Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE. [PRIVATE.] - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798)
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TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE. [PRIVATE.] - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XIII (1794-1798).
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TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE.
Mount Vernon, 31 July, 1795.
My dear Sir,
On Wednesday evening I sent the packet, now under cover with this, to the post-office in Alexandria, to be forwarded next morning at the usual hour, four o’clock, by the Baltimore mail. But, behold! when my letter-bag was brought back from the office and emptied, I not only got those which were addressed to me, among which yours of the 27th was one, but those also which I had sent up the evening before.
I have to regret this blunder of the postmaster, on account of the enclosures, some of which I wished to have got to your hands without delay, that they might have undergone the consideration and acting upon, which was suggested in the letter accompanying them. On another account I am not sorry for the return of the packet to you, as I resolved thereupon, and reading some letters, which I received at the same time, to wait your acknowledgment of the receipt of my letter of the 24th instant, before I would set out; as I should thereby be placed on a certainty whether your journey hither, or mine to Philadelphia, would under all circumstances be deemed most eligible; or whether the business could not be equally well done without either: repeating now, what I did in my letter of the 24th, that I do not require more than a day’s notice to repair to the seat of government, and that, if you and the confidential officers with you are not clear in the measures which are best to be pursued in the several matters mentioned in my last, my own opinion is, and for the reasons there given, that difficult and intricate or delicate questions had better be settled there, where the streams of information are continually flowing in, and that I would set out accordingly.
To be wise and temperate, as well as firm, the present crisis most eminently calls for. There is too much reason to believe, from the pains which have been taken before, at, and since the advice of the Senate respecting the treaty, that the prejudices against it are more extensive than is generally imagined. This I have lately understood to be the case in this quarter, from men, who are of no party, but well-disposed to the present administration. How should it be otherwise, when no stone has been left unturned, that could impress on the minds of the people the most arrant misrepresentation of facts; that their rights have not only been neglected, but absolutely sold; that there are no reciprocal advantages in the treaty; that the benefits are all on the side of Great Britain; and, what seems to have had more weight with them than all the rest, and most pressed, that the treaty is made with the design to oppress the French, in open violation of our treaty with that nation, and contrary, too, to every principle of gratitude and sound policy? In time, when passion shall have yielded to sober reason, the current may possibly turn; but, in the mean while, this government in relation to France and England may be compared to a ship between the rocks of Scylla and Charybdis. If the treaty is ratified, the partisans of the French, (or rather of war and confusion,) will excite them to hostile measures, or at least to unfriendly sentiments; if it is not, there is no foreseeing all the consequences, which may follow, as it respects Great Britain.
It is not to be inferred from hence, that I am or shall be disposed to quit the ground I have taken, unless circumstances more imperious than have yet come to my knowledge should compel it; for there is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily. But these things are mentioned to show, that a close investigation of the subject is more than ever necessary, and that they are strong evidences of the necessity of the most circumspect conduct in carrying the determination of government into effect, with prudence as it respects our own people, and with every exertion to produce a change for the better from Great Britain.
The memorial seems well designed to answer the end proposed; and by the time it is revised and new-dressed, you will probably (either in the resolutions, which are or will be handed to me, or in the newspaper publications, which you promised to be attentive to,) have seen all the objections against the treaty, which have any real force in them, and which may be fit subjects for representation in the memorial, or in the instructions, or both. But how much longer the presentation of the memorial can be delayed without exciting unpleasant sensations here, or involving serious evils elsewhere, you, who are at the scene of information and action, can decide better than I. In a matter, however, so interesting and pregnant of consequences as this treaty, there ought to be no precipitation; but, on the contrary, every step should be explored before it is taken, and every word weighed before it is uttered or delivered in writing.
The form of the ratification requires more diplomatic experience and legal knowledge than I possess, or have the means of acquiring at this place, and therefore I shall say nothing about it. I am, &c.