From Edmund Randolph
[Philadelphia] March 19. 1794.
E. Randolph has the honor of informing the President, that in a conversation last evening with Mr Madison, he was of opinion, that, altho’ the President had a legal right to dispose of the shares in the two companies, as he pleased; still it might be an unpleasant thing to Virginia to have them given to a continental, instead of a state object. Considering, that Virginia would have a participation in the fruit of an university, placed in the fœderal city, E.R. should not have concluded, as Mr Madison has, from the mere words of the law, that Virginia would Object: but he, (Mr M.) being present at the passage of the law, may probably be a better judge of the prevailing sense of the time.1
1. In 1784 the Virginia legislature gave GW one hundred shares in the James River Company and fifty shares in the Potowmack Company (Va. Statutes [Hening] description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 11:525–26). He was reluctant to accept these shares and induced the legislature to agree in 1785 that the shares and any future profit from them “shall stand appropriated to such objects of a public nature, in such manner, and under such distributions, as the said George Washington, esq., by deed during his life, or by his last will and testament, shall direct and appoint” (Va. Statutes [Hening] description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 12:42–44). For his bequest of the fifty shares in the Potowmack Company “towards the endowment of a UNIVERSITY to be established within the limits of the District of Columbia,” see his Last Will and Testament of 9 July 1799 (Papers, Retirement Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series. 4 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1998–99. description ends , 4:482–83). On his gift of the one hundred shares in the James River Company to Liberty-Hall Academy, present-day Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., see GW to Robert Brooke, 15 Sept. 1796 (ALS, Vi; LB, DLC:GW).