From Edmund Randolph
[Philadelphia] March 15. 1794.
E. Randolph has the honor of observing to the President in reply to his queries;1 that the ruin of our merchants was expressed as strongly, as it is, in order to prepare Mr Short, in case some nervous measure should be adopted by government, with a general idea of the magnitude of the cause, before a particular explanation could be forwarded to him; and that, altho’ the jealousy mentioned by the President occurred to him, as affording a fair opportunity of pushing our rights, yet it was not mentioned, as the dispatches will go thro’ diplomatic hands here, and a public post-office in Spain. Confidence is due to the polite offer, made by the commissioners; but if by implicit confidence, the Spanish government were to seize a fact, which might fix a species of distrust in their integrity, a want of candor in us, and which, if it were even enveloped in cypher, might possibly be decyphered; I could not be sure of the consequence. Add to this, that the joint negotiation between the U.S. and Spain may possibly end, before the letter reaches Madrid; and it is very probable, that Mr Carmichael when alone, may not be equal to so delicate a game.2
E. R. will soften the strong paragraph; and if the President chooses, another will be added as to the jealousy, which may arise between G.B. & S. The messenger will bring the President’s pleasure on this head.3
AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.
1. GW’s queries concerned the draft of Randolph’s letter to William Short of 16 March. For the contents of this letter, see n.1 of Randolph’s second letter to GW of this date.
2. On the appointment of William Short and William Carmichael as commissioners to negotiate an agreement with the Spanish government, see GW to U.S. Senate, 11 Jan. 1792. On Short’s concurrent appointment as the U.S. minister to The Hague, see GW to U.S. Senate, 22 Dec. 1791.
3. Any written reply from GW has not been found, but the paragraph on possible jealousy between Great Britain and Spain was not added.