From Edmund Randolph1
Philadelphia July 31st 1793
The question, arising upon Mr Lovell’s letter,2 turns upon the identity of the vessel. If she remain a french bottom, a Register cannot be granted; if she has been converted into an american bottom it may.
I shall enter into no subtle disquisition on such an occasion; but shall conform myself to practical ideas. It seems to be agreed in England and Philadelphia, that a vessel of the description in that letter, has not changed her country; but is still French. I am therefore of opinion, that nothing short of the process, suggested by Mr Lovell will justify a register; but that will.
I have the honor Sir, to be &c
Copy, RG 39, Collector of Customs at Boston, Letters from the Treasury, 1789–1807, Vol. 4, National Archives.