Front Page Titles (by Subject) CABINET OPINION ON LITTLE SARAH J. MSS. - The Works, vol. 7 (Correspondence 1792-1793)
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CABINET OPINION ON “LITTLE SARAH” J. MSS. - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 7 (Correspondence 1792-1793) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 7
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CABINET OPINION ON “LITTLE SARAH”J. MSS.
July 8, 1793.
At a meeting at the State house of the City of Philadelphia,
Present: the Secretary of state, the Secretary of the Treasury the Secretary at War.
It appears that a brigantine, called the Little Sarah, has been fitted out at the port of Philadelphia, with fourteen cannon & all other equipments indicating that she is intended as a Privateer to cruise under the authority of France, & that she is now lying in the river Delaware, at some place between this city & Mud island; that a conversation has been had between the Secretary of State & the Minister Plenipotentiary of France, in which conversation the Minister refused to give any explicit assurance that the brigantine would continue until the arrival of the President & his decision in the case, but made declarations respecting her not being ready to sail within the time of the expected return of the President, from which the Secretary of state infers with confidence, that she will not sail till the President will have an opportunity of considering & determining the case; that in the course of the conversation, the Minister declared that the additional guns which had been taken in by the Little Sarah were French property, but the Governor of Pennsylvania declared that he has good ground to believe that two of her cannon were purchased here of citizens of Philadelphia.
The Governor of Pennsylvania asks advice what steps, under the circumstances, he shall pursue?
The Secretary of the Treasury & the Secretary of war are of opinion, that it is expedient that immediate measures should be taken provisionally for establishing a battery on Mud island, under cover of a party of militia, with direction that if the brig Sarah should attempt to depart before the pleasure of the President shall be known concerning her, military coercion be employed to arrest and prevent her progress.
The Secretary of state dissents from this opinion.
Information having also been received that part of the crew of the Sarah are citizens of the United States, as can be testified by Charles Biddle of this city.
The above mentioned heads of departments agree that this information shall be communicated to the attorney of the district, in order that, pursuant to his former instructions, he may take measures for apprehending and bringing them to trial.