George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander McCaskey, 4 July 1789

From Alexander McCaskey

Baltimore July 4th 1789

May it Please your Excellency

As under your Auspicious Administration the Government of the United States is fast approaching to consolidation and of course a Number of New Offices will arise in the various Ports of the Nation, I humbly beg leave to mention my Name among the list of Candidates for the surveyorship of Imposts for the Town of Baltimore. Having had the Honour of serving several years in the American Army as Deputy Comissary Genl of Forage under Genl Mifflin & Coll Biddle, has in some degree Emboldened me in the Application, and have the confidence to hope that my Pretention to the Appointment, will be Recommended by such future testimony as will meet with the Approbation of your Excellency.1 I have the Honour to be your Excellency’s most Obedient & very Humble Servt

Alexr McCaskey


Alexander McCaskey had been taken prisoner in the summer of 1778 while working as deputy forage master (McCaskey to Continental Congress, 11 Nov. 1780, DNA:PCC, item 42). After the war he apparently served as postmaster for Havre de Grace, Md. (list of postmasters, 1788, DNA:PCC, item 61).

1McCaskey’s application was supported by James McHenry, who wrote GW on 2 July describing McCaskey “as a worthy citizen of a fair and honest character, who I make no doubt would duly and faithfully execute any trust to which he is competent” (DLC:GW). On 8 July McCaskey again wrote to GW, enclosing “Genl Mifflins & Coll Biddle’s Certificate respecting my Conduct in the American Army—I hope it may be a means of my obtaining an Office which will fully compensate for the fatigues I have undergone in the War” (DLC:GW). The certificate from Thomas Mifflin and Clement Biddle is not now among the applications for office in DLC:GW. In August 1793, after the death of Robert Ballard, the surveyor for the port of Baltimore, McCaskey wrote to GW asking to be considered for the post: “Mr James Burn who now does the business of Surveyor & Inspector & has Acted as Coll Ballards Deputy & Clerk, is my Son in law Your Appointing me woud be a provision for two helpless families, & trust the business woud be executed with fidelity & Promptness. All the Applicants I have heard of are allready in business. Aided by Powerfull & Rich Connexions, or in some place of Proffit under Government” (McCaskey to GW, 19 Aug. 1793, DLC:GW). With a second letter, 20 Aug. 1793, McCaskey enclosed a certificate, 19 Aug. 1793, signed by five Baltimore businessmen supporting his application (DLC:GW). McCaskey received no federal appointment but apparently was appointed to a minor post in the Baltimore customs by the collector. After running into serious financial difficulties in the early 1790s, he was removed from the post. See Otho Holland Williams Papers description begins Maryland Historical Records Survey Project. Calendar of the General Otho Holland Williams Papers in the Maryland Historical Society. Baltimore, 1940. description ends , 240, 241, 286.

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