George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 15 September 1795

From Edmund Randolph

German Town [Pa.] September 15. 1795


In my letter of the 19th ultimo, I informed you of my purpose to overtake Mr Fauchet, if possible. I accordingly went to Newport in Rhode Island; where I had an interview with him. The abrupt and unexpected sailing of the French Frigate, La Meduse, on the morning of the day, after I arrived there, had nearly deprived me of the object of my journey.1 But I trust, that I am in possession of such materials, not only from Mr Fauchet, but also from other sources, as will convince every unprejudiced mind, that my resignation was dictated by considerations, which ought not to have been resisted for a moment; and that every thing, connected with it, stands upon a footing, perfectly honorable to myself.

Having passed thro’ New-York on my return, I am under the necessity of remaining at the distance of five miles from Philadelphia until Saturday next.2 This circumstance prevents me from immediately consulting my private and other papers upon the matters in question. But I shall lose no time in digesting them into proper form, and in transmitting the result to you. Nor will my solicitude on this head be doubted, when I state to you, that malicious whispers have been more than commonly active and absurd upon this occasion. I have the honor to be sir with due respect yr mo. ob. serv.

Edm: Randolph.

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; ADfS, DLC: Edmund Randolph Papers. GW docketed the letter as received on 19 September. Randolph published this letter in the Philadelphia Gazette on the same date.

1Randolph sent Fauchet a note from Rhode Island on 1 Sept.: “I am this moment informed, that the frigate has sailed … They say, that you are on board, and that you have left no paper for me, according to what you promised. My innocence of the insinuations arising from your letter, you not only know, but have twice acknowledged to me. I send a boat therefore in a hurry to obtain the papers, which go to this point” (DLC: Edmund Randolph Papers). For a detailed account of these difficulties, see Randolph, Vindication, description begins Edmund Randolph. A Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation. Philadelphia, 1795. description ends 9–12.

2The following Saturday was 19 September. The “necessity” stemmed from Gov. Thomas Mifflin’s proclamation of 31 Aug. prohibiting for one month “all intercourse” between Philadelphia and New York City or Norfolk, Va., on account of reports of disease in those ports (Philadelphia Gazette & Universal Daily Advertiser, 1 Sept.). Following the words “my return” on the draft, Randolph wrote and then struck out some explanatory text: “from a belief founded on information that the proclamation of the governor of Pennsylvania against the communication with Phila. and that city, had been or would be revoked.” However, although the Philadelphia board of health found that the fever at New York was “greatly mitigated,” it nonetheless recommended a continuance of the quarantine in a letter to Mifflin of 9 September. Citing subsequent information that “the infectious diseases existing in those places respectively have unhappily encreased,” Mifflin extended the quarantine in a proclamation of 21 Sept. (Aurora General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 12 Sept.; Philadelphia Gazette & Universal Daily Advertiser, 21 Sept.).

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