George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate, 12 January 1792

To the United States Senate

United States, January the 12th: 1792.

Gentlemen of the Senate,

I nominate Richard Peters to be District Judge of the Pennsylvania District: vice William Lewis, who has resigned his Appointment.1

Go: Washington

DS, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations.

1For the background to this appointment, see William Lewis to GW, 8 July 1791, in Edmund Randolph to GW, 13 July 1791, n.1, and Timothy Pickering to GW, 7 Jan. 1792. Lewis wrote Tobias Lear this day that “the Office of District Judge for the Pennsylvania District will be very acceptable to Mr Peters if he is honored with the appointment” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). The Senate confirmed GW’s nomination of Richard Peters on 13 Jan. (see Lear to Thomas Jefferson, 13 Jan. 1792, DLC:GW; 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 1:97). In acknowledging receipt of his commission, Peters wrote GW on 30 Jan. that he had requested the secretary of state to delay sending it, as “I had some important Objects in the State much at Heart & it was the Wish of the Members of the Senate that I would not leave the Chair precipitately. The Duties of the federal Appointment now demanding my Attention I shall this Day, or to morrow, resign my Seat in the Senate, & take the Oath, prescribed by Law, previous to my entering on my official Functions” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; see also Jefferson to GW, 15 Jan. 1792; Peters to Jefferson, 14 Jan., Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 23:41–42). Peters served as federal district court judge until his death in 1828, and he became one of the most distinguished members of the early federal judiciary, particularly in admiralty proceedings, publishing in 1807 Admiralty Decisions in the District Court of the United States for the Pennsylvania District, 1780–1807.

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