George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 23 February 1794

From Edmund Randolph

[Philadelphia] Feby 23. 1794.

E. Randolph has the honor of inclosing to the President the draught of a message for the letters of Mr Pinckney, and our commissioners in Spain.1

E.R. took occasion last evening, to introduce the President’s invitation to the minister Fauchet, omitting the consul, with a view to ascertain the participation, which the latter may have in the functions of the former. It was quickly ascribed by them to the established etiquette; without any title being urged on the part of the consul, from the circumstance of having a diplomatic connection. But from the manner, in which they spoke; from Petry’s running before Fauchet in very confidential discourse; and from a very animated contact between them, whether they had brought over a paper, which belonged to the ministerial character alone; I cannot doubt, that they are associated.2

Fauchet did not see Mr Morris before his departure; barely gave a tolerable account of his not doing so; was ignorant of the name of his residence; and almost of its position. He Said, that he understood it to be in the country. This leads me to suspect, that some thing is to come.3

When Fauchet speaks of Genet, he slips over the instructions, which have been published, as lightly as possible; saying, that whatever appearance of truth may be worn, he knows nothing of their truth.4


1The enclosed draft, which has not been found, was for GW’s letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives of 24 February. For Thomas Pinckney’s letter to the secretary of state of 25 Nov. 1793, see n.2 of Randolph’s first letter to GW of 19 February. For the letter from William Carmichael and William Short to the secretary of state of 22 Oct. 1793, see n.3 of GW’s letter to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives of 24 February.

2Unfortunately, Fauchet, the newly arrived French minister plenipotentiary, did not speak English and had no diplomatic experience. Randolph and others in the administration apparently suspected that the more experienced Petry, the new French consul at Philadelphia, had more influence and responsibility than was usually assigned to a consul.

3Gouverneur Morris, the U.S. minister to France, purchased a home outside of Paris in 1793 in order to escape the often dangerous turmoil of the city during the French Revolution. The house was situated in the village of Seine-Port, approximately 27 miles from Paris (Morris to Thomas Jefferson, 13 Feb. 1793, 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 , 25:193–94). Fauchet reputedly set sail from the French port of Brest on 18 Dec. 1793 (General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 25 Feb. 1794).

4Printed translations of “Instructions to Citizen Genet, Minister Plenipotentiary from the French Republic to the United States, from the Executive Council, and Minister of Marine” were included in Genet’s Correspondence between Citizen Genet, Minister of the French Republic, to the United States of North America, and the Officers of the Federal Government; to Which Are Prefixed the Instructions from the Constituted Authorities of France to the Said Minister. All from Authentic Documents (Philadelphia, 1793). On these instructions, see n.1 of Thomas Jefferson to GW, 28 Dec. 1793.

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