George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Allibone, 12 October 1789

From William Allibone

Philadelphia October 12th 1789


at the request of A number of my fellow citizens I take the liberty of Offering myself A candidate for the appointment of superintendance of the Several Establishments for the security of the navigation in the Bay and River Deleware, that I am thus late in making my application arises from the following causes, it not being well understood that a general apointment of that kind was to be made, and from the act of legislature of this state ceding the same being hastily passed at a time it was not Expected in the latter part of their late session. as well as that they yet Remain under the Imediate care and mannagement of myself. as Master Warden of the port, in pursuance of which duties as well as those of my late profession of A mariner I am led to Believe that I have perfect knowledge of their nature and consequence. as I have not the Honor of being personally known to your Excellency I have accompanied this address with A recomendation put into my hands by some of those Gentlemen who are and Such whose reputation will I hope be of use to me in forming your Opinion,1 should that be Favourable to my pretentions, it will ever be held in gratefull remembrance by one who has the honor to Subscribe himself your most Obedient and most Humble Servent

Willm Allibone


William Allibone (d. 1797), a Philadelphia merchant and shipmaster, had served from time to time in the city’s militia. During the Revolution he served as commissioner for the defense of the Delaware Bay and River, and, as he indicates in his letter, he was now master warden for the port.

1The recommendation is now missing. Allibone also wrote to Alexander Hamilton on this day, informing him of his application to the president. “Some of my Friends, on finding I had an Inclination to apply for the appointment of Superintendant of the light house, Beacons Buoys and publick Piers, have put Into my hands A Recommendation . . . addressed to the president. . . . I . . . am at A loss whether to attend at the seat of government in person or not and should consider it as A particular Favour if I could receive Information on that head” (DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Letters Received, Vol. “A,” Pennsylvania and Southern States). In January 1790 Hamilton gave Allibone a temporary appointment as superintendent, made permanent in April (Hamilton to GW, 3 Jan. 1790, Allibone to Hamilton, 29 April 1790, both in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 6:43–49, 398–99).

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