Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to Edmund Randolph, [11 September 1794]

To Edmund Randolph

[Philadelphia, September 11, 1794]

Dr. Sir,

I cannot entertain a doubt that Mr. Jaudenes request for a guard ought to be complied with.1 The protection due to a foreign Minister is absolute and the courtesy of nations dictates that military means shall be used in cases where there may be doubt of the adequateness of the civil—as here where the menace of assassination may require an armed guard. Nor have I the least doubt that the standing forces can legally be applied to this purpose whatever may be said of the Militia. We have here an Officer and twelve Dragoon who may be used. But I take it for granted an escort of Volunteers from New York or New Jersey may without difficulty be had. I really think the United States would be disagreeably compromitted by a refusal.2

Yours with esteem

A Hamilton

The Secy of State

LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 7, June 27–November 30, 1794, National Archives.

1Josef de Jaudenes was one of the Spanish commissioners to the United States. On September 2, 1794, while in New York City and about to return to Philadelphia, he wrote to Randolph that he had reason to believe that certain Frenchmen were plotting to murder him. He asked that the President provide him and his family, as well as his house in Philadelphia, with some form of armed protection (LC, RG 59, Notes from the Spanish Legation in the United States to the Department of State, 1790–1906, Vol. 2, August 22, 1794–October 15, 1798, National Archives). On September 3, 1794, Randolph replied to Jaudenes that his request would be referred to the President (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 7, June 27–November 30, 1794, National Archives). On the following day Randolph wrote to Jaudenes: “The laws of the United States do not suffer the military force to be employed, as you wish. But the civil authority is the proper resort. The efficacy of the civil authority being manifested by the interposition of the Mayor of New York, so far as relates to your residence there, I beg leave to recommend to you still to apply to the Civil Officers” (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 7, June 27–November 30, 1794, National Archives). On September 6, Jaudenes wrote in reply to Randolph that he was surprised at the President’s refusal to grant his request and that he considered the President’s refusal an affront to him, his monarch, and his country (LC, RG 59, Notes from the Spanish Legation in the United States to the Department of State, 1790–1906, Vol. 2, August 22, 1794–October 15, 1798, National Archives).

2On September 11, 1794, Randolph sent H’s letter to the President (LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). He also sent to Washington the draft of a letter which he had prepared rejecting Jaudene’s application. At the top of this proposed letter is written: “Letter proposed by E. Randolph to be written to Mr. Jaudenes—but the Presdt. preferred sending the horse” (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 7, June 27–November 30, 1794, National Archives).

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