George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 19 August 1794

To Edmund Randolph


Dear Sir,Tuesday Morning 19th Augt—94.

I sincerely condole with you & Mrs Randolph on your late loss; but as it was an event which had been long expected, I hope she will meet the stroke with fortitude.1

Under the circumstances wch exist it is by no means my desire that you should attend to the duties of yr Departmt in the City to day—unless it accords perfectly with your convenience & inclination. In that case & that only It is my wish that the files of your Office may be thoroughly examined to see if such communications are on them as Mr Jaudenes refers to. and that you, & the Secrety of the Treasury wd give this matter full consideration between this & tomorrow when, at ten Oclock I will meet you both at my house in town to know the result & to converse further on this subject which from present appearances, I think undignified—& highly insulting on the part of Spain.2 Yours Affectly

G. W——n


1The nature of the Randolphs’ "late loss" has not been determined. Perhaps their youngest son, who had fallen ill in January, had died (see Randolph to GW, 25 Jan.).

2According to the translation of a letter that Spanish commissioner José de Jaudenes wrote Randolph on 16 Aug. (docketed as received on 18 Aug.), "no progress has been made in the negociation pending between the King my master & the United States on account of the reason I so often gave your predecessor, by writing & conversation, that his Majesty would enter into no treaty if the powers delegated to the Ministers of the States were not ample—or that they had private instructions that should have for their object the concluding a partial & not general treaty; & at least that the Ministers appointed for that purpose by the States should in every respect be such whose Characters, Conduct & Splendor would render them proper persons to reside near his Royal person; which is required by the importance of the business to be treated on.

"With this intent the King orders me to make known to the President of the U.S. ’that Spain is ready to treat with the U.S. on whatever relates to the Limits, Indians, Commerce & whatever else may cement the strictest Amity between the two countries, but as the powers, given Messrs Carmichael & Short, the incompetency of the former being so notorious well known, & the conduct of the latter has been also very close & circumspect, it is not possible to conclude such important matters with them—& in consideration of these reasons His Majesty hopes the U.S. will send another person or persons with full powers to settle the Treaty, but such whose Characters & abilities will insure them a kind reception on the part of the King’" (DNA: RG 59, Notes from the Spanish Legation).

On 20 Aug., Randolph replied to Jaudenes, who was in New York, asking him to return to Philadelphia for an interview and to inform Randolph "of the dates of those writings, in which you imparted to Mr Jefferson the difficulties expressed in your letter" (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters). Jaudenes responded on 22 Aug. by promising an immediate return and referring Randolph to letters from Jaudenes and José Ignacio de Viar to Thomas Jefferson of 25 and 27 Jan. 1792 (DNA: RG 59, Notes from the Spanish Legation; for the 1792 letters, see Jefferson Papers, 23:67-68, 78-81).

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