George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, 12 March 1794

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

United States 12 March 1794.

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.

I transmit to you the translations of two letters from the Commissioners of his Catholic Majesty to the Secretary of State, and of their enclosures.1

Go: Washington

LS, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, Presidential Messages; LB, DNA: RG 233, Third Congress, 1793–95, House Records of Legislative Proceedings, Journals; LB, DLC:GW.

1All the enclosures were translations of the original Spanish versions sent to Edmund Randolph by Spanish commissioners José de Jaudenes and José Ignacio de Viar. In their first letter, which is undated, the commissioners wrote that although a “circuitous course of the dispatches having retarded our receiving the Edict of His Majesty containing the declaration of War against the French in consequence of their having declared war against Spain and committed hostilities authorized by that Government even when War was not yet declared,” they were now able to present “a printed Edict of that Monarch [Charles IV], which you will please to lay before the President of the United States in order to be communicated to Congress” (DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages).

The second letter from Jaudenes and Viar, dated 5 March 1794, expressed concern about “those expeditions, which are in motion in the res[pectiv]e States of South Carolina, Kentuckey and Georgia” against nearby Spanish colonies. In their opinion, “the insufficiency of this government to enforce the execution of their laws and regulations as well as the notorious partiality of their Citizens and individual inhabitants in Favor of France tending to the open prejudice of the interests of Spain are likely to interrupt the good understanding and sincere amity, that happily subsisted between the two Nations to the present period, and which the United States cannot but look upon as a connexion of consequence.” To support their claims about the hostile activities of individual Americans, they mentioned the involvement of James O’Fallon of Kentucky in a proposed expedition against Louisiana. They also enclosed a copy of a letter of 22 Jan. 1794 from the governor of East Florida, Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada y Barnuevo, to the governor of Georgia, George Mathews, complaining about a “plot” by certain Georgia residents to invade East Florida, both by land and sea. Quesada requested Mathews “to exert your utmost efforts till the said plot shall be entirely destroyed. Meanwhile I make all possible dispositions to due defence to repel force by force, of all which I shall render an exact account to the King my master, enclosing for his superior consideration all proofs, I am possessed of and which ascertain the imminent danger of an approaching invasion of the royal flag and H. M[ajest]ys dominions, that his Majesty may cause such steps to be taken, as may secure due redress to Hs M[ajest]y” (DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages). For the full text of the above four documents, see ASP, Foreign Relations description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:425–27.

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