George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Biscoe, 29 April 1789

From George Biscoe

Maryland April 29th 1789.

Respected Sir

Before the late revolution I was for several years employed in three different Naval Departments, and since the Government was new modell’d had the honor of the appointment by the Executive of this State to the Trust of Naval Officer for the District of Patuxent & presuming that an Appointment of the Several Naval Officers to the different Districts of the United States will under the Fœderal Goverment to be regulated by you. Permit me to offer you a respectfull tender of my Services and to assure you, (if accepted) that I will by unwearied diligence & a strict attention to the Trust merit your confidence. I have the Honor to be Your most Obedient & very Humble Servant

Geo: Biscoe


George Biscoe of St. Mary’s County, Md., was naval officer and deputy collector at Patuxent before 1789. On 30 April 1789 George Plater wrote to GW from St. Mary’s County that “I have lately been informed that a Petition is forming to remove the present Naval Officer of Patuxent District in this State—the ostensible Reason (as I understand) that he lives & keeps his Office at a place inconvenient to the Merchants or Importers—I will beg Leave to observe, that his Office is at the Door of the District, where it has been kept from Time immemorial, & no Objections made till lately—to satisfy which, & to gratify some particular Persons, he will agree to place a Deputy wherever it may be thought most conducive to the Trade in general—I will further beg Leave to observe, that Mr Biscoe, the present Officer, acted as a Deputy before the Revolution, . . . that he is well acquainted with the Duty of his Office, which (as far as I know) he has allways discharged with Reputation” (DLC:GW). GW’s old friend William Fitzhugh of Chatham also wrote a letter, on 26 April, in support of Biscoe’s candidacy (DLC:GW). GW acknowledged on 14 May the receipt of the letter from Plater, who had presided over the Maryland Ratifying Convention and in 1791 became governor of the state, with his usual statement: “I foresaw the numerous applications which would be made for nominations to offices—and readily conceived that amidst the variety of candidates, it would be one of the most delicate and difficult duties of the President, to discriminate those characters which, upon every account, were best fitted to fill the several offices.” A similar acknowledgment went out on the same day to Fitzhugh (both in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). In the redistricting of the customs under the new government, Nottingham replaced Patuxent as a port of entry, and in August 1789 GW appointed Biscoe collector of the customs there. In March 1792 he was also appointed inspector of the port at Nottingham (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, 104).

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