Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4

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Author: Edmund Randolph

U.S. History

From Edmund Randolph.

Richmond, 2 March, 1786.

DEAR SIR,

The delay which has hitherto occurred in transmitting to you the inclosed proceedings, will be ascribed, I hope, to its true causes; one of which will be found in my last letter, and the other, in the daily expectation of Mr. Ross’s visit to Mount Vernon, in pursuance of our resolution of the 8th of December, 1785. You may possibly be surprised, that a work, which has already expended a considerable sum of money, should be delineated in so few words as the copies now sent contain. But I beg leave to inform you, that we have detailed, in the execution, almost the whole of the resolutions.

For example; we have procured the ascertainment of a precise point to which the navigation is to be extended, Crow’s Ferry being now established as such. We are authorized to borrow money at six per cent., and to extend the number of shares. Inexperienced as we were, we yet conceived that our duty called for an examination of the ground between Richmond and Westham. The difficulties seemed greater than we at first apprehended. As soon as the report is prepared by a more skilful hand than we affect to be, it shall be forwarded to you.

The old books of subscriptions are not complete, as I supposed when I wrote to you last. Seven shares are still unoccupied, of which we shall reserve the five which you wished for yourself. It was impossible to engage any other labor than that of blacks; and this necessity has obliged us to bring the laborers into actual service earlier, perhaps, than we should have done in the present state of our imperfect knowledge of canals. But the subscribers would have been dissatisfied, had we not begun in the course of this year; and negroes, you know, Sir, must be hired in January at farthest.

Concerning our progress in this great business, our plans, and future expectations, we beg you to inquire of James Harris, our Manager, who will deliver this letter. He is a quaker, of good character as a man, and a mechanic, formed by nature for the management of water, when applied to mills. He has added nothing to his natural turn by the view of any great works. We therefore request, if you see no impropriety, that you would give him such a passport to the Potomac works, as will enable him to get a thorough insight into what is there projected. You perceive that Mr. Ross was originally intended to be sent to Mount Vernon for this purpose; but he has been, for a length of time, under a severe disease, and is not yet restored. The office of subordinate Manager, mentioned in one of the resolutions, does not exist; it being swallowed up in that of Mr. Harris. It is not improbable that Mr. Harris may continue his journey to the Susquehanna Canal. If so, we shall thank you to furnish him with a certificate of being employed by the James River Company, in any manner which may appear most likely to introduce him into an acquaintance with these of that scheme who may be most intelligent.

Thus, my dear Sir, I have written to you, at the desire of my brethren in office, a tedious account of our operations. Permit me, therefore, to return to the contemplation of private friendship, and to assure you that I am always,

With the greatest respect and esteem, yours, &c.,

EDMUND RANDOLPH.

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Chicago: Edmund Randolph, "From Edmund Randolph.," Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4 in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. Jared Sparks (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1853), 128–130. Original Sources, accessed August 10, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5AUBMBZ49ZQTRA4.

MLA: Randolph, Edmund. "From Edmund Randolph." Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4, in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, edited by Jared Sparks, Vol. 4, Freeport, NY, Books for Libraries Press, 1853, pp. 128–130. Original Sources. 10 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5AUBMBZ49ZQTRA4.

Harvard: Randolph, E, 'From Edmund Randolph.' in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 4. cited in 1853, Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. , Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, pp.128–130. Original Sources, retrieved 10 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5AUBMBZ49ZQTRA4.