George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Frederick A. Muhlenberg and Other Citizens of Pennsylvania, 17 December 1792

From Frederick A. Muhlenberg and Other Citizens of Pennsylvania

Reading Berks County [Pa.] Decr 17th 1792

We the Subscribers being well acquainted with John Witman junior of the Borough of Reading in the State of Pennsylvania recommend him to your Excellency as a man of Integrity whose Capacity activity and Attention to Business point him out as a fit Person to execute the Office of an Inspector of the Revenue for this District—He was formerly the Excise Officer for Berks County and is at present the Collector of the Revenue— therein under a Deputation from the Supervisor of Pennsylvania in which Trusts having supported the Character of an independent and upright Officer We have every Reason to conclude that shoud he be honored by your Excellency’s Appointment the Revenue Law as far as is within his Reach will be ably and faithfully executed.1

Fredk A Muhlenberg Jacob Rush.
P: Muhlenberg Jos. Hiester
Thos FitzSimons Dan. Clymer
Tho. Scott Peter Filbert
Thos Hartley Gabriel Hiester
Charles Shoemaker
Balser Geehr


1John Witman, Jr., sought appointment as the inspector of the revenue for the second survey in Pennsylvania, which was comprised of Berks, Northampton, Luzerne, and Northumberland counties. Questions about the competency of the current inspector, James Collins, had been raised by Commissioner of the Revenue Tench Coxe in a letter to Alexander Hamilton of 15 Dec. 1792 (see Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 13:328–29). Although rumors of his removal evidently were circulating in December 1792, Collins remained in office for another year. Hamilton wrote GW on 23 Dec. 1793 that “Mr Collins is incapable of executing the duties of the office and that the good of the public service requires his removal” (DLC:GW). Rumors of Collins’s impending dismissal surfaced again, and Witman sought the post a second time. George Clymer, supervisor of the revenue for the District of Pennsylvania, wrote Hamilton on 19 Dec. 1793 that Witman “is considered as respectable in his Character and circumstances, and is doubtless the best collector in the district . . . [and] is extremely popular among the Germans whose language he speaks” (ibid., 26:723). Frederick A. Muhlenberg wrote another letter of recommendation to GW on 20 Dec. 1793 (DLC:GW). Witman, however, failed to obtain the appointment, which went instead to John Boyd (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 29 Jan. 1794, LB, DLC:GW, and copy, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–93, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; 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 1:147–48).

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