George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Abbott Hall, 31 March 1789

From George Abbott Hall

Charleston So. Carolina 31st March 1789

Although it may appear a degree of <pre>sumption in me to address Your Excellency, yet were I to neglect it, it might be deemed a fault, the occasion I trust will plead my excuse—The inclosed Letters will explain the motives, which I hope backed by the opinion of The Senators from this State, will have some weight in continuing me in the Office of Collector for this Port under the new Government, which Office I have held for the State since the Revolution1—should any other Candidates of superior abilities offer for the Office, I must rest satisfied, and rejoice that such are to be found, but should Your Excellency and the Senate think me sufficiently qualified my unremitted attention shall be used in the faithful discharge of it.2 With the greatest respect & wishes for Your Excellencys health, I take the Liberty to subscribe myself—Your Excellencys Most Obedient and Most humble Servant

Geo: Abbott Hall


George Abbott Hall (d. 1791) was a Charleston merchant who had served in the South Carolina provincial congress in 1775 and 1776 and acted as a commissioner of the state’s navy from 1776 to 1780. He was appointed receiver of continental taxes for South Carolina by Robert Morris in 1782. Hall had also served as collector of customs for the port of Charleston since 1776.

1GW received a number of letters from prominent South Carolinians congratulating him upon the probability of his election and recommending Hall as an outstanding candidate for a federal appointment: from Charles Pinckney, 2 Mar., from William Moultrie, 12 Mar., from John Mathews, 12 Mar., from Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 2 April, from Thomas Bee, 5 April, all in DLC:GW and from Edward Rutledge, April 1789, PPRF. GW also acknowledged, 5 May 1789, receipt of a letter from John Rutledge recommending Hall. Rutledge’s letter has not been found.

2On 5 May GW wrote Hall in reply to his application that he had received his letter “attended with many very respectable testimonials in your favor, and shall, at a proper time, give them all the consideration which they seem to merit” (DLC:GW). On the same day he replied to Moultrie, Mathews, Bee, Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Edward Rutledge, and John Rutledge. All of these letters are in DLC:GW and reflect GW’s unwillingness to make any commitments on federal appointments. The letters emphasize GW’s impression expressed in his letter to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney that “I have scarcely ever seen, in the course of my life, more unequivocal testimonials in favor of any public Man, than those which have been transmitted from South Carolina in favor of Mr Hall.” Hall was reappointed collector at Charleston on 5 Aug. 1789 (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:11, 15).

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