George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 1 December 1794

From Edmund Randolph

[Philadelphia] Monday. [1 Dec. 1794]

E. Randolph has the honor of informing the President, that Mr Jay carried with him Higginson’s instructions, in which it was expressly declared that the costs and damages of appeals were to be defrayed by the U.S: that this sentiment was long ago repeated to him; and lately by Mr Bayard.1 How he could have originally doubted, E.R. cannot tell.

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

1Nathaniel Cabot Higginson had been appointed a special agent to take action on behalf of American ships condemned at the British West Indies. John Jay’s copy of Randolph’s instructions to Higginson of 11 April is in NHi: Jay Papers (a letter-book copy of the instructions can be found in DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters).

A letter from Randolph to Thomas FitzSimons of 4 Nov., among the documents carried to Jay by Samuel Bayard, the newly appointed U.S. agent for the prosecution of claims in the British admiralty courts, stated explicitly that Bayard would be authorized “to bind the United States, under the direction of Mr. Jay, for the costs and damages, attending the prosecutions” and that the expense of obtaining necessary records of the court proceedings “will be reimbursed by the United States” (NHi: Jay Papers).

Jay had asked in his letter to Randolph of 2 Oct. whether the United States intended to pay the costs of prosecuting appeals in all spoliation cases (DNA: RG 59, Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Great Britain). Randolph replied on 3 Dec. “that it is the intention of the Government that the costs and damages, attending all vessels and cargoes within the catalogue of spoliations, should be defrayed by the United States” (NHi: Jay Papers).

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