Edmund Randolph to Perez Morton
Philadelphia June 19. 1794.
It is impossible to recollect the sufferings of our captive brethren in algiers, without feeling a high respect for the exertions, made by the manager of the Boston Theatre, for their relief.1 But however great the interest may be, which the President of the United States takes in their fate and happiness, he is of opinion, that he ought to decline any other agency upon the occasion, than what is provided for and prescribed by the laws. I have the honor, Sir, to be with great respect yr mo. ob. servt
Copy, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.
1. Morton was among the trustees of the Boston Theatre, newly constructed on Federal Street in 1793 and opened in 1794. The performance there on 14 May was devoted by the manager, Charles Stuart Powell (c.1749-1811), "towards relieving the sufferings of our unhappy captive-brethren in Algiers" and raised $887.28 (Columbian Centinel [Boston], 24 May; Boston Gazette, and Weekly Republican Journal, 19 May). Morton wrote Randolph on 18 May, asking him to inform GW "that the sum collected will be paid at sight to the order of such Person as he shall direct," the sum to be applied to the ransom of the prisoners or "an alleviation of their present sufferings" (DNA: RG 59, Consular Despatches, Algiers). Powell, an actor with the Covent Garden company in England before moving to Boston in 1792, left the Boston Theatre in 1796. In 1797 he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he was based until his death.