George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Mathers, 16 March 1790

From James Mathers

New York March 16 1790.

To His Excellency the President, and the Honble Members of the Senate of the United States

The Petition of James Mathers, Doorkeeper, Humbly sheweth,

That during the Recess of your Honble House, your Petitioner was usefully, and constantly, employed in attending the Secretary’s Office, procuring Fuel and Stoves and in keeping your Chamber, and its Furniture clean.

That no provision hath been made by Law, on which your Petitioner can obtain any Compensation for the above Services.

Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays that your Honble House will be pleased to take his case into consideration, and grant such compensation as you in your wi[s]dom may think just and reasonable.

James Mathers

LS, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Petitions and Memorials, Resolutions of State Legislatures, and Related Documents.

James Mathers (1750–1811), a native of Dublin, Ireland, came to America before the Revolution and settled in New York City. He became assistant doorkeeper for the Confederation Congress in 1785 and was promoted to doorkeeper in 1788. On 7 April 1789 he was appointed doorkeeper for the Senate (DHFC, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends 1:11; Bowling and Veit, Diary of William Maclay, description begins Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit, eds. The Diary of William Maclay and Other Notes on Senate Debates. Baltimore, 1988. description ends 116). On 26 Mar. 1790 Congress awarded Mathers the sum of $96 “for services during the late recess of Congress” under section 6 of “An Act making appropriations for the support of government for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety” (1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 104–5). Mathers remained Senate doorkeeper until his death.

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