George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 27 February 1794

From Edmund Randolph

[Philadelphia] Feb: 27. 1794.

The secretary of State has the honor of reporting to the President on the letter of Mr Short from San Lorenzo, of Novr 6. 1793, as follows:

The first paragraph, and several others succeeding, relate to the causes of delay in the departure of Mr Blake.

The four marked thus (X) mention, that Spain has furnished a convoy to American vessels against the Algerines; that the answer, promised by the Duke de la Alcudia, is not yet given; and that there are some omens of a communication, being intended to be permitted between the citizens of the U.S. and New Orleans. These the Secretary proposes to be sent to congress.1

Most of the remaining parts of the letter are upon the European War and politics; but we have received later advices.

The last speaks of Colo. Humphries; and tho’ it renders it certain, that he had not quitted Europe, leaves it uncertain in what part of Spain he was, at the date of the letter.2

Edm: Randolph

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.

1The enclosed copy of William Short’s letter to the secretary of state of 6 Nov. 1793, with its four marked passages, has not been found. A letter-book copy, however, is in DNA: RG 59, Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Spain, and an extract, containing the four marked passages, is in ASP, Foreign Relations description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:413. For a previous report on the difficulty of finding a safe passage for American diplomatic dispatches and courier James Blake, see William Carmichael and Short to the Secretary of State, 22 Oct. 1793, in n.3 of GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 24 Feb. 1794. The question presented to Godoy, Duque de Alcudia, was whether Spain would interfere if war should take place between the United States and the Indians of the Southwest Territory. According to Carmichael and Short’s letter of 22 Oct., Godoy had promised “an immediate answer.” Part of Carmichael and Short’s mission was to obtain from Spain the right to free navigation on the Mississippi River, with a right of deposit at or near the port of New Orleans for Americans (“Report on Negotiations with Spain,” 18 March 1792, 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 , 23:296–317).

2David Humphreys’ letters to the secretary of state of 5 and 9 Nov. 1793 were written at Alicante, a Spanish port on the Mediterranean Sea, where he had arrived on 1 Nov. in hopes of securing passage to Algiers (RG 59, Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Portugal). On Humphreys’ commission to negotiate a treaty with Algiers and obtain the release of the Americans held captive there, see GW to the Dey of Algiers, 21 March 1793. On his failure to obtain a passport from Algiers at this time, see his letter to GW of 23 Nov. 1793.

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