George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 5 May 1795

From Edmund Randolph

May 5. 1795.

The Secretary of State has the honor of inclosing to the President the substance of a conversation with Mr Van Berckel on the 20th Ultimo.1

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

1Randolph’s enclosed report of this date reviewed his conversation with Franco Petrus Van Berckel on 20 April, during which they discussed the Dutch minister’s letter of 18 April. Randolph desired “to state to him some doubts, which occurred to me on his application. The substance of these was, that as the commission was the foundation of the exequatur; when the former was lawfully withdrawn, the latter ceased of course; and that as the President could not retain a foreign consul, after his commission was abolished; so it did not appear absolutely necessary, that the President should concur in the withdrawing of it.” Randolph told Van Berckel, “the practice had never required our government to publish any thing on such an occasion.” The Dutch minister, wrote Randolph, “thought, that to prevent mischief, a notification was necessary from the very source, from which the exequatur flowed, and that it would be improper for him to correspond with the governors, who had granted it.” Randolph promised to let Van Berckel know the next day what he intended to do, all the while planning to submit the entire affair to GW for instructions. He informed Van Berckel, “my own opinion had been against doing what he wished,” to which the minister replied “something about his power to remove being clear.” Randolph intended at that point not to say more about the subject. “The truth is,” he wrote GW, “that I wanted nothing more than to understand, upon what footing [Van Berckel] claimed a publication from government, which was without a precedent with us” (ADS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State).

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