Alexander Hamilton Papers
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Edmund Randolph to William Bradford, Alexander Hamilton, and Henry Knox, 13 March 1794

Edmund Randolph to William Bradford,
Alexander Hamilton, and Henry Knox1

Philadelphia, March 13th 1794.

Gentlemen

I had a personal interview with Mr. Fauchet yesterday; and endeavoured to satisfy him of the difficulty, and, as I conceived, the impracticability of advancing the million of Dollars, which he requested. He described his distress, produced by the various draughts of the French Consuls, with great force, and in strong colours; and begged, that he might be permitted to state it on paper. This of course could not be opposed. But as he was to write, I asked him to say whether the demand of a million of dollars did not exceed the pressing exigencies of the moment. He assured me, that this sum actually fall short of them.

Permit me therefore to submit to your consideration my opinion, to be laid, with yours, before the President.

I am of opinion, that Mr. Fauchet’s application for money, ought to be transmitted to Congress.

1. Because the executive, as it is represented by the Secretary of the Treasury, cannot expect to modify the French debt by any further loans at present, altho’ Congress have given the President special power to do so, and have expressed a desire, that it should be done.

2. Because Congress are the true Judges, whether the situation of the United States permits Mr. Fauchet’s request to be complied with from other resources, besides loans.

3. Because the French debt is intitled to every exertion in our power, to relieve the embarrassments of the French government.

4. And because I do not discern any objection to submit to Congress a subject, so peculiarly within their province, as the raising of money.2

I inclose Mr. Fauchet’s last letter, and have the honor to be, Gentlemen, With   great respect and esteem,   Yo mo. ob. ser

Edm: Randolph.

LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 26, 1794, National Archives.

1For background to this letter, See “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on a Request for Payment of Installments on the French Debt,” March 11, 1794.

On March 12, 1794, Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet wrote to Randolph: “Je recois votre lettre datée de ce jour, et je vois avec chagrin les dispositions qu’elle contient.

“Quand j’ai demandé l’avance d’un million de dollards, j’espérois qu’une partie de cette somme me seroit accordée comptant, et le reste a des termes differents, mais dont le dernier ne seroit pas fixé au delà de six mois; contre mon espérance le premier terme de payement est indiqué à cette époque seulement, et l’avance que l’on me fait se bourne à la moitie de la somme que j’ai demandée.

“Je vous prie, Monsieur, d’observer à Monsieur le Président des Etats Unis, que cette détermination n’obvie à aucuns des embarras dans lesquels je me trouve; il faut que je paye comptant aux capitaines des vaisseaux qui prendront des colons passagers pour France, les subsistances dont ces infortunés ont besoin, il faut que j’avance à ceux-ci pour s’embarquer au moins les objets de premiere necessité je vous prie, Monsieur, d’ajouter encore que des traites nombreuses sont tirées à vue sur moi et à des époques très prochaines, par les différents agents de la République francoise, soit pour les approvisionnemens des équipages des batimens prets à partir; soit pour des dépenses anterieures à mon administration et aux qu’elles il m’est impossible de ne pas satisfaire sur le champ.

“Ces différentes observations changeront soins doute la résolution de Monsieur le President dont vous m’aves fait part; et le tableau sincere que je vous trace de ma situation l’engageront à faire un effort en faveur des allies de l’Amérique; c’est dans cette pensee, Monsieur, que je vous renouvelle l’assurance des sentimens d’estime qu’il m’est si doux de Vous temoigner.” (Copy, RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–1795, Messages Transmitting Reports of the Secretary of State, National Archives.)

2On March 13, 1794, Randolph submitted Fauchet’s letter of March 12 together with three cabinet opinions to George Washington and requested the President’s directions concerning submission of Fauchet’s request to Congress (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 26, 1794, National Archives). The President reported to Congress on March 18, 1794 (Journal of the House description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I, II. description ends , II, 95).

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