Cabinet Opinion on French Privateers, 17 June 1793

Cabinet Opinion on French Privateers

June 17. 1793

At a meeting of the heads of departments at the President's this day, on summons from him, a letter from Mr. Genet of the 15th. inst. addressed to the Secretary of state on the subject of the seizure of a vessel by the Govr. of New York as having been armed, equipped and manned in that port with a design to cruize on the enemies of France, was read, as also the draught of an answer prepared by the Secretary of state, which was approved.

Read also a letter of June 14. from Mr. Hammond to the Secretary of state, desiring to know whether the French privateers the Citizen Genet and Sans Culottes are to be allowed to return or send their prizes into the ports of the US. It is the opinion that he be informed that they were required to depart to the dominions of their own sovereign and nothing expressed as to their ulterior proceedings. And that in answer to that part of the same letter which states that the Sans Culottes has increased it's force in the port of Baltimore and remains there in the avowed intention of watching the motions of a valuable ship now lying there, it be answered that we expect the speedy departure of those privateers will1 obviate the inconveniences apprehended2, and that it will be considered3 whether any practicable arrangements can be adopted to prevent the augmentation of the force of armed vessels.

Th: Jefferson
A Hamilton
H. Knox

MS (DLC: Washington Papers); in TJ’s hand, with emendations, signed by TJ, Hamilton, and Knox; written with Cabinet Opinion on Relations with Spain and Great Britain, 20 June 1793, on a sheet folded to make four pages, with opinions on first two pages and endorsement by Washington on the fourth, the third being blank. FC (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand, with names of signatories and some words abbreviated and one phrase omitted; written on a sheet bearing on verso Cabinet Opinion on Relations with Spain and Great Britain, 20 June 1793. Enclosed in TJ to George Washington, 19 June 1793.

  1. TJ here canceled “soon put an end to these questions.”
  2. TJ originally ended the sentence at this point before adding the remainder.
  3. TJ first wrote “and that armed vessels will not be permitted,” and then canceled the last six words and wrote “the US. will consider” before reworking the passage to read as above.