George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Smith, 14 May 1789

From Thomas Smith

Philada May 14th 1789


I have been upwards of twelve years employed in the laborious business of a Comr of the Continental Loan Office for the State of Pennsylvania which I have endeavoured to discharge with the greatest care, industry & integrity—& I must now entreat of your Excellency some appointment under the new Constitution which is become necessary to me for the support of a large family—as my attention to the business of my Office has thrown me out of every other means of maintaining them. this I know will be the least inducement with you Sir, yet if you should think me qualified for an appointment, it may be considered as a situation I am involved in by the necessary attention to the business of my Office—my unwillingness to interfere with Gentlemen who have held Offices similar to those for which they are applying & the impossibility of yet forming any judgment what the new arrangements may be, prevents my pointing to any particular object—but if in the new arrangement, any Office should be established involving the duties of the one I now hold, I hope my service will induce your Excellency to give me a preference to others, who have not been so well acquainted with the business in which I have been so long employed.1 I have the Honor to be Sir with the most perfect esteem Your Excellencys most Obedt & very hu. Servt

Thos Smith


Thomas Smith (d. 1793) of Philadelphia continued to serve as commissioner of the Continental Loan Office until his death, probably of yellow fever during the 1793 epidemic in Philadelphia. Smith is often confused with Thomas Smith (1745–1809) of Carlisle, Pa., who served as GW’s attorney in handling his western lands.

1On 12 May 1789 Richard Peters wrote GW in support of Smith’s claim, stating that Smith had requested him to approach GW “& tho his being a near Connection of mine induces me to say less respecting him than I otherwise should. He has held the Employment of Loan Officer for the U. S. since its Establishment in this State. Those who have had the immediate Superintendance of the Department in which he served are best acquainted with his Transactions in Detail. But from the Circumstances of the Congress sitting at Philadelphia & the considerable Sums loaned in this State I know he has had much more of the Bussiness thrown on him than has fallen to the Share of any Officer in his Line in other States. I can truly say that he has devoted his whol⟨e⟩ Time to the Duties of his Employment which have been extremely laborious & intricate. His Conduct has given general Satisfaction to the People of the State & I am persuaded they will be pleased with his being continued” (DLC:GW). In August 1790 GW appointed Smith federal commissioner of loans for Pennsylvania (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 1:57).

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