George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 26 April 1795

To Edmund Randolph

Mount Vernon April 26th 1795


Your letter of the 22d instt I received yesterday morning. I still think of commencing my journey for Philadelpa at the time, & in the manner mentioned to you in my last;1 but if the2 weather or any thing else should occur to prevent it, you shall be informed thereof in a P.S. to this letter before it is sent to the Post Off[ic]e.

The request of the Dutch Resident is embarrassing3 and means more, I am persuaded, than is expressed. For this reason, I would not only have all further acting upon it suspended until my return to the Seat of Government, but it is my desire moreover, that you, and the Gentlemen who are usually consulted on these occasions, would give the subject the most serious consideration & be prepared to submit your opinions thereon in writg to me upon my arrival.4

We have every reason (short of official testimony) to conclude that the government of the United Netherlands has undergone a revolution; to comply then, with the request of Mr Van Berckel might have an unpleasant appearance5 both here, and elsewhere and not to do it, as no change has been announced in diplomatic form, would I conceive be a departure from the usual and established course of proceeding in like cases. In a word, it seems to have placed the Executive between Silla & caribdas6— much, however, I presume, will depend upon the Consul’s Commission & the specific powers of the Resident7 if the right of suspension is not clearly established by8 usage, or the Law of Nations. From our Minister in Holland or from Mr Monroe at Paris we surely may look for official information of the events in that Ctry every moment the receipt of which might remove the present all9 difficulty. I am &ca

G. W——n

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

1On this date, GW left Mount Vernon for Georgetown as he began his journey back to Philadelphia (see Diaries, description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends 6:200). He may be referring to his letter to Randolph of 24 April, which is not found.

2Here the LB has “bad.”

3For Franco Petrus Van Berckel’s request, see Randolph to GW, 22 April, and n.1 to that document.

4See Randolph to GW, 4 May; no other written cabinet opinions have been identified.

5GW originally wrote “consequences” and then “effect” before he decided upon this word.

6Scylla and Charybdis were two immortal sea monsters of Greek mythology. According to Homer’s Odyssey, they endangered the lives of Odysseus and his men as the seafarers navigated the narrow Strait of Messina. The monsters’ names came to represent two hazardous and difficult choices.

7For Jan Hendrick Christiaan Heineken’s commission, see Randolph to GW, 22 April, n.2. For the commission of Franco Petrus van Berckel, see DNA:PCC, item 129.

8GW originally wrote “understood from” instead of the two previous words.

9GW apparently intended to cross out the word “all” when he deleted several preceding words from his original version.

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