George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Anthony Wayne, 10 May 1789

From Anthony Wayne

Richmond [County], State of Georgia 10th May 1789


I did myself the honor of addressing your Excellency in April,1 by Genl Jackson, & have since that period been extremely gratified by hearing of your happy arrival at the seat of Government, & acceptance of the supreme Executive Authority of the United States—an event, that I am confident affords the sincerest pleasure to every true friend of America.

I also observe that the Impost Act was in great forwardness on the 29th Ultimo, which by this time must be matured for Operation2—& as the appointment of proper persons to Collect the duties &ca is a power principally vested in your Excellency—may I take the liberty to mention my former Aid Colo. Benja. Fishbourn, to be continued Collector under Congress for the State of Georgia to which office he was lately appointed by the Executive in place of a Mr Ruben Wilkinson who was suspended for mal practice, & notwithstanding this fact, has the hardiness to appear in New York to solicit that Appointment under Congress—& will very probably be recommended by a Mr Gunn who now holds a seat in the Senate thro’ the intrigues&ca of Mr Wilkinson.3

Permit me also to mention my very particular friend Colo. Sharp Delany, the present Collector of the port of Phila. who is an honest man, a good Citizen, & always one of your sincerest votary’s.4

I shou’d not have presumed to take this liberty but from this Circumstance—that those Gentlemen are now in possession of those Offices—by their respective state Appointments!

I ought here to pause, & not attempt to intrude further upon the time & patience of Your Excellency, but as one freedom is often productive of more, permit me for once to verify the Observation, by wishing that your Excellency & Congress wou’d as soon as convenient turn your thoughts Southwardly—which will naturally be the case, from the present critical situation of this Country—as well as from an other Momentious consideration VIZ. the immense & valuable territory already Ceded & to be Ceded, by the States of Georgia & North Carolina, abounding with every possible advantage that a happy Climate—luxuriancy of soil, & Navigation can afford—which opens a field for National Speculation, vastly superior to that between the Ohio & Mississipi—& well worthy of the immediate & most serious attention of the Magnum Concilium of America.

I have lately been fortunate enough to procure an Accurate Map of the river Mississipi from Iberville to the river Yazous— from actual survey—which I do myself the honor to send by this Opportunity—it is considered as the Garden spot of the American World, & was parceled out, by the Ministry to themselves & favourites—under the direction of the famous Govr Johnston & a Lieut. Govr Chester from 1763 to 1768; I expect to get possession of the pamphlet or book containing the Names of the persons to whom grants were made agreeably to the Numbers with the lines delieneated on the Map.

The 31º of North Latitude is about fourteen miles below Davion or Loftus Cliffs! the Confluence of the River Y⟨azoo⟩ with the Mississipi is about 32º 30’ N. Latitude.

Shou’d your Excellency & Congress at anytime turn your attent⟨ion⟩ that way, I will always be ready to serve you with my ⟨best⟩ services, either in the line of my profession as a soldier or an Appointment simular in the Southern Distr⟨ict⟩ to that which Genl St Clair holds to the Westward, & shou’d your Excellency be of Opinion, that my t⟨ried⟩ & past services—added to the knowledge I have of the Country, merits some Attention—may I hope for your voice upon the Occasion.

have the goodness to pardon this long intrus⟨ion⟩ & believe me to be with the profoundest Esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obt & very Hume Sert

Anty Wayne

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 161; ADfS, MiU-C.

2The House of Representatives began discussions on the first impost to be imposed under the new government on 8 April 1789, when James Madison introduced a resolution proposing a revenue bill which not only would incorporate much of the Continental Congress’s impost of 1783 but also would discriminate in favor of American vessels and those belonging to nations having a commercial treaty with the United States (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 1st Cong., 1st sess., 106–8). Although there was considerable optimism both in and out of Congress that an impost bill could be completed in time to raise revenue from the spring importations, debate over the specifics of the duties and the principle of discrimination delayed agreement until the end of June, and “An Act for laying a Duty on Goods, Wares, and Merchandises imported into the United States,” was not signed into law until 4 July. “An Act imposing Duties on Tonnage” was finally approved on 20 July (1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 24–28; De Pauw, Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends 3:35–37, 76–77, 102–4, 105, 106, 115).

3For the competition over the customs office at Savannah, see Lachlan McIntosh to GW, 14 Feb. 1789, n.4. Fishbourn had already applied for the collectorship. See GW to Fishbourn, 23 Dec. 1788.

4Delany wrote GW on 20 April 1789 asking to be considered for the collectorship of Philadelphia.

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