George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 18 October 1794

From Edmund Randolph

Philadelphia October 18. 1794. one o’clock p.m.


I have been employed this morning in communicating to the sufferers under British depredations Mr Jay’s letters of the 2d and 23d of August, copies of which have been forwarded to you.1 They have appointed a committee of five, at which Mr Fitzsimmons is the head, to confer with me from time to time. They are to meet this evening, and to call upon me again on Monday.2 I stated to the whole body so much of the measures of government, as seemed proper, and relative to them; and find, that they have a perfect conviction of the exertions of the executive.

Mr Jaudenes has just left me; after expressing a wish, that Mr Villemont, whom I mentioned in my letter of yesterday, should receive a passport to travel thro’ the U.S. in quest of natural curiosities.3 I told him, that it should be considered. At the same time, altho’ I am persuaded, that the arcana of nature are the ostensible objects only, I do not well see, how the passport can be refused to him, when Mr Jaudenes has granted a similar one to our Countryman Peale, who is travelling in the Spanish dominions;4 when the denial may betray an unbecoming suspicion; and when there is no power to prevent him from travelling where he will.

I have spoken at large of the nature of Messrs Findley’s and Riddick’s mission.5 The general opinion of it is that it is too equivocal for reliance on it. 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, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.

1A copy of John Jay’s letter to Randolph of 2 Aug. was forwarded to GW by the express of 7 Oct. (see Randolph’s second letter to GW of that date); a copy of Jay’s letter of 23 Aug. was enclosed with Randolph’s second letter to GW of 17 October.

2The next Monday was 20 October. According to a letter of 25 Nov. from Thomas FitzSimons to a New Bern, N.C., merchant, the committee was formed at Randolph’s request (North-Carolina Gazette [New Bern] 27 Dec.).

3Randolph actually had mentioned Villemont in his first letter to GW of 15 October.

4This may be a reference to Raphaelle Peale, who left Philadelphia in December 1793 for a collecting trip in Central and South America.

5For the discussion of the mission of William Findley and David Redick, see Western Pennsylvania Delegates to GW, 2 Oct., and GW to Randolph, 9 and 11 October.

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