George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Dobbs Spaight, 10 April 1794

From Richard Dobbs Spaight

No. Carolina New Bern 10th April 1794


In the course of the last month I received the Secretary of wars letter of the 22nd Feb: respecting the sloop L’amee Margueritte;1 but as I had on the 8th Feb: forwarded on to you copies of all the papers then in my possession relating to her;2 and as Mr Hill the Atto. of the United States had informed me in his letter of the 12th of the same month, that he had sent by post to the Secretary of State, the examination which he had taken relative to her capture, I did not think it prudent either to take off the arrest or to restore her to her former owners till I had received your ultimate decision thereon she therefore still continues in the custody of the militia.3

Some days ago I received from Mr Severin Erickson a letter dated the 27th March, enclosing Capt: Hervieux’s statement of facts relative to the Capture of the sloop Providence attested by Mr Mangourit the french Consul at Charleston, I do myself the honor to enclose you copies of both: I shall direct the marshall to restore to Captain Hervieux his trunk, papers and cloths, which I hope will meet with your approbation.4

Agreable to the Secretary of wars letter of the 26th of March, which I received by express the 3rd inst: I immediately issued orders to the commanding officers of the counties in which the different ports lay, that they should in all cases where application was made to them, by the revenue officers, assist with the militia under their command in carrying the embargo into full force and effect.5 I have the honor &c.

R.D. Spaight

LB, Nc-Ar: Governors’ Letterbooks.

1For Henry Knox’s letter to Spaight of 22 Feb. concerning the privateer Aimée Marguerite, the former British sloop Providence before its capture by the French, see n.1 of Knox to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., the same date.

2For the various papers forwarded to GW, see Spaight’s first letter to GW of 8 February.

3The letter from U.S. District Attorney William H. Hill to Spaight of 12 Feb. and the “examination” sent to Edmund Randolph have not been identified.

4In his letter to Spaight of 22 March, Severin Erickson wrote: “At the Request of Mr Mangourit Consul of the French Republic at Charleston, I do myself the honour to forward you the legalized copy of the Procés-verbal of Captn Hervieux and his Officers relative to the Capture of the Sloop Providence last June, which will serve to convince your Excellency of the distance the said Sloop was taken from the Shores and Territory of the United-States. As Captain Hervieux’s Agent here, I was likewise directed to demand the Redelivery of his Trunk, Clothes, Commission and the Consul’s dispatches, which have been so long detained by the Marshall here. Mr Blakely professed his Willingness to return the said Effects, but said that he could not do it without your Excellency’s Approbation” (Nc-Ar: Governor’s Papers, Richard Dobbs Spaight). The enclosed statement from Hervieux and his officers has not been identified. U.S. deputy marshal John Blakeley had been charged with responsibility for the confiscated items (Spaight to GW, 8 Feb. [second letter]).

5Knox’s letter to Spaight of 26 March was the circular letter sent to the governors of the maritime states informing them of the embargo established by the congressional resolution of 26 March (Nc-Ar: Governors’ Letterbooks; Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:400; see also n.1 of Thomas Mifflin to GW, 27 March).

Index Entries