From Edmund Randolph
[Philadelphia] May 16th. 1794
This day the bill which was drawn upon you by Fulwar Skipwith for supplies to our sailors in the west Indies becomes due.1 The President has agreed to pay it out of his contingent fund,2 whensoever it shall be replenished. As I am the responsible person for this draft, and Mr. Skipwith has informed me of his distress for money; you will oblige me by letting me have nine hundred dollars, to be accounted for out of the President’s contingent fund. With this sum, I will take up the bill, and whatever remains shall be applied to Skipwith’s further demand; which will not even then be wholly discharged.3
I am dear Sir, &c.
LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2-June 26, 1794, National Archives.
1. On March 1, 1794, Fulwar Skipwith, United States consul at Martinique, had written to the Secretary of State, describing the seizure of American vessels in the West Indies by the British (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 428–29). On March 7, he again wrote to Randolph giving an account of “about two hundred and twenty sail of American vessels, seized upon by British vessels of war, and carried into different English Windward ports. The whole of those vessels, with thirty others, which have been captured … were, immediately on their arrival in those different ports, libelled; but only those in Dominique, Antigua, Montserat, and St. Kitts, have been condemned; making, in the whole, about ore hundred and fifty sail. The greater part of the people, belonging to those vessels, have rendezvoused here, in order to obtain passages for America; and having been stripped, many of them, of the little resources they had possessed, I have ventured to procure, on account of the United States, a sufficiency of bread, beef, and water, to support them to their respective homes; vouchers and receipts of which, I will have the honor to lay before the Executive of the United States, on my arrival in Philadelphia …” (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 429). When these letters were written, Skipwith was on his way back to the United States. The vessel on which he had taken passage was captured by the British and taken into St. Eustatia, and the two letters cited above were written from that port. Skipwith finally arrived in the United States in April, 1794.
2. Section 3 of “An Act making appropriations for the support of government for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety” provided “That the President … be authorized to draw from the treasury a sum not exceeding ten thousand dollars, for the purpose of defraying the contingent charges of the government, to be paid out of monies arising … from the duties on imports and tonnage; and that he cause a regular statement and account of such expenditures to be laid before Congress at the end of the year” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 105 [March 26, 1790]).
3. Skipwith’s accounts were settled by “An Act providing for the payment of certain expenses incurred by Fulwar Skipwith, on public account” (6 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America [Private Statutes] (Boston, 1856). description ends 15 [May 19, 1794]).