George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 7 October 1794

From Edmund Randolph

Philadelphia Octr 7. 1794 ½ past 10 o’clock


The express has been waiting, in expectation of the return of the messenger sent from hence on friday last and from the probability, that your dispatches might require an immediate Answer. He will be detained, however, until a late hour in the day, in order that Mr Jay’s communications may be copied, and forwarded to you.1 They grow extremely interesting, and assume a considerable degree of shape, as far as the spoliations go.

The Printer says, that the report of the commissioners will be struck off to-morrow—The delay is insufferable; and, unless he gives me the best assurances, I shall lay aside my very strong reluctance to quit an old officer, and put the business into Fenno’s hands, if he will promise to be more active.2 I have the honor, sir, to be with the highest respect yr mo. ob. serv.

Edm: Randolph

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

1On this date Randolph received John Jay’s letters of 30 and 31 July and 2 Aug. (Randolph to Jay, 11 Oct., NHi: Jay Papers). In the letter of 30 July, Jay reported that he and the British minister Lord Grenville were “beginning to do business apparently in good Earnest” and that he would meet with Grenville about “Spoliations and Impressments” the next day, when he hoped for “something decisive.” Noting that the minister was “besieged by our british creditors,” Jay asked whether Virginia law had changed to make collection of “Book Debts” more difficult. In the 31 July letter, Jay reported that Grenville had promised a written response the next day, and he speculated that the reply would “in some Respects meet our wishes,” offering not “immediate” but “eventual” compensation. In the letter of 2 Aug., Jay transmitted Grenville’s reply, noting that it “affords Scope for delay. much will depend on the good faith with which the Business may be conducted.” Jay was, he wrote, hopeful but not “sanguine” that a “Settlement” could be reached, as “real Difficulties, as well as some Prejudices” stood in the way (all DNA: RG 59, Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Great Britain). The previous Friday was 3 October.

2The Report of the Commissioners, Appointed by the President of the United States of America, to Confer with the Insurgents in the Western Counties of Pennsylvania was printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine.

Index Entries