From Edmund Randolph
Philadelphia July 19. 1794.
Not being able to consult the Secretary of the Treasury, as to his sense of the act, granting a million of dollars for foreign intercourse, I have examined the laws myself; and find, that this sum is in no manner appropriated to the naval armament, as you seemed to suppose in the last conversation, which I had the honor of holding with you on our Algerine affairs.1
Permit me therefore to suggest, that the 800,000 dollars, which are directed to be borrowed under this act, be expended in the ransom of our fellow citizens and a peace. Should this idea accord with your sentiments, I beg to be informed, that I may report a plan for its expenditure. A vessel, which Sails this evening for Lisbon, will carry a letter giving Colo. Humphries reason to expect instructions upon this head, as soon as possible.2 I have the honor, sir, to be with the highest respect yr mo. ob. serv.
ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters.
1. The first session of the Third Congress appropriated $1 million in "An Act making further provision for the expenses attending the intercourse of the United States with foreign nations; and further to continue in force the act intituled ’An act providing the means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations,’" 20 March 1794 (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 . 1:345). The same Congress passed "An Act to provide a Naval Armament," 27 March 1794, which authorized GW to purchase and man six ships for protection against "the depredations committed by the Algerine corsairs" but did not specify from where the funds were to come (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 . 1:350-51). That sum of $688,888.82 was appropriated in "An Act making appropriations for certain purposes therein expressed," 9 June 1794 (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 . 1:394-95). The first act authorized GW "if necessary . . . to borrow the whole or any part of the said sum of one million of dollars"; the third authorized him to "borrow . . . any sum not exceeding in the whole, one million of dollars."
2. Randolph’s letter to David Humphreys of this date enclosed Gouverneur Morris’s letter to Thomas Jefferson of 7 March announcing French willingness to assist American efforts to obtain a peace with Algiers (see Randolph to GW, 25 June, n.1). Humphreys was instructed to consider himself "as again charged with this important interest of our country, according to the former instructions. A power is lodged with Messrs Willinks, Van Staphorsts and Hubbard to borrow 800,000 dollars, and to hold the same to your draught. Whensoever therefore the money can be used in our objects at Algiers, you will draw for it. . . . The President has under consideration the mode, in which the 800,000 dollars may be expended in the purchase of a peace, that is how much shall be applied to the ransom and how much to the peace" (DNA: RG 59, Diplomatic and Consular Instructions).