Alexander Hamilton Papers

Edmund Randolph to Edmond Charles Genet, 5 February 1794

Edmund Randolph to Edmond Charles Genet1

Philadelphia Feby. 5. 1794


I do myself the honor of informing you that the French Ship L’Orient of Bengal now lying in the port of Philadelphia attracts the attention omit these words (and excites the suspicion) of the Executive.2 It is represented that on her arrival she was a private ship the property of the French East India company3 and though armed was without a public Commission (had a complete military equipment and belonged to the East India Company)
(of L’Orient) omit—that possession has been since taken of her under your authority for the use of the French Nation—that as an Evidence of her being destined to be used on public service the uniform of France appears to be worn by those who are attached to her and that she is to be commissioned here4 to cruise upon the other belligerent Powers. This last circumstance when connected with those preceding will if it be true be immediately seen to infringe the rules prescribed by the President5 of The UStates, and therefore (deserves an inquiry on =demands an explicit declaration
=our part that it is deemed inadmissible, and the expression of an our part. You will permit me to hope for an answer whether a
=expectation that if any such intention has been entertained it will be renounced Commission has been and is intented to be given to the L’Orient to
cruise on the enemies of France—and I ask this the rather because a =and that no appearances will continue to exist of a nature to excite
candid Exposition on one side of what produces suspicion, and a =inquietude here or suspicions elsewhere of the Candour of the UStates. A
similar reply on the other promises a continuance of that harmony =reliance is entertained that no embarrassment will in this instance be occasioned
which it will always be my wish to maintain.) =to the Government.

Note at foot

Corrections are proposed according to the Interlineations. The word harmony which has a personal reference to Mr Genet appears particularly exceptionable under the circumstances.

A Hamilton

The corrections proposed are the interlineations marked thus =.

Df, in the handwriting of H, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1For background to this letter, see H to George Washington, January 30, 1794.

H endorsed this draft “Copy of a Letter proposed by the Secy of State to Mr. Genet with corrections.” Many of the corrections which H proposed were used in the letter which Randolph sent to Genet on February 7, 1794 (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 26, 1794, National Archives).

2In the letter which Randolph sent to Genet “government” was substituted for “Executive.”

3In the letter which Randolph sent to Genet “of some company in France” was substituted for “the property of the French East India company.”

4“Within the United States” was used in the letter which Randolph sent to Genet.

5The letter which Randolph sent to Genet reads as follows from this point: “and now demands the repetition of the former declaration, that the giving of such a commission is inadmissible. You will suffer me therefore to expect an answer, explanatory of this affair, and, if any intention of commissioning the L’Orient has been entertained, that it will be renounced. The removal of suspicion at its earliest stage is the surest mode of continuing between the United States and France that harmony which it will be always my wish to maintain.”

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