George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Troup, 6 June 1791

From Robert Troup

New York, 6 June 1791. As an officer of the federal court for the New York district, he has observed the conduct of Justus Bush Smith as deputy marshal both before and during his brother’s absence1 and states “with the strictest regard to truth, that Mr Smith has ever appeared to me to have been upright, vigilant, active and firm in the discharge of the several duties incumbent upon him;” he does not hesitate to declare that Smith “is in every respect well qualified to execute the office of Marshal of this District,”2 recommending him “in the strongest terms, to your faverable notice.”3


Robert Troup (1757–1832) graduated from King’s College in 1774 and studied law under John Jay before the Revolution. After serving as an officer in the Continental army, Troup resumed his legal studies under William Paterson in the 1780s and practiced in Albany and New York City, where he became a close friend of Alexander Hamilton. For his support of the federal Constitution, Troup was selected as a bearer of the Constitution in New York City’s grand procession of 23 July 1788. GW appointed him federal judge for the district of New York in 1796 (GW to the U.S. Senate, 9 Dec. 1796). Troup invested heavily in New York’s western lands and was agent for Pulteney Associates from 1800 until his death.

1In requesting a leave of absence, U.S. marshal for the New York district William Stephens Smith informed GW on 1 Dec. 1790 that he would leave the executive business of the courts in charge of his brother Justus Bush Smith, one of his deputy marshals, “who from being constantly with me in the office is fully competent to the discharge of its duties, and for which I shall consider myself responsible” (GW to William Stephens Smith, 7 Dec. 1790, n.1).

2The office became vacant after GW appointed William Stephens Smith to the more lucrative post of supervisor of the revenue for New York on 4 Mar., and GW authorized Henry Knox to offer the position to Marinus Willett (see Willett to GW, 31 July). On 5 July Aquila Giles of King’s County, N.Y., reapplied for the position that had eluded him since 11 Aug. 1789. GW named Matthew Clarkson marshal, who had unsuccessfully solicited from GW the office of U.S. auditor, and Clarkson acknowledged receipt of his commission on 15 Aug. (Clarkson to GW, 16 July, DLC:GW, 15 Aug., DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters) GW sent Clarkson’s nomination to the Senate after Congress convened, and it was confirmed on 7 Nov. (see Jay to GW, 13 Mar. and note 1, GW to the U.S. Senate, 31 Oct., and Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:86, 88).

3Although New York district attorney Richard Harison also recommended Smith this day, probably to GW (DLC:GW), Smith received no appointment from GW.

Index Entries