George Washington Papers

Enclosure: John Jay to Edmund Randolph, 21 August 1794

John Jay to Edmund Randolph

London 21st August 1794.


I have received the Letter you did me the honor to write on the 9th June, enclosing the Case of the Snow Sukey, and of the Brigantine Maria. That letter begins thus “Since writing of my Letter yesterday, I have received” &c. That letter has never come to my hands.1

A few days ago I was favored with yours of the 9th July, on the subject of the american Vessel carried into Bermuda, and on Board of which a large Quantity of Powder was found—and enclosing copies of several letters relative to it. That letter appeared to me to be well calculated to manifest the sincerity of the Government, and evidently shews a disposition rather to invite than to evade an investigation into every transaction that afforded colour for complaint—I therefore thought it expedient to communicate it, and all the Papers which accompanied it, to the Minister without Diminution.2

Since my last nothing new has occurred. We are endeavoring to digest and mature a final settlement whether we shall be able to agree is uncertain. I have Hopes as well as apprehensions. I think our next Conference will produce something decisive, at least on some of the great points—if so—you shall be immediately informed of it.

Considering how many urgent affairs, which cannot be postponed daily call for the ministers orders, we cannot expect that ours’ should proceed without some occasional Delays—as yet I have no Reason to believe that any of them have been avoidable.

Sir Wm Scott, the Kings advocate, who is retained for us, is at my request preparing instructions for our people who have appeals or claims to bring forward. When finished they shall be sent to you.3 I really do believe that this Business will be conducted and concluded with good Faith. At Martinico there was no legal Court of Vice Admiralty—consequently the Condemnations there are nugatory, and original claims may be entered and prosecuted here. I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, &c.

John Jay

Copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. The document is certified as a “True Copy” by State Department clerk George Taylor, Jr.

1Only copies of Randolph’s letters to Jay of 8 and 9 June have been identified. In the brief note of 9 June, Randolph reported that he had just received the cases of the Sukey and Maria and added them to the “long list” given to Jay (DNA: RG 59, Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Great Britain). In the letter of 8 June, Randolph discussed British abuses of American rights in Martinique and concluded, “So much depends upon your mission, that, if it should be unsuccessful … I know not how the general irritation can be checked” (copy certified by State Department clerk George Taylor, Jr., NHi: Jay Papers).

2Randolph’s letter to Jay of 9 July discussed the case of the Amiable Gentil “to meet some violent representations, which have probably been hurried to Great Britain from Bermuda” (DNA: RG 59, Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Great Britain). For that case, seeRandolph to GW, 2 July (second letter). Jay’s letter transmitting the documents to Lord Grenville was dated 19 Aug. (P.R.O.: F.O. 95/512).

3William Scott (1745–1836), later Baron Stowell, was a member of Parliament as well as a lawyer. He had been appointed the king’s advocate-general in 1788, and in 1798 he was appointed a judge of the high court of admiralty. For the instructions provided by Scott and John Nicholl on 10 Sept., see ASP description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , Foreign Relations, 1:494–96.

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