From John Waller Johnston
Fredericksburg, Nov. 27. 1792.
When I took the liberty last March, to ask the favor, of your interesting yourself, in my behalf with the Secretary of the Treasury for the appointment of keeper of the light house on Cape Henry, I did not know, that there was any other applicants; but was afterwards informed, that Mr William Lewis,1 of this place had applied before me; & consequently had got the appointment: but last week before he had taken charge, suddenly died, at Norfolk: therefore I have again, taken the liberty, to beg the favor of your interest in this business.
In your letter, in answer to mine of March; your refered me to Mr Griffin, my not having the pleasure of an acquaintance with that gentleman: my friend Mr David M. Randolph,2 interested himself in my behalf; and I believe wrote to Mr Jefferson, on the subject;3 I shall therefore, take it a great favor if you will again, communicate my wish to the Secretary; also the contents of this letter, to Mr Jefferson; and will rely, on your goodness for pardon, for the liberty I have now taken with you.
I will most humbly thank you, to acknowledge the receipt of this, as soon as you convienently can to my address at Fredericksburg. The weakness of my Eyes, has obliged me to resign, my Deputy-Collectorship of Bermuda-Hundred. I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect possible, Your Most Obedient humble, Servant
John Waller Johnston
RC (DLC: Washington Papers). Addressed and franked by Johnston. Nine testimonials supporting Johnston’s application are filed with this letter in the Washington Papers, but some of these were probably enclosed in Johnston to JM, 1 Mar. 1792.
1. William Lewis was appointed surveyor in 1789 and in March 1792 inspector of the customs at Fredericksburg. He had applied for the keepership of the lighthouse at Cape Henry in October 1791 (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , I, 11, 14, 104, 111; Lewis to Jefferson, 22 Oct. 1791, and Lewis to Washington, 12 Nov. 1791 [DLC: Washington Papers]).
2. David Meade Randolph (1760–1830) served in the Revolution as a captain of dragoons and in 1791 succeeded Edward Carrington as U.S. marshal for the district of Virginia (Stanard, “The Randolph Family,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 1st ser., IX [1900–1901], 183; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , I, 86, 88).
3. Randolph to Jefferson, received 30 June 1792 (DLC: Washington Papers).