Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Edmund Randolph, 4 August 1793

From Edmund Randolph

Philadelphia August 4. 1793.

E. Randolph to Mr. Jefferson

I can never believe, that the impeachment of Mr. G. should be drawn from any other sources, than his written and verbal communications with you. That he is the president of a particular society; that his secretary may have written inflammatory queries, &c may be reasons, privately operating to the demand of his recal, I shall not absolutely deny; because foreign ministers may give causes of displeasure, and render themselves unacceptable for intercourse by acts, which may not however be strong enough to become articles of formal accusation. But1 they will not satisfy the American mind; which constitutes the soul of our government.

In the letter therefore, to be written to him, the people, to whom the whole of the affair will sooner or later be exposed, ought to be kept in view: and it ought not to be forgotten, that Mr. G. has some zealous partizans, and the French nation too many, to suffer subtleties or caprices to justify the harsh measure.

I do not conceive it to be any part, of what you have requested of me, or in any degree necessary, to suggest the outlines of those remarks, which ought to precede the charges. It is only for me, to assign the reasons, upon which I grounded my opinion for a recal.

1. His assurances, that no other commissions should be granted to privateers within the U.S.; and the repetition notwithstanding.

2. The continuance of the consuls within his controul and knowledge, to exercise the functions of the admiralty; his declarations to the contrary notwithstanding.

3. His sending off the Little Democrat, against the wishes of the government, expressed to him.

4. His reprehensible language concerning, and addressed to, the Executive; discarding however, all ambiguities.

5. His undertaking to reclaim those citizens of the U.S., who had been prosecuted for entering on board of French privateers.

RC (DLC). Recorded in SJPL.

This letter was intended to assist TJ in preparing the letters to Gouverneur Morris and Edmond Charles Genet on the Washington administration’s request for the French minister’s recall that the Cabinet had agreed on at a meeting held three days before (Notes of Cabinet Meeting on Edmond Charles Genet, 1 Aug. 1793; TJ to Morris, 16 Aug. 1793; TJ to Genet, [7 Sep. 1793]). Genet was President of the Société Française des Amis de la Liberté et de l’Égalité, an organization of Frenchmen in Philadelphia dedicated to supporting the French Revolution and monitoring the activities of royalist refugees from Saint-Domingue (Childs, French Refugee Life description begins Frances S. Childs, French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790–1800: An American Chapter of the French Revolution, Baltimore, 1940 description ends , 146–8, 166–7). inflammatory queries: see Notes of Cabinet Meeting on Edmond Charles Genet, 23 July 1793, and note.

1Word interlined in place of “At any rate.”

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