Notes on the Citoyen Genet and Its Prizes, 20 May 1793

Notes on the Citoyen Genet and Its Prizes

Qu. shall the Privateer fitted out at Charleston, and her prizes be ordered out of the ports of the US.?

May 20. 93.

 I. As Punishment.

explain circumstance which drove Genet into the Southern passage

induced him to land at Charleston

Fr. citizens solliciting commission to arm.—Governr. winking at it.

words of XXII. art. shall not be lawful for enemies of Fr. fit out privateers

Implication that it shall be lawful for French.

so understood universally. by every one here—by ourselves at Charleston—by Genet.

still true that is not expressly permitted—may be forbidden.

but till forbidden must be slight offence.

the Prohibition to be future, not Retrospective.

 II. Right.

What Right to order away?

XVII. makes Lawful to enter with prizes and stay.

in whom is the Right to these privateers and prizes?

Fr. citizens retain fidelity in foreign country

have right to return to defence of country by sea or land.

may confer on that, associate, contribute money

may buy vessel with own money—man her themselves

on condition commit no hostility within limits of US.

as soon as out of limits themselves and vessel free as any other.

Fr. citizens ante-residents, on same footing as new visitants.

when take a vessel at sea, property transferred by laws of war.

this point understood at former conference.

for if not transferred should be given up.

if right transferred then XVIIth. article authorises entry

no half-way act justifiable.

obj. it is Punishment for the offence.

ans. no offence till forbidden.—looks only to future. 

III. Policy of this Touchiness.

Minister newly arrived

First from the Republic

Popularity of French nation and cause.

Proposals he brings

no call of Guarantee

free trade to islands } by treaty
to France

shall such a mission be received with reprimand?

and for whom. for England?

for confederated princes?

our reward the Cyclops’ boon to Ulysses. last devoured. Od. ι. 369

are we playing the part England plaid? force France to attack us?

that we may take side with the Confederated princes?

 the party wishing that is very small.

[On verso:]

H. and K. were of opinion for giving up the prize, but if that could not

be, then to order away the privateer and prize; and if that could not

be, then to order away the privateer.

T.J. of opinion that neither could be given up or ordered away.

E.R. for ordering away the privateer and nothing more.

The President confirmed the last opinion and it seemed to be his own. 

MS (DLC); entirely in TJ's hand, with all but the final four paragraphs written on recto and the rest at another time on verso (see note below).

This document consists of two sections evidently written at different times on 20 May 1793. The first part, containing all but the four paragraphs written on verso, consists of notes of points TJ planned to make at a Cabinet meeting on the subject of the Citoyen Genet, The privateer fitted out at Charleston by direction of the new French minister, Edmond Charles Genet, and the William and the Active, the British prizes it had brought to Philadelphia (see note to Opinion on the Restoration of Prizes, 16 May 1793). Since TJ did not date the second part, which consists of the notes on the Cabinet's deliberations on this subject that he set down on verso—the only known record of this meeting—the tentative presumption is that this session took place on 20 May 1793.