George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 22 February 1794

From Edmund Randolph

[Philadelphia] Saturday 22d Feb. [1794]

E. Randolph has the honor of informing the President, that he will present Mr Fauchet certainly at 12 o’clock; at any rate rather before than after.1

Colo. H. could not go over the whole; but he has agreed to look at the parts, to which his attention may be arrested by my cross in the margin[.] To morrow he will do this.2

The message was advised, as it is now sent.3

As my carriage is not in town, and Mr Fauchet has not one of his own, I mean to borrow one; and to return his visit at 11 o’clock at the city-tavern. From thence, we will proceed to your house, at a quarter before twelve.4

The form, which is submitted is the following:

1. to announce Mr Fauchet by name and description.

2. He will present his sealed credentials with those observations, which the occasion may dictate.

3. The President will open them; and may either deliver them to me to read, or say, that he is apprized of their contents.

4. Will it not be proper for the President, then to say, “I receive you in the quality of minister plenipotentiary of the French Republic”: and to add any complimentary matter.5

5. This being interpreted to him, he will make a reply; which being communicated to you, if you choose to say nothing more, we will, after a convenient pause, retire.

It is probable, that he may return to visit you among others on this day.6


1During the meeting later this day, Jean-Antoine-Joseph Fauchet presented GW with the credentials from the French government that authorized him to succeed Edmond Genet as the French minister plenipotentiary to the United States (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 286).

2The material reviewed by Randolph and Alexander Hamilton may have included unsealed copies of Fauchet’s credentials and other accompanying letters from the Provisional Executive Council of France (see Randolph to GW, 21 Feb., and n.1 to that document).

3Randolph may have been referring to his letter to Fauchet of this date advising the minister of the proposed meeting with GW (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

4The City Tavern, which was owned by Edward Moyston in 1794, was at 86 South Second Street. GW resided at 190 High Street (Philadelphia Directory 1794 description begins James Hardie. The Philadelphia Directory and Register . . .. Philadelphia, 1794. description ends , 110, 161).

5Randolph acted as an interpreter for GW at this meeting. For an account of what GW reputedly said, see James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 2 March 1794, Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 28:26–28.

6GW celebrated his 62nd birthday on this date. According to an account in the 25 Feb. issue of the Philadelphia General Advertiser, the “sound of cannon, bells and drums was heard throughout the day.” A levee held at GW’s home that afternoon “was very numerous. In the evening he and Mrs. Washington were present at a ball and supper given by the City Dancing Assembly, at which several of the foreign Ministers were also present.” After supper, nine toasts were drunk, “the last after the President had retired.” Another newspaper’s account added that the supper and ball were attended by “a number of the members of Congress, the Secretaries of the treasury and of war, the Governors of the State [Thomas Mifflin] and of the Western Territory [Arthur St. Clair], and the most brilliant display of beauty, perhaps, ever exhibited in this city” (Gazette of the United States [Philadelphia], 24 Feb. 1794). The ball was held at Oellers’s Hotel, which was owned by James Oellers and located on Chesnut Street between Sixth and Seventh streets (General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 18 Feb. 1794; Philadelphia Directory 1794 description begins James Hardie. The Philadelphia Directory and Register . . .. Philadelphia, 1794. description ends , 115).

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