George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 16 September 1791

To Alexander Hamilton

Head of Elk [Md.] 16th Septr 1791.

Dr Sir,

Whilst I was in Wilmington waiting breakfast to day, I made the best enquiry time & circumstances would permit, for some fit character to fill the office lately held by Doctr Latimer. Several persons were mentioned, but the weight of information was in favor of one Andrew Barratt. He was spoken of by Mr Vining as a man of respectable character, of decision and temper. He now is, or lately has been high Sheriff of the county of Kent; & no man, it is said, could have discharged the duties of that Office better. Mr Bedford, though he had another person in view, (Majr Jacquet), accords in this opinion of Barratt. Doctor Latimer, whom I afterwards called upon, at New Port, for the purpose of enquiry, also speaks well of Barratt. He did indeed, before I mentioned the name of Barratt to him, say that he thought Majr Patten of Dover the best person that readily occurred to him for this office, but yielded a ready assent to the qualifications of Barratt. None knows whether he would, or would not accept the appointment. Among other things, urged in his favor by Mr Vining, are his living near the centre of the State—amidst the Stills, and where the most discontent is said to be. To Mr Chew of Philada Mr Vining particularly appeals for the character of Mr Barratt.1

If his testimony is in favor of this character, I think it will be an eligible appointment. A blank Commission, signed, has been left with Mr Lear for the Supervisor of the Delaware District.2

With much esteem & regard I am Dear Sir, Your mo: obt Servant

G: Washington


1For the appointment and resignation of Dr. Henry Latimer as supervisor and inspector of the revenue for the District of Delaware, see GW to the U.S. Senate, 4 Mar. (third letter), and Executive Order, 15 Mar. 1791. Understanding that the vacancy had not yet been filled, Latimer’s nephew Dr. James McCallmont (1755–1824) wrote GW on 8 Oct. from Christiana Bridge, Del., soliciting the office and naming George Read, Gunning Bedford, Jr., and John Vining as references (DLC:GW). On 15 Sept. Tobias Lear sent Latimer’s returned commission, along with those of John Cogdell and Andrew Pickens, to Henry Remsen, Jr., at the State Department (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

2Alexander Hamilton replied to GW on 6 Oct. that, as Benjamin Chew had “confirmed the character received by you, of Mr [Andrew] Barratt, I have written to Mr Vining requesting him to ascertain whether the appointment will be acceptable to him.” After Barratt proved amenable GW nominated him supervisor on 31 Oct., and the Senate confirmed the appointment on 7 Nov. (GW to the U.S. Senate, 31 Oct. [first letter]; 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 87, 88). See also GW to Hamilton, 10 Oct., Hamilton to GW, 16 October.

Index Entries