Mount Vernon 22d July 1796.
Your letter of the 15th Inst., enclosing a copy of Mr Adets answer to your requisition of the first; and the circular of the Secretary of the Treasury, to the Collectors, has been received; but did not get to my hands until the 20th.
There is a studied delay in the answer of the first, and a misteriousness in his conduct, not easy to be accounted for. It did not, surely, if he had received no information from his Government, and was ignorant of its intentions relatively to the points on which explanations were asked, require (be the pressure of his business what it might) fifteen days to make that declaration; nor will candour & good disposition, justify the measure.
Not having Papers here of a public nature to resort to, I shall hope that the circular letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, to the Collectors; and all the Orders respecting French Prizes, have, in time & manner, been the result of necessity; and not the exercise of discretion; for the restriction now, after a contrary practice has been allowed, will be a source of much discontent; and of course calls for very correct proceedings in the execution of the Treaties, and Laws respecting the case.