Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on Submission
of Thomas Pinckney’s Letters to Congress
[Philadelphia, April 24, 1794]
The Secretary of state submits to the Secretaries of the treasury and war, whether the inclosed letters from Mr. Pinckney or either of them shall be sent to congress.
E. R. is of opinion, that the letter of the 28th. of Jany, and not the other ought to be sent.1
April 24, 1794.2
I am [of] opinion that it is not adviseable to send either. That of the 28th of January contains no new substantive matter material to the information of Congress & mere stimulants do not seem to be necessary.
I do not conceive the propriety of transmitting these letters to Congress
D, in the handwriting of Edmund Randolph, H, and Henry Knox, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Edmund Randolph had received Pinckney’s second dispatch of January 28, 1794, and that of January 29 earlier in the week. Both tended to support views which H had been attempting to combat (H to George Washington, April 14, 1794). On January 28, 1794, Pinckney had complained that he had had no part in the revocation of the British order in council of November 6, 1793, for the British Minister had put off making an appointment with Pinckney until the decision for revocation had been reached. Pressure from British merchants, the alarm caused by the prospect of an American war, and French military victories were the forces which had brought about the change in policy (ALS, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to Great Britain, November 29, 1791–May 4, 1797, National Archives). For the orders in council of November 6, 1793, and January 8, 1794, see H to Washington, March 8, 1794. On January 29 Pinckney sent a report on the political state of Europe. After pointing out the dissensions and weaknesses in all Britain’s allies he noted the growing strength of France and her friendliness to recent American visitors (ALS, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to Great Britain, November 29, 1791–May 4, 1797, National Archives).
Presumably Randolph is not referring here to Pinckney’s other dispatch of January 28, 1794, received at the same time, which transmitted a memorial to Lord Grenville concerning the order in council of June 8, 1793. George Hammond’s reply to this memorial had already been placed before Congress (see the first “Conversation with George Hammond,” April 15–16, 1794). On May 12, 1794, Washington submitted to Congress Randolph’s reply to Hammond and Pinckney’s original memorial (GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XXXIII, 363–64).
2. Up to this point the document is in the handwriting of Randolph.
3. This paragraph was written and signed by H.
4. This sentence was written and signed by Knox.