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to rufus king 1 - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 10 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 10.
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to rufus king1
Aug. 13, 1793.
The post of to-day brought me your letter of the 10th, but I was too much engaged to reply to it by return of post.
The facts with regard to Mr. Genet’s threat, to appeal from the President to the people, stand thus:
On Saturday, the 6th of July last, the warden of this port reported to Governor Mifflin that the brig Little Sarah, since called the Petit Democrat (an English merchant vessel, mounting from two to four guns, taken off our coast by the French frigate the Ambuscade, and brought into this port), had very materially altered her military equipments, having then fourteen iron cannon and six swivels mounted, and it being understood that her crew was to consist of one hundred and twenty men.
Governor Mifflin, in consequence of this information, sent Mr. Dallas to Mr. Genet to endeavor to prevail upon him to enter into an arrangement for detaining the vessel in port, without the necessity of employing for that purpose military force.
Mr. Dallas reported to Governor Mifflin that Mr. Genet had absolutely refused to do what had been requested of him, that he had been very angry and intemperate, that he had complained of ill-treatment from the government, and had declared that “he would appeal from the President to the people”; mentioned his expectation of the arrival of three ships of the line, observing that he would know how to do justice to his country, or, at least, he had a frigate at his command, and could easily withdraw himself from this; said that he would not advise an attempt to take possession of the vessel, as it would be resisted.
The refusal was so peremptory that Governor Mifflin, in consequence of it, ordered out 120 men for the purpose of taking possession of the vessel.
This conversation between Genet and Dallas was in toto repeated by General Mifflin to General Knox the day following, and the day after that the governor confirmed to me the declaration with regard to appealing to the people, owned that something like the threat to do justice to his country by means of the ships of the line was thrown out by Mr. Genet, but showed an unwillingness to be explicit on this point, objecting to a more particular disclosure, that it would tend to bring Mr. Dallas into a scrape.
Mr. Jefferson, on Sunday, went to Mr. Genet, to endeavor to prevail upon him to detain the Petit Democrat until the President could return and decide upon the case, but, as Mr. Jefferson afterwards communicated, he absolutely refused to give a promise of the kind, saying only that she would not probably be ready to depart before the succeeding Wednesday, the day of the President’s expected return. This, however, Mr. Jefferson construed into an intimation that she would remain. Mr. Jefferson also informed that Mr. Genet had been very unreasonable and intemperate in his conversation (though he did not descend to particulars), and that Dallas had likewise told him (Mr. Jefferson) that Genet had declared he would appeal from the President to the people.
The Petit Democrat, instead of remaining, as Mr. Jefferson had concluded, fell down to Chester previous to the Wednesday referred to, where she was when the President returned. A letter was written to Mr. Genet, by order of the President, informing him that the case of the vessel, among others, was under consideration, and desiring that she might be detained until he should come to a decision about her, but this requisition was disregarded. She departed in defiance of it.
I give this detail that you may have the whole subject before you, but I cannot authorize you to make use of it all. The circumstance of the letter may be omitted. It may be said generally that a requisition was made of Mr. Genet, by order of the President, for the detention of the vessel. All that part, however, which is scored or underlined, may be freely made up. This part is so circumstanced as to take away all scruples of personal or political delicacy. ’T is not so with the rest. It can therefore only be confidentially disclosed to persons whose discretion may be relied on, and whose knowledge of it may be useful.
It is true (as you have heard) that things, if possible still more insulting, have since been done by Mr. Genet; but of this at present no use can be made, no more than of some antecedent transactions nearly, if not quite, as exceptional. The mass would confound Mr. Genet and his associates. Perhaps it may not be long before a promulgation will take place.
I am of opinion with you that the charge ought to be insisted upon.
P. S.—The case does not require the naming General Knox or myself, and it will therefore not be done. It is to be observed that the equipments of the Petit Democrat are, in the strictest sense, an original fitting out. She was before a merchant vessel; here she was converted into a vessel commissioned for war, of considerable force.
Chief-Justice Jay and Mr. King had declared publicly that Genet had threatened to appeal to the people against the President, which produced profound indignation, and turned the current of public feeling against Genet and his partisans. Freeman’s Gazette was frantic in its abuse of the informers, as it called them, and Genet denied the charge. Finally Jay and King made a decisive counter-statement, and this letter was written probably to aid in its preparation.