From Edmund Randolph
Philadelphia March 1. 1794.
I made the informal communication to Mr Jaudenes. He expressed himself to be satisfied with the exertions of the general government; tho’ he questioned, whether the governor of Kentucky has done, what he was commanded by the President to do.1
Mr Fauchet also was extremely frank in disavowing his predecessor’s conduct. He says, that he will conform to any thing, which shall be prescribed to him by the United States; and at 6 o’clock this evening he is to meet me again at my house.2
The papers, which Colo. Smith delivered to you, fall within the arrangement of the vexations and spoliations, in which I am now employed. As soon as I can see him, I will explain the affair to him.3 I have the honor, sir, to be with the highest respect yr mo. ob. serv.
ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA 59: GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.
1. Randolph’s informal communication with Spanish commissioner José de Jaudenes concerned a planned expedition led by American George Rogers Clark, and composed mainly of residents from the state of Kentucky, against Spain’s Louisiana territory. Contrary to instructions written on 29 Aug. and 6 Nov. 1793 by former secretary of state Thomas Jefferson to Isaac Shelby, the governor was reluctant to interfere with Clark’s preparations, as seen in his letter to Jefferson of 13 Jan. 1794 (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 , 1:455–56).
2. Fauchet, the recently arrived French ambassador, disavowed the actions of his predecessor, Edmond Genet, who had encouraged Clark and others to prepare expeditions against Spanish territory. To this end, he issued a public declaration on 6 March declaring that “EVERY Frenchman is forbid to violate the Neutrality of the United States. All commissions or authorizations tending to infringe that neutrality are revoked and are to be returned to the agents of the French Republic” (General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 7 March).
3. According to GW’s executive journal, the papers from Maryland congressman Samuel Smith were “sundry letters written by Capt. Joshua Barney and other papers relating to his being captured by a British frigate & carried into Kingston, Jamaica & treated in the most shameful manner” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 287). These documents have not been identified. While returning from the French colony of Saint Domingue, Barney and his ship Sampson were captured on 6 Dec. 1793 by the British frigate Penelope and taken to Jamaica to stand trial. Although he was acquitted of the charges against him, his ship and cargo were condemned. The story of his capture and return to Baltimore on 16 May 1794 can be found in the various newspapers reports published about him in 1794 (American Minerva [Norfolk, Va.], 3 Feb.; General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 1 May; Dunlap’s American Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia], 15 April; and Baltimore Daily Intelligencer, 19 May). On Barney’s return, see also Randolph to Alexander Hamilton, 16 June (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:490–91). Randolph submitted an “abstract of vexations and spoliations of our commerce,” which has not been identified, with his letter to the U.S. Senate of 20 May (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 , 1:461).