George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 27 February 1795

From Edmund Randolph

Feby 27. 1795.

E. Randolph has the honor of informing the President, that the power appears to be accurately drawn in form and substance. The word “last,” which the President has noted, is a part of the title of the law of this session; so that it would not be regular to recite the law of this session by any other name, than that, which congress have given to it. However, there does not seem to be any incorrectness in the use, which congress have made of the word last; because the fact is, that the loan, to be reimbursed, was “authorized by an act of the last session of congress.”1

E. Randolph will pursue the idea, which the President is pleased to intimate, respecting the Spanish affairs.

He purposes to wait upon the President immediately after breakfast, upon the subject of Mr Johnson’s letter, respecting his water-lot. If the President has not answered it, he will perceive from the information, brought up by Dr Thornton, that something is wrong in this business.2

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

1Randolph was reviewing the power submitted with Oliver Wolcott, Jr.’s letter to GW of 26 February.

2See Thomas Johnson to GW, 12 February. On 21 Feb. the D.C. commissioners had empowered William Thornton “to repair to Philadelphia and negotiate a loan for the City agreeably to the Presidents request through the Secretary of State” (DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Proceedings, 1791–1802). In their letter to Randolph of that date, the commissioners characterized Johnson’s claim as one that “if successful, is like to strike pretty deep into our funds” and argued that Johnson’s claim was contrary to their contract with James Greenleaf. Thornton “takes up the Contract for the purpose of laying it before you: and if the President thinks proper we have desired Dr Thornton to take the opinion of the Attorney General of the United States upon it.” They wrote that they would discuss the issue with GW when he passed through the district en route to Mount Vernon (DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Letters Sent, 1791–1802).

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