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To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 29 June 1795

From Edmund Randolph

June 29. 1795.

E. Randolph has the honor of sending to the President the substance of two conversations held to-day1—He wishes to record them, and will therefore receive them, with the President’s permission, when he waits upon him tomorrow—As Mrs Adet2 is to pay her respects to Mrs Washington tomorrow at two o’clock, E.R. will avail himself of the interval, which will be left between her going away, and three o’clock, to do the daily business with the President, unless he shall be pleased to indicate a different hour.

AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.

1Randolph reported the substance of conversations held on 29 June with French minister Pierre-Auguste Adet and British minister George Hammond. The French minister had requested an interview with Randolph and arrived at the secretary’s office promptly at 9:00 A.M. Adet desired “to communicate some inquietudes” concerning the recent treaty with Great Britain. He brought commercial decrees to the United States, put forward by the former minister Edmond Charles Genet. Adet’s government instructed him to negotiate a treaty of commerce with the United States based upon those decrees. When Randolph inquired what Adet meant by “inquietudes,” Adet replied, “it was understood, that the united States had disabled themselves from entering into a new commercial treaty upon a liberal scale with France.” Randolph told Adet that he had already determined to ask GW permission to provide a copy of the treaty to the minister, which would enable Adet to identify where “any impropriety with respect to France existed.” Adet promised to send comments by the following Wednesday, 1 July. Randolph stressed to Adet that he “presumed” the minister would not send a dispatch to France “until something further should pass between us,” to which Adet agreed.

Additional conversation included Randolph’s remarks about Jean-Antoine-Joseph Fauchet, who, according to the secretary, had “attached himself solely to the society of persons unfriendly to” the U.S government several months earlier. Randolph “hinted at the report in circulation, that Spain ceded Louisiana to France.” Adet replied that “he had received no letter concerning it; though he knew, that the cession of Louisiana to France was a preliminary to be insisted on by France in a negociation with Spain.”

When the two men parted, Randolph mentioned James Monroe’s communications to the Committee of Public Safety concerning the instructions to John Jay. The secretary insisted that “we never intended to say, that Mr Jay had no commercial powers” (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

Randolph’s conversation with Hammond followed at 11:00 A.M. and also concerned the Jay Treaty. The secretary told Hammond that “as he wished formerly a sight of the treaty, when I could not shew it to him, I would now very willingly impart it.” The British minister assumed that “the essence of it was in Bache’s paper of this morning,” to which Randolph replied that “the detail would give the subject more completely.” Hammond then informed Randolph that “he had seen a copy, which a member of the Senate had brought to him: that he was much pleased with the treaty.” Randolph noted that the British minister expressed such an opinion in “two or three different shapes, to draw something from me. I observed only, that by the Constitution it now rested with the President, and that he had entered into the consideration of the subject.” Hammond read a letter dated 18 April that he had received from Lord Grenville, who expressed “great solicitude at not having heard of the arrival of the treaty at Philadelphia.” Grenville urged Hammond “to give the earliest notice of its arrival, and of the steps taken” (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters). Randolph later published this conversation and identified the Senate member as Rufus King (see Randolph, Vindication, description begins Edmund Randolph. A Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation. Philadelphia, 1795. description ends 29–31).

2Pierre-Auguste Adet was married to Françoise Fajon.

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