George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 7 July 1795

To Alexander Hamilton

Philadelphia 7th July 1795

My dear Sir,

Your letter of yesterday is this moment received.1 Not a line from Mr Pinckney. I fancy he left London for Madrid about the 8th or 10th of May2—Nor has the government any thing but News-paper accounts of the order you allude to.3 Yours ever & Affectly

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Alexander Hamilton Papers.

1This letter has not been found.

2Thomas Pinckney left England for Spain on 11 May.

3The British order in council of 25 April reads: “Secret Instruction to the Commanders of all Our Ships of War, Given at Our Court at St. James’s … Whereas Information has been received that the Persons exercising the Powers of Government in France have made large Purchases of Corn and other Provisions, for the Purpose of being imported into France, under feigned Names and Destinations, in order to supply the Want of Corn and Provisions now existing in that Country, and to enable them to provide for the Support of their Military and Naval Forces in the Prosecution of the unjust War which they are carrying on against Us and Our Allies;

“We, judging it necessary to counteract the said Purposes, and to provide for the Interests of Our People in this Respect, have thought fit to direct that the Commanders of Our Ships of War should, ’till Our further Order herein, detain all Ships loaden with Corn, or other Provisions, that shall be bound to France, or to the Ports occupied by the Armies of France, or which they shall have reason to believe are proceeding to France, or to those Ports occupied by the Armies of France, and which they shall also have reason to believe are laden on Account of the said Persons or of any other [of] His Majesty’s Enemies; and that they should bring all such Ships into such Ports of Great Britain as shall be prescribed to them by Instruction from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, in order to be there dealt with as the Case shall appear to require” (Mayo, Instructions to British Ministers, description begins Bernard Mayo, ed. Instructions to the British Ministers to the United States, 1791–1812. Washington, D.C., 1941. In Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1936, vol. 3. description ends 3:97).

The Philadelphia Gazette & Universal Daily Advertiser of 13 June reprinted a report dated 4 May from The Times (London) that cites “the order lately issued by Council, ‘to take all neutral vessels, carrying provisions to France.’” Secretary of State Edmund Randolph later wrote that “there was nothing satisfactory concerning its existence or particulars” (Randolph, Vindication, description begins Edmund Randolph. A Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation. Philadelphia, 1795. description ends 29).

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