George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 22 May 1794

From Edmund Randolph

Philadelphia May 22. 1794.

E. Randolph has the honor of returning to the President, the list, which was yesterday put into his hands; and at the same time incloses a letter from Mr Frelinghuysen as to Mr Burr—In a conversation with Mr Madison, his opinion appears to be decided, that the constitution does not incapicate Mr Burr; and that he is a proper person1—An objection seems to be ready in the mouth of some for young Adams; as being the author of some pieces, signed Publicola, about two years ago2—Fauchet did not appear to know Franklin, nor his character; nor yet to feel any attachment to him.


1Neither the list, which apparently contained the names of possible ministers to France, nor the letter from Frederick Frelinghuysen has been identified. The possible constitutional objection to Aaron Burr presumably involved his status as a sitting U.S. senator. Nonetheless, on 26 May, James Monroe wrote that Burr was the leading candidate for the post. When Monroe himself was offered the appointment on that date, he was told that GW had decided against Burr "lest it should seem that he sought persons from that state [New York] only" (Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, 26 and 27 May (Jefferson Papers, 28:85-87).

2The Publicola essays, indeed written by John Quincy Adams although popularly attributed at the time to his father, first appeared in the Columbian Centinel (Boston) in June and July 1791 and were reprinted in other newspapers and as Observations on Paine’s Rights of Man, in a Series of Letters, by Publicola (Glasgow, Scotland, [1792]). The objectors apparently feared that Publicola’s negative comments about the French constitution would make Adams offensive to the French government.

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