George Clinton to François Thomas Galbaud du Fort
New York 31st August—1793.
In Issuing my directions which I presume from your Letter of this day have been shewn to you1 I have proceded only in pursuance of the Ninth article of the consular Convention between France and the United States—in requiring the Judges and other Officers of the State to perform that duty which by law is required of them.
Whether you & the other persons named in my directions do or do not belong to the Crew of the Jupiter is a question I can only decide from an Inspection of the Roll of that Ship which has been exhibited2—If any deception has been practised the persons who are guilty of it are alone answerable.
It is true there is the mistake you notice in the date of my directions—but this will be immaterial as they will take Effect from the time they were Issued—especially as the law without the formality of an order enjoins this duty on the Majistrate.3
You may be assured that your claim of protection & every duty of Hospitality from this State would be allowed in any case except where an interference between the Government of your Cuntry and its Citizens would as in the present instance be improper. Yours
Copy, DNA: RG 59, Letters from Governors of States, 1790–1812.
1. For Clinton’s directions, see Clinton to GW, 2 Sept., n.3. Galbaud’s letter to Clinton of 31 Aug. protested the order for his arrest, as he had committed no crime in America and had not deserted the fleet, having never belonged to it. Galbaud agreed, however, to obey the order if promised protection until he could return to France to defend his conduct: “⟨Mutilated⟩ avec Surprise l’ordre que vous avez donnez de m’arreter ainsi ⟨que les⟩ Cîtoyens Conscience et Boune n’ayant commis aucune de lit ⟨con⟩tre le territoire americain Je croyois que nul homme n’avoit droit ⟨mutilated⟩ur ma personne: mais comme Je n’ai Jamais en d’autre desir que celui d’aller en france Je suis pres à obtemperer a tout vos ordres si, comme tout Citoyen a droit de l’esperer, vous me promettez sureté a protection jusqu au moment ou je pourrai sans crainte passer en france pour y justifier sa conduite. . . . vous m’accusez dans votre ordre d’etre déserté de la flotte, ou vous a trempè, Je ne fait pas partie de la flotte, les Citoyens Conscience et Boune n’en sont pas d’avantage” (N-Ar: Papers of George Clinton).
3. Galbaud’s letter complained that although Clinton’s order was dated 1 Sept., it was being enforced on 31 August. The French officer who was sent after Galbaud complained that his effort to make an arrest failed in part because local citizens would not acknowledge the orders as valid before 1 Sept. (Arnaud Prêtes to Edmond Genet, 30 Aug. and 1 Sept., DLC: Genet Papers).