George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Wynkoop, 23 December 1790

From James Wynkoop

Philadelphia Dec. 23d 1790


The Constitution of the united States having rendered it expedient to resort to the federal Government for such prudent regulations as may best tend to secure the different Ports of the United States from the Introduction of pestilential Diseases by Sea, and a law for this purpose having been already agitated in the House of Representatives in Consequence of a Petition,1 drawn up by my much respected Friend Doctor McHenry—The Establishment of Health officer for the Port of Baltimore among other things seems to be a necessary Consequence of such Regulations—The Petition to which I have the honor to allude, signed by a number of my fellow Citizens contains a proof of their good wishes for my personal Success in the application I now have the honor, with great defference & respect, of making to your Excellency, to solicit most humbly, the appointment of inspecting Physician for the Port of Baltimore, when the System is carried into Effect.2

I have the further honor of inclosing to your Excellency the within Papers, as Testimonies of the Idea Gentlemen of the Faculty and others are pleased to entertain of my fitness and ability to perform the Duties of this important Office. I am, with the greatest Defference and Respect, Your Excellencys Most obt Sert

Jas: Wynkoop


James Wynkoop (d. 1791) was a Baltimore physician. For the background to this letter, see John Coulter to GW, 23 Dec. 1790, n.1.

1Wynkoop wrote “Petitition.”

2Wynkoop enclosed three recommendations. The first recommendation, dated 3 Dec. 1790, was signed by Baltimore physicians George Brown, Lyde Goodwin, Moses Haslett, Henry Keerly, E. Johnson, and William Lacaze and testified to Wynkoop’s “Abilities, as a Physician, and of the propriety of his conduct, as a Citizen and Gentleman.” The second recommendation, dated Philadelphia, 20 Dec. 1790, was signed by Philadelphia physicians William Shippen, Adam Kuhn, Benjamin Rush, and James Hutchinson, all of whom were members of the faculty of the College of Philadelphia; they certified that Wynkoop had studied medicine under the direction of the late Dr. Phineas Bond, had graduated from the College of Philadelphia, and “hath since practiced physic with reputation in the States of Delaware & Maryland upwards of 16 years.” The third recommendation, describing Wynkoop as “well qualified for a faithful and competent Discharge of the Duties of health officer,” was dated 20 Dec. 1790 and was signed by prominent Philadelphians George Meade, Charles Pettit, Thomas Fisher, Samuel Powel, John Barclay, William Bingham, Sharp Delany, William White, Miers Fisher, and Benjamin Chew, Jr. (all three enclosures are in DLC:GW).

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