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DEPOSITION OF GEN. ELIJAH CLARK, OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA, RESPECTING A LETTER FROM HIM TO DON DIEGO MORPHY, CONSUL OF HIS CATHOLIC MAJESTY, At Charleston, South-Carolina, CONTAINING The answers of the said Deponent, to certain interroga­tories framed by the COMMITTEE Appointed on the 2d of February last, "To take all such steps as may be necessary for obtain­ing the testimony of the said ELIJAH CLARK, or any other person or persons, on the subject-matter of the said Letter."

Taken before certain Commissioners empowered by the said committee, for the purpose of taking the said deposition.

27th April, 1798, Ordered to lie on the table.

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DEPOSITION.

BY virtue of a resolution of the House of Representa­tives of the United States, passed Friday, the 2d of Fe­bruary, 1798, appointing the Honorable Mr. Sitgreaves, Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Harper, Mr. Dawson, and Mr. Bay­ard, a committee with instructions to take all such steps as might be necessary for obtaining the testimony of Ge­neral Elijah Clark, respecting a letter from the said Clark, to Don Diego Morphy, Consul of His Catholic Majesty, at Charleston, (S. C.) and communicated to the said committee by his Catholic Majesty's Minister Plenipo­tentiary—and by virtue of the power vested in us by the said committee, and agreeable to instructions, bearing date the 20th of February, 1798, WE James Hendricks, William Barnett, David Cresswell, Robert Christmas, John Griffin, and Edwin Mounger, met at Col. Wiley Pope's, in the county and state aforesaid, and having caused General Elijah Clark to come before us—Who being sworn by William Barnet, Esq. one of the Justices of the Inferior court, to make true answers to the interro­gatories transmitted to us and Benjamin Taliaferro, Esq. or any two of us, by the said committee—Deposeth to the first interrogatory, and saith:

That he wrote the letter of which the annexed is a copy, to the best of his knowledge and belief, and to the person to whom it is addressed.

To the second interrogatory, he saith, There was an application made to him as suggested in the said letter. That the application was made to him by one William Carrick, to the best of his recollection, some time in the [Page 3] month of May, in the year 1797, at his house in Wilkes county. That the said Carrick came to his house the day before any propositions were made, and tarried all night. That he appeared to know this deponent, and said he had seen him about ten years before, in Savannah, tho' this deponent could not call to his mind that he had ever seen the said Carrick before—that during the evening he talked much of the existing war between France, Spain, and England—that the day after his arrival, some little time after breakfast he informed this deponent that he was a British captain then from Charleston, and intended to return there as soon as possible, by the way of Savan­nah, where he expected to see Col. John M'Intosh, and that he was authorized by the British government to pro­pose to this deponent 10,000 dollars, as mentioned in the said letter, as a salary, if he, this deponent, would engage in the British service, against the Spaniards and French; and this deponent should hold in the said service, the same rank that he held in the state of Georgia.

That the said proposals were oral, and not in writing: And this deponent further saith, that after he had con­temptuously refused to close with the said propositions, the said Carrick asked this deponent, if any sum would engage this deponent to enter into the service of the Bri­tish government? And having explicitly informed the said Carrick that nothing could induce him to enter into their service, the said Carrick extorted a promise, that nothing more should be said of the propositions, so as aforesaid made, which this deponent felt no reluctance in giving; not believing at the time, that a disclosure could in any manner be interesting to the government of the United States. That the design, scheme or enterprize was not disclosed to this deponent: And that the said Carrick left the house of this deponent in one half hour, he believes, after the said propositions were made and re­jected.

To the third Interrogatory he saith, that he does not know of any proposals made by and on the part of the British, or any other foreign nation, to any other citizen [Page 4] or citizens of the United States, for the purpose of engag­ing them in any enterprize hostile to the United States.

ELIJAH CLARK. X his mark.
Certified by—
  • James Hendricks,
  • William Barnett,
  • David Cresswell,
  • Robert Christmas,
  • John Griffin,
  • and Edwin Mounger,
Com'rs.

INSTRUCTIONS, &c.
To Benjamin Taliaferro, James Hendricks, William Bar­net, David Cresswell, Robert Christmas, John Griffin, and Edwin Mounger, of the state of Georgia, Esquires.

Gentlemen,

ON the 23d of November last, the Minister Ple­nipotentiary of his Catholic Majesty, commu­nicated to the Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States, charged to enquire into the nature and extent of the conspiracy of William Blount, a letter purporting to have been written by General Elijah Clark, of Georgia, to the Spanish Consul, at Charleston, (S. C.) dated "State of Georgia,—Washington, 9th August, 1797," and containing a declaration in the fol­lowing words— ‘An application was made to me from the British, through a channel which bound me to si­lence, if not acquiesced in, and this question asked me by that person,—Whether a salary of 10,000 dollars would or would not induce me to join the British?’ —The House of Representatives having deemed it pro­per to investigate the contents of this letter, and, if pos­sible, to obtain a disclosure of the application to which it refers, have, for that purpose, appointed a committee [Page 5]with instructions to take all such steps as may be ne­cessary for obtaining the testimony of the said General Clark or any other person or persons, touching the subject matter of the said letter.’

You will receive herewith, a copy of the report of the late committee, referring to and including the letter of General Clark; and also a copy of the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 2d of February in­stant, for the appointment of the present committee.

Being informed that you reside in the vicinity of Ge­neral Clark, and having perfect confidence in your zeal and attachment to the welfare of our common country, we have thought that we could not better discharge the functions assigned to us by the House of Representatives, than by delegating to you the care of the examination of the said General Clark, and of such other witnesses in the state of Georgia, as from his information, or from any circumstances within your knowledge, you may be led to believe can throw any light on this subject.

In pursuance, therefore, of the powers and duties committed to us by the said resolution, of the 2d of Fe­bruary, 1798, we do hereby request and authorize you, or any two or more of you, to call before you, at such place as you shall appoint, and as soon as conveniently may be, after the receipt hereof, the said General Elijah Clark, and to examine him, upon oath, in relation to the premises, on the interrogatories accompanying this letter, and on such others as may appear to you to be proper or necessary to effect the desired disclosure, or which may grow out of the examination.

We do further request and authorize you, or any two or more of you, to cause to appear before you, such other person or persons as you may deem to have any knowledge of the subject of this enquiry; and to exam­ine such person or persons, touching the same, on oath, on such interrogatories as the occasion may require: and to make return of the said interrogatories and examina­tions, as soon as may be, to the committee aforesaid, at Philadelphia.

[Page 6]The recited paragraph from the letter of General Clark states, that the application, alluded to, was made to him under injunctions of silence. A good citizen will have no secrets in relation to subjects involving the interests or welfare of his country: And the committee have no doubt that General Clark, paying respect to the high au­thority of the House of Representatives, will make, without any hesitation, a full and particular disclosure of all the circumstances relative to this application: the more especially, as having already departed from the in­junction so far as to mention, that such an application had been made to him, it becomes more strongly his du­ty, now, to relieve the anxiety which this partial commu­nication has produced. You will present these conside­rations to him in such manner as you shall think most likely to be effectual, and to prevent the necessity of sum­moning General Clark to the seat of government.

The expenses which may be necessarily incurred in the execution of the business hereby committed to your care, will be reimbursed to your order on the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

We have the honour to be, With consideration, gentlemen, Your very obedient servants,
  • S. SITGREAVES,
  • ABR. BALDWIN,
  • ROB. G. HARPER.
  • J. DAWSON,
  • JAMES A. BAYARD.

In the House of Representatives of the United States,

On motion,

Resolved, That so much of the report made to this House, on the fourth day of December last, by the com­mittee appointed to prepare articles of impeachment a­gainst William Blount, a Senator of the United States, [Page 7] as relates to a letter from General Elijah Clark, of the state of Georgia, to Don Diego Morphy, consul of his Catholic Majesty at Charleston, South-Carolina, and com­municated to the said committee, by his Catholic Majes­ty's minister plenipotentiary, be referred to a committee, with instructions to take all such steps as may be necessary, for obtaining the testimony of the said General Clark, or any other person or persons, touching the subject-matter of the said letter.

Ordered, That Mr. Sitgreaves, Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Har­per, Mr. Dawson, and Mr. Bayard, be appointed a com­mittee, pursuant to the said resolution.

Extract from the Journal.
JONATHAN W. CONDY, Clerk.

SIR—I RECEIVED your letter by Major Patton, requesting me to inform you the propositions and per­sons who made them to me respecting my junction with the British. The peculiar and delicate manner in which these propositions were made, and the delicacy with which the whole business was conducted, prevents me from giving you that satisfaction on the subject which I wish. I can only say that an application was made to me from the British, through a channel which bound me to silence if not acquiesced in: And this question asked me by that person—Whether a salary of ten thousand dol­lars would or would not induce me to join the British? I answered that no sum could ever induce me to join the British upon any occasion whatever. In fact I reject­ed the offer with disdain. Could I be more explicit up­on the subject, I would gratify you with pleasure, but from the circumstances heretofore mentioned, I am con­fident your good sense will dictate, that silence on my part is the most prudent act.

I am with respect, Sir, your most humble servant, ELIJAH CLARK.
Diego Morphy, Esq. Consul of Spain. (Indorsed)—Hon. pr. Maj. Patton.
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True copy from the original.

JONATHAN W. CONDY. Clerk of the House of Representatives of the United States.

INTERROGATORIES To be administered to General Elijah Clark, by the Commis­sioners for that purpose appointed under the authority of the House of Representatives of the United States.

INTERROGATORY 1.—Was the letter, whereof the an­nexed is a copy, dated "State of Georgia, Washing­ton, 9th August, 1797," and directed "to Diego Mor­phy, Esq. Consul of Spain," Hon. by Maj. Patton," written by you, or by your knowledge or direction, to the person to whom it is addressed?

INTERROGATORY 2.—Was there any application made to you, as suggested in the said letter? If so, by whom, when, and where was it made? What were the propo­sals? and were they oral or written? What was their object? What were the terms or conditions by which it was attempted to engage you? What was the design, scheme or enterprize in which it was proposed that you should engage? and from whom or by whose direc­tions were the proposals made to you? What was you to have undertaken for the salary of 10,000 dollars? —Answer particularly, and fully; and relate, as far as you can recollect, the whole conversation or con­versations, which you have had with the person or per­sons by whom these proposals were made: or, if they were in writing, produce the originals of such writings, or copies of them, if you have not the originals.

INTERROGATORY 3.—Do you know of any proposal made by, or on the part of the British, or any other foreign nation, to any other citizen or citizens of the United States, for the purpose of engaging them in any design or enterprize hostile to the said United States? —If so, declare your knowledge fully, and at large.

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