To Edmund Randolph
[Philadelphia] Tuesday morng 15th Aprl 1794
Let me know whether the message (which in the evening of yesterday) I requested you to draw, will be ready by 11 o’clock this forenoon?
If you answer in the affirmative, I shall require the Gentlemen with whom I usually advise on these occasions, to attend me at that hour; for I consider that message (both as to matter & form) of such importance as to make it necessary that every word of it should undergo due consid⟨eratio⟩n.
My objects are, to prevent a war—if justice can be obtained by fair & strong representation (to be made by a special Envoy) of the injuries which this Country has sustained from G.B. in various ways—To put it in a complete state of military defence. And to provide eventually, such measures as seem to be now pending in Congress for execution, if negotiation, in a reasonable time proves unsuccessful.1
Such is the train of my though⟨ts;⟩ but how far all, or any of them, except the first, ought to be introduced into the message, in the present stage of the business, in Congress, deserves, as I have said before—due consideration.2 Yours always & sincerely
ALS (letterpress copy), DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State. The text in angle brackets is from the letter-book copy.
1. The measures pending in Congress may refer to the program of national defense contained in eight resolutions introduced on 12 March in the House of Representatives by Massachusetts congressman Theodore Sedgwick. Other resolutions probably were also on GW’s mind. Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey offered a resolve on 27 March that would have provided for “the sequestration of all the debts due from the citizens of the United States to the subjects of the King of Great Britain.” Abraham Clark of New Jersey proposed on 7 April that the United States end all commercial intercourse with Great Britain until the British government caused “restitution to be made for all losses and damages sustained by the citizens of the United States” from British seizures of American ships and cargo and until “all the posts now held and detained by the King of Great Britain, within the territories of the United States, shall be surrendered” (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 3d Cong., 1st sess., 500–501, 535, 561). Neither of these resolves was passed by both houses of Congress.