Edmund Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, with Jefferson's Note, 31 May 1793

From Edmund Randolph, with Jefferson's Note

E.R. to Mr. J.

The requisition of departure is, in my judgment, expressed in the most accurate and satisfactory manner possible. It gives me real pleasure to find the strong measure capable of such a softening of feature, while it retains full nerve.

Were I to speak for myself, as an individual, I should assent with equal cordiality to the last clause. But I can't help believing, that it would accord better with a neutral situation, to omit the reciprocation of affection. The existence of this is too manifest in the people, to render any very warm expression of it on the part of the government, necessary to convince the French of our fidelity.

I forward some papers from Baltimore, which the President, thro' Mr. Lear, requested me to send to you. As he is unwell, I intend to desire, that we may assemble at your office to morrow 12 o'clock. Perhaps it may not be amiss, to authorize me to say informally to Colo. Smith, as I pass thro' Baltimore, that the President will, at the next session of congress, recommend the suppression of the sale of prizes in our ports.

[Note by TJ:]

The concluding clause of the letter objected to was in these words. ‘The assurance conveyed in your letter of the friendship and attachment of your nation is received with sincere pleasure and returned with equal sincerity on the part of this country. That these may be long and firm no one wishes more cordially than he who has the honor to be with sentiments of esteem & respect Sir &c.’ The paragraph was struck out.

RC (DLC); with note on verso by TJ; endorsed by TJ as received 31 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Otho H. Williams, Collector at Baltimore, to Alexander Hamilton, 28 May 1793, enclosing copies of his letter to the surveyor of the port about a French privateer and its prize lately arrived, the surveyor's report, and a translation of the French commission of the captain of the privateer, and, in view of the silence both of the laws of Congress and Hamilton's instructions, asking for advice about the proper course to follow in such a case (Syrett, Hamilton, xiv, 489). (2) Samuel Smith to same, n.d., concerning the fears aroused in Maryland by the prizes taken by French privateers fitted out in the United States (not found, but abstracted in Washington, Journal, 156).