George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Mordecai Gist, 25 July 1789

From Mordecai Gist

Charleston So. Carolina 25 July 1789

Dear Sir

The constitution of the United States having invested the President with the power of nominating officers for the different departments of the present Government, I have in consequence thereof taken the liberty of presenting myself to your Excellency; & shall be exceedingly happy to accept of any appointment in this State, or the State of Maryland that I may be deemed qualified for.1 should I hap’ly possess that share of ability & Integrity as to merit your confidence to put me in nomination, I shall esteem it a particular honor confer’d on Yr Excellencys Mo. Obdt Servt

M. Gist


Mordecai Gist (1743–1792) was the nephew of GW’s old frontier colleague Christopher Gist. As a young man Mordecai settled in Baltimore and went into business. When the Revolution began he entered military service as the captain of the Baltimore Independent Company and by 1776 was a major in Smallwood’s 1st Maryland Battalion. Gist served with distinction during the war and attained the rank of brigadier general. After the war he settled in Charleston, although his letter to GW indicates he was considering a return to Maryland.

1During the discussions on the Judiciary Bill in the summer of 1789, Gist again wrote to GW, 27 Aug., offering himself as a candidate for the post of marshal for the district of South Carolina (DLC:GW). Gist’s name appears on GW’s list made “from a great variety of characters who have made a tender of their services for Suitable Offices” (GW to Hamilton, 25 Sept. 1789), but he received no federal appointment in 1789. When his name was again brought up during the appointment of general officers for the newly reorganized army in March 1792, GW observed, “little has ever been said of his qualifications as a General Officer—His activity, & attention to duty is somewhat doubtful; tho’ his spirit, I believe, is unimpeached” (Opinion of General Officers, 9 Mar. 1792). He did not receive a military appointment.

Index Entries