George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 11 August 1794

From Edmund Randolph

Philadelphia August 11. 1794.

E. Randolph presents his respectful compliments to the President, and incloses to him a Boston paper, received this morning, unravelling the mystery of the Marquis of Lansdown’s intended motion. It also contains something of the operations of the belligerent powers.1

Mr Seagrove is now here; and will detain E.R. until the evening with answers to the questions which have been put to him upon the complaints of the Spanish commissioners.2 This circumstance will deprive E.R. of the honor of dining with the President to-day.

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

1The Columbian Centinel (Boston) of 6 Aug. printed a report of a speech given by the Marquis of Lansdowne in the House of Lords on 26 May. After a critical review of the ministry’s policy in Europe, Lansdowne asserted that friendship with America "should be cultivated and revered." Lansdowne alluded to Britain’s failure to return western forts in accord with the treaty of Paris, her orders in council of November 1793 for the seizure of American vessels bound to France, the encouragement of a truce between Portugal and Algiers, which loosed the Barbary pirates against American commerce, and Lord Dorchester’s speech echoing Indian hostility to the United States. He "then said, that if a war with America was the object of their wishes, that if the peace of 1783 had now given dissatisfaction to those who then concluded it, they should come forward and declare their change of sentiment, and unfold the purposes of such a war." He would, "from a consideration of the great importance that the trade of America is to this country, most sincerely advise Ministers, before they entered on a measure so impolitic, and on which a great part of the commerce of this island now depended, carefully to consider it in all its circumstances." Therefore, Lansdowne would move "That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, requesting his Majesty would be graciously pleased to order, that there be laid before this House such instructions as have been given, or ordered to be given, to Lord Dorchester, relative to the differences between the American States, and the Indians to the north-west of the Ohio, and Lord Dorchester’s answer thereto."

The Centinel of that date also printed reports of the defeat of French forces near Tournai, Belgium, in late May.

2The Spanish commissioners José Ignacio de Viar and José de Jaudenes had complained about the activities of James Seagrove as Indian agent in Georgia in their letter to Randolph of 11 June (see Randolph to GW, 17 July, n.7). Randolph responded to the commissioners in his letter to them of 12 Aug., enclosing a copy of Seagrove’s letter to him of 11 Aug. (not identified) and commenting, "Both you, Gentlemen, and myself are dependent in this instance, upon others for facts. . . . Neither of us can undertake for the soundness of the allegations, which are urged to us. You will be pleased therefore to accept Mr Seagrove’s letter, only as one of the means for ascertaining the truth of the case; and to be assured that we shall embrace every occasion of demonstrating our respect to his Catholic Majesty and his officers" (DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

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