George Washington Papers

David Sewall to Tobias Lear, 20 February 1793

David Sewall to Tobias Lear

york in the district of Maine Feby 20th 1793


From some News paper publications, and which in this instance are probably true, Henry Dearbourn Esqr., the Marshall of this district, is Elected a Member of Congress, and should he accept, as there is no great doubt he will, if he is chose, That office will become vacant.1 The office is by no means lucrative: yet when offices of almost any kind are vacant, there are generally Persons enough seeking after them. And earnest seekers are not always the most suitable. I would mention Capt. John Hobby of Portland, as suitable to supply the place as any that has occurred to me.2 He is the principal deputy mr Dearbourne has; And has some acquaintance with the duties of the office—is conveniently situated—and is a Person of that activity, age, respe[c]tability &c. such a situation seems to require. Mr Dearbourne has performed the duties unexceptionably—And this Communication is by no means intended, to militate with his reappointment at the expiration of the four years (which expires about Septemr next) should it be compatible with the constitution. All that is intended or Wished for, is, that in case of a Vacancy, Capt. Hobby may be brought into the Presidents recollection on the Occision. I am Sir your obedient Humble Servant

David Sewall


1Henry Dearborn (1751–1829), a Revolutionary War veteran who had served as a Continental deputy quartermaster 1781–82, had been the marshal of the District of Maine since 1789. Dearborn represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress from 1793 to 1797, and he later served as secretary of war throughout most of Thomas Jefferson’s two administrations. Dearborn, with the rank of general, led American troops during the War of 1812, and he finished his public service as minister to Portugal under President James Monroe.

2John Hobby, currently the deputy marshal for Maine, had solicited GW for the position of inspector of the militia in 1791 (John Kilby Smith to GW, 7 Jan. 1791, and source note). Massachusetts congressman George Thatcher wrote a letter to John Adams on 14 Feb. and another to Jefferson on 3 Mar. 1793 recommending Hobby for the position of marshal (both are in DLC:GW). Hobby received an interim appointment as marshal in April (Jefferson to Hobby, 19 April, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 114–15). Sewall, the U.S. District Court judge for Maine, wrote a second letter of recommendation for Hobby on 4 May 1793, this time to Jefferson (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 25:651). On 27 Dec. 1793 GW submitted Hobby’s nomination to the U.S. Senate, which the Senate confirmed on 30 Dec. (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 1:142–44). Hobby was reappointed by President John Adams in 1798 (ibid., 258).

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