Alexander Hamilton Papers

List of Names From Whence to Take a Minister for France, [19 May 1794]

List of Names From Whence to Take
a Minister for France1

[Philadelphia, May 19, 1794]

Georgia Nathaniel Pendleton (District Judge)2
S Carolina J Rutlege4
E Rutlege5
CC Pinkney6
Pinkney (late Governor)7
North Carolina
Virginia T. Jefferson
J Madison
Mc. Clurgh8 } Principles as to
FR unknown
J Marshall9
E Randolph
Henry Lee10
Maryland Governor Johnson11 } ditto
James McHenry12
Syms Lee13
Delaware Paca14
Pennsylvania Thomas Mifflin15
W. Bingham16
Franklin (absent)17
Bradford (Atty General)18
New Jersey
New York G. Clinton20
Connecticut Humphreys21
Massachusetts N Hampshire
Charles Jarvis22
James Sullivan23
E Gerry24

AD, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1As early as December 11, 1793, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had informed George Washington that Gouverneur Morris was persona non grata at Paris (ALS, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress). After the French government had recalled Edmond Genet, the United States Government was under considerable pressure to reciprocate by removing Morris from his post in Paris. See “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on Communicating to the Senate the Dispatches of Gouverneur Morris,” January 28, 1794. On April 21, 1794, Edmund Randolph promised Genet’s successor, Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet, that a new Minister to France would be appointed (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2-June 26, 1794, National Archives). From that date until the appointment of James Monroe on May 27, 1794, the President was canvassing possibilities for the post. On April 29, 1794, Washington wrote to John Jay, suggesting that after Jay had finished his “business as Envoy,” he might accept an appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary at London, freeing Thomas Pinckney to accept the same position in Paris (ADfS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). On April 30, Jay refused the appointment (ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). Anticipating Jay’s refusal, Washington had enclosed in his letter to Jay a letter offering the post at Paris to Chancellor Robert R. Livingston (see Richard Harison to H, May 16, 1794, note 6). Soon after the receipt of Livingston’s letter of May 15 refusing the post, Washington evidently asked the members of his cabinet for suggestions. On May 19, 1794, Randolph submitted “the following names, for consideration, as successors to Mr. Morris, without however undertaking to say by any means, that I could recommend all of them. Edward Rutledge. South Carolina. James Innes. Virginia. William Paca. Maryland. Govr. Mifflin—Pennsylvania. Governor Lee—Virginia.” Randolph added that “Colo. Hamilton, General Knox and Mr. Bradford either have or will furnish their lists …” (ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). Bradford’s list has not been found, but on May 18, 1794, Knox wrote to Washington and submitted “the following names, out of which it might be proper to nominate a character as Minister to the republic of France.

“Mr. Pinckney provided he should not be deemed essential to Mr Jays negociations, and also, provided, it should be judged the measure would not be disagreeable to him. But in either case Colonel [David] Humphreys. I believe he has in no wise indicated opinions unfavorable to the french revolution—but on the contrary.

“If however it should be judged indispensible to send a person immediately from the United States then one of the following characters. Mr Jefferson Mr Madison the most suitable if attainable Governor Henry Lee Governor Sims Lee William Bingham John Rutledge Edward Rutledge Charles Thomson Elbridge Gerry.” (ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.)

Washington endorsed H’s list, printed above, as follows: “From the Secy. of the Treasury List of names—from whence to take a Minister for France. 19th May 1794.”

2Pendleton was United States judge for the District of Georgia.

3Abraham Baldwin had served in the Continental Congress from 1785 to 1788, was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and was a Federalist member of the House of Representatives from Georgia from 1789 to 1799.

4John Rutledge had been a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765 and to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776, and in 1782 and 1783. He had served as president of South Carolina from 1776 to 1778 and as governor from 1779 to 1782. He represented South Carolina in the Constitutional Convention in 1788. From 1789 to 1791 he was an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was appointed chief justice in 1795, but the Senate failed to confirm the appointment.

5Edward Rutledge, brother of John Rutledge, had served as a member of the Board of War during the Revolution and in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1782, 1786, 1788, and 1792. He was a member of the South Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1790.

6Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina was a well-known public servant. In February, 1794, he declined an appointment as Secretary of War (Pinckney to Washington, February 24, 1794 [ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress]). In December, 1796, he was appointed to succeed James Monroe as United States Minister to France.

7Charles Pinckney, cousin of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, had served in the Continental Congress from 1784 to 1787 and as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was governor of South Carolina from 1789 to 1792.

8James McClurg of Richmond was that city’s leading physician.

9In 1794 John Marshall was practicing law in Richmond.

10Lee was governor of Virginia.

11Thomas Johnson, governor of Maryland from 1777 to 1779, had also served as associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1791 to 1793 and as a commissioner for laying out the new Federal City.

12In 1794 McHenry was a member of the Maryland state legislature.

13Thomas Sim Lee was governor of Maryland from 1779 to 1783 and from 1792 to 1794.

14William Paca was United States judge for the District of Maryland.

15Mifflin was governor of Pennsylvania.

16William Bingham, a founder and director of the Bank of North America, was one of the wealthiest men in America. In 1794 he was in the Pennsylvania legislature.

17William Temple Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, had spent a considerable amount of time abroad as secretary to his grandfather and as a land agent for Robert Morris.

18William Bradford was Attorney General of the United States.

19Jared Ingersoll, one of Philadelphia’s most distinguished lawyers, was attorney general of Pennsylvania.

20George Clinton was governor of New York.

21David Humphreys was United States Minister at Portugal.

22Dr. Charles Jarvis was a prominent Boston physician.

23Sullivan was attorney general of Massachusetts.

24Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts had served in the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1781 and from 1782 to 1785. Gerry had signed the Declaration of Independence and represented Massachusetts in the Constitutional Convention. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1789 to 1793.

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