George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 29 March 1794

From Edmund Randolph

[Philadelphia] March 29. 1794.

The Secretary of State has the honor of submitting to the consideration of the President two drafts of letters to the French minister The substance of the one concerning the passport to a vessel in ballast was agreed this morning between Colo. Hamilton and E.R. It is also submitted to the President, whether Mr Fauchet’s two letters for the Passport ought not to be sent to congress, that, if they should think proper to pass a general or particular modification of their resolution, they may have an opportunity of doing so.1

Since writing the above, a passport has been requested for a vessel, belonging to John Brown, a merchant of this place, in ballast, and destined for St Domingo with some of its former inhabitants, who are anxious to return. The President will be pleased to express his pleasure as to this vessel.2

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

1In a letter to Fauchet of this date, Randolph wrote: “With every disposition in the executive to serve the French Republic, the resolution, which imposes the embargo, is so imperious in its terms, as to leave no discretion as for granting a Passport or license to depart to the Snow Camilla, with a Cargo on board. If however it should be thought adviseable by you, that she or any other vessel be sent in ballast with your dispatches, a Passport will be readily granted” (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters). On the embargo imposed by a resolution of Congress, see Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:400.

Randolph’s second letter responded to a letter from Fauchet of this date that reads: “Je vous avais demandé par ma lettre du 16 Ventose (6 Mars) de vouloir bien me désigner les agens de la République française dont le Gouvernement des Etats-unis avait à se plaindre; je n’ai point reçu de réponse à cette lettre; votre silence, Mr, me laisse dans une incertitude que je vous prie de faire cesser; vous m’obligerez beaucoup” (FrPMAE, Correspondance Politique, Etats-Unis, 40). Randolph wrote: “I have delayed an answer to your Letter of the 16th instant, requiring me to name those Agents of the French Republic, who were obnoxious to the government of the United States, from a persuasion, that you would of your self remove those, against whom we have cause to complain. And in this I have not been mistaken. You have superseded, if I am rightly informed Mr Mangourit of Charleston, Mr Hauterive of New York, and Mr Dannery of Boston. I do not class among these Mr Moissonnier of Baltimore, because it is hoped, that he has been sensible of the impropriety of his conduct, and more particularly because I entertain a confidence, that you will restrain all future Consuls within the limits of due respect of the United States” (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

For a previous suggestion from GW that the congressional embargo needed further clarification, see GW’s letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 28 March. For GW’s approval of the drafts and his reply to Randolph’s question, see his letter to Randolph of 30 March.

2Merchant John Brown conducted his import/export business from the Walnut Street wharf in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Directory 1794 description begins James Hardie. The Philadelphia Directory and Register . . .. Philadelphia, 1794. description ends , 18; Federal Gazette, and Philadelphia Evening Post, 16 Jan. 1793). For his advertisement offering passage to Saint Domingue aboard the brig Sally, see the 2 May issue of the Philadelphia Gazette and Universal Advertiser. For GW’s reply, see his letter to Randolph of 30 March. For GW’s granting of a passport for this ship on 22 April, see JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 300.

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