of the Preceding Resolutions signed by him, to the President of the United States and to the Governor of this State respectively.6 By Order of the Meeting

Nich. Cruger Chairman

DS (in Nicholas Cruger’s writing), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. This address was printed in the Daily Advertiser (New York) on 9 Aug. 1793.

1For the public notice to “assemble in front of the Trinity Church … at twelve o’clock” on 8 Aug. in order to express approval of the Neutrality Proclamation, see the New York Journal, & Patriotic Register, 7 Aug. 1793. GW issued the Neutrality Proclamation on 22 April 1793.

2Nicholas Cruger (1743–1800) was a member of a mercantile and shipping family with extensive interests in the West Indies trade. He was one of those responsible in 1772 for sending the young Alexander Hamilton, who worked as a clerk for Nicholas Cruger’s company in St. Croix, to New York City for an education. Cruger enclosed this address in a letter to GW of 9 Aug. 1793, in which he wrote: “In Obedience to the direction of a numerous & respectable Meeting of the Inhabitants of this City, convened for the purpose of expressing their Approbation of the late Proclamation, which you have caused to be published. I have the honor to transmit to you a copy of their Resolutions, expressive of their warmest approbation of this wise and timely measure of your Administration.

“The occasion has produced the greatest unanimity among our Citizens; and it gives me the highest satisfaction, that I have it in my power to assure you, Sir, that this City is heartily attached to the Constitution of the United States, and so deeply concerned in the preservation of the National Neutrality, will afford a zealous, and decided support to the Magistrates of our Country, in their Efforts to maintain Peace & avoid the Calamities of War” (DLC:GW).

3For examples of New York governor George Clinton’s efforts to enforce the administration’s neutrality policies, see Clinton to GW, 9, 22 June 1793.

4For the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and France, both signed in 1778, see Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed. Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Vol. 2, 1776-1818. Washington, D.C., 1931. description ends , 3–47.

5This may be a reference to the administration’s arrest and trial of mariner Gideon Henfield for his service aboard a French privateer (Cabinet Opinion on French Privateers, 1 June, and note 5, and GW to Cabinet, 3 Aug. 1793, n.4).

6Cruger sent this address and his cover letter of 9 Aug. to Hamilton, who forwarded them to GW (Hamilton to GW, 9 Aug. [second letter]). For GW’s reply, see his letter to Cruger of 12 Aug. 1793.

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