George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 5 August 1792

From Edmund Randolph

Philadelphia August 5. 1792.

Dear Sir.

The inclosed letter has been delayed, longer than I intended. But whenever I have sat down to finish it, I have been unexpectedly interrupted. I trust, however, that it will reach you, before you shall have taken your definitive resolution.1

I have seen Fraunces thrice at the house; and he has informed me each time, that every thing was right.

Parties run high here in the choice of electors and representatives. The contest is now brought to such a point, that two opposite tickets, without any one name being the same in both, will be vehemently supported. I suspect, that Mr Fitzsimmons’s election is very precarious. He certainly will miscarry, unless the old republican party should be found to be more numerous, than the old constitutional one. For, altho’ the denominations are now lost, the members of them continue unchanged in their temper to each other.2 The quakers seem to be undergoing a revolution in their friendship for governor Mifflin. They insinuate, that he roused the opposition of the people to the appointment of conferees for adjusting a ticket. I cannot ascertain, whether they have good grounds for their resentment.3

We are in hourly expectation of two arrivals from France; from whence we have received no intelligence later than the affair of Gouvion, as published in the gazettes.4

Mrs Randolph begs to be presented to Mrs Washington in the most respectful manner; and I always am, my dear sir, with a very affectionate attachment Yr obliged humble serv.

Edm: Randolph.


2Although Thomas FitzSimons of Pennsylvania was reelected to Congress in November 1792, he was defeated in his bid for a fourth term in 1794.

3For Gov. Thomas Mifflin this matter was a serious concern, because he was a descendant of a prominent Quaker family of Philadelphia who had received substantial support from the Quakers during the gubernatorial election of 1790. Mifflin continued to serve as governor until 1799, however.

4Jean-Baptiste de Gouvion (1747–1792), who had served as an engineer in America during the Revolutionary War, had risen to the rank of colonel in the French army by December 1787. During the French Revolution, Gouvion served as an officer in the Parisian national guard and as a deputy to the national legislative assembly in 1791–92. Having left the legislature in mid-April 1792, Gouvion was killed in action on 11 June 1792 while serving under Lafayette. Randolph probably is referring to a report printed on 4 Aug. in the Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia), which reads in part: “Some time since an account was published of the defeat of a detachment of M. la Fayette’s army, under the command of M. Gouvion, on a foraging party, by an inferior force. That account is far from the truth. It appears that M. Gouvion was attacked by a superior force, but managed a retreat with great skill and success, having, notwithstanding the opposition he experienced, attained the object of his expedition, with little or no loss.”

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