George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 21 August 1794

From Edmund Randolph

Thursday seven o’clock. [21 Aug. 1794]1


The inclosed letter from Mr Bradford is this moment received.2

I sent by Mr Cottringer some other letters.3

I now add a letter from Innes to myself, a translation of the German letter, and a further letter and newspaper by the mail.4 I have the honor, sir, to be with the highest respect yr mo. ob. ser.

Edm: Randolph

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.

1The date is taken from the docket with the letter.

2Randolph probably enclosed William Bradford’s letter to him of 15 Aug. (DLC: Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion Collection). From Brown’s Ferry on the Youghiogheny River, Bradford wrote of a visit to Bedford County collector John Webster by some 200 to 300 insurgents on the night of 11 and 12 August. Although "the interference of his neighbours & the more moderate among them prevented his property from being destroyed," the insurgents "made Webster their prisoner: took him with them into Westmoreland County—obliged him to resign his office—tear his commission into pieces & to trample on them. After some personal derision & insult they discharged him & he returned home. There is therefore no office of inspection in any part of the 4th district." Bradford also enclosed a copy of the letter he and fellow commissioner Jasper Yeates had drafted to lay before a meeting of insurgents, although its reception was questionable as "we are well informed that there is extreme irritation in many of the members, and that this is likely to be heightened by the presence of 5 or 600 men from Washington, most of whom were perpetrators in the late outrages." Those with a "disposition to support the laws . . . considered the attempt as fruitless at present." While moderates "had rather the Ascendancy" in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, the insurgents "prevailed wholly in Washington." Later that day from Parkinson’s Ferry, Bradford reported that they had arrived just after the meeting broke up. The third commissioner, James Ross, had informed them of the proceedings, and Bradford enclosed a letter that Ross had written to himself and Yeates along with the proceedings of the meeting.

3These letters have not been identified. Presumably either Garrett Cottringer (c.1759-1816), a Philadelphia merchant, or James Cottringer (1762-c.1795), a Philadelphia china dealer and brush manufacturer, carried them.

4Randolph enclosed a letter from James Innes of 15 Aug. that has not been identified. Innes, who had been asked to serve as a commissioner to inform the government of Kentucky about the status of negotiations on the navigation of the Mississippi River, evidently responded with concerns about losing his position as attorney general of Virginia. Randolph replied on 22 Aug. that neither he nor GW "ever dreamed" that the mission, temporary and "without a commission from the Executive," was "such an office under the United States, as would vacate the Attorney generalship of Virginia." If Innes indeed stood to lose his state post, Randolph promised that "independently of every other circumstance, the loss of the place would create an inducement in the present administration to offer you some federal position." However, he advised Innes "not to sacrifice your family, if the retention of your present office be indispensable" (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

The other documents have not been identified.

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