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James Monroe's Letters to Edmund Randolf

About the Letter

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Monroe begins this April 14, 1795 letter with his thoughts on the consequences of keeping Jay's Treaty secret - he claims that it is not ideal. He reiterates that he would act appropriately when the information in the Jay Treaty would be finally given to him. He writes about how he must first and foremost give his loyalty to the United States; however, he does not want to injure his standing nor the U.S.’s standing with France. He reports on the Public Council's concern over the arrival of Mr. Jay’s secretary, which is due in part to the secrecy of the treaty. He expresses surprise over his reception of a letter from a Mr. Hitchborn, a politician familiar with the contents of the treaty. Monroe states his confusion as to why Mr. Jay is acting in the way he is regarding the treaty. Monroe is concerned about how this new form of diplomatic proceedings, if continued, would be seen by other governments, particularly the French government. He reports the events and consequences of the trial of Barrere Collot d’Herbois and B. Varennes, the leaders of the Mountain Party. He mentions the horrid state of the prisons in France, especially since the time of Robespierre. He discusses the scarcity of bread, which is especially prevalent in Paris. He says that this could be a potential rallying point behind yet another revolution if the problem was not fixed soon. A movement did commence, according to Monroe, and the letter details how it occurred and resulted with the dissolution of the mountain party. Furthermore, he reports that, for a time, tranquility was present in Paris. Monroe’s next point is how the Convention's actions were directed towards the establishment of the constitution. He concludes with the announcement that France has made peace with Prussia, and details their treaty. A last note is that negotiations with Spain are advancing.