George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Matthew McAllister, 26 August 1789

From Matthew McAllister

Savannah August 26th 1789.


Were I to solicit your attention to this application when business of greater importance only did not engage it, perhaps it would pass unnoticed, but I flatter my self otherwise from the circumstances attending it, Permit me Sir to congratulate you upon the organization of the General Government, & the happy progress made under it since the meeting of Congress Under which it is my wish to act a small part. Being bred to the profession of the Law at Lancaster in Pennsylvania after taking the initial degrees at Princeton in Jersey in 1779 I exchanged the Climate of Pennsylva for one more suited to my habit setled in this Town & I have practiced upwards of five years, the latter three of which I have acted the Character of Attorney General for the State by appointment from the Legislature, have been a Member of that Body & of the Convention for altering our Constitution.

By a Copy of the Judiciary Bill as passed the Senate transmited me by Mr Few I find a person will be appointed in each District to act in behalf of the United States &ca. That appointment in this State Sir, would be highly gratifying to me, being in some measure habituated to business of a like nature from the office I hold.

I have been induced sir to be thus particular not having had the Honor of being known to you & have taken this liberty from information that direct application is usual & required. Should I in this instance be noticed it will be highly satisfactory. I am Sir with Sentiments of the highest respect & Esteem Your Most obdt & very Humble Servt

Matthew McAllister


Matthew McAllister (1758–1823) on 29 Aug. again wrote to GW requesting a judicial post and repeating much of the biographical information. On that same day, Nathaniel Pendleton wrote GW that he considered McAllister “a man of Strickt honor and Integrity . . . very well qualified to fulfil the duties of the Office he solicits if he should be appointed to it.” Both letters are in DLC:GW. In September 1789 GW appointed him United States district attorney for Georgia, a post he held until 1796 when he became a judge in the Georgia Superior Court. McAllister’s letter of acceptance, 20 Oct., is in DNA: RG 59, Acceptances and Orders for Commissions. His three letters written 10 June, 25 July, and 1 Aug. 1796, in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the post of district judge for Georgia, are in DLC:GW.

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