George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Fitzgerald, 12 April 1793

To John Fitzgerald

Mount Vernon 12th april 1793.


Enclosed is an open Letter to mister Lee, Collector at Alexandria, requesting him to deliver up the Office books & papers to you;1 tho’ it would be more regular, & in my opinion better that the matter should be suspended until I return to Philadelphia, (for which place I shall set out tomorrow) when a Commission will issue agreeably to Constitutional modes.2 I am Sir, &c.

Geo: Washington


1GW’s letter to Charles Lee of this date, written at Mount Vernon, reads: “Your Letter of the 4th instant came duly to hand. I am sorry it is not convenient for you to exercise the office of Collector at Alexandria any longer; but as it was your wish to deliver up all the official books and papers belonging to your office, before the present date—I requested Colo. Fitzgerald yesterday, to receive them; altho’ it is not agreeable to me to go into the detail of business with any except the head of the Department to which it belongs, or thro’ him with the immediate Agent. However, as you are about to leave town, I shall depart from this rule in the present instance, and do now request that you will consider Colo. Fitzgerald as your Successor in office, and (if it be inconvenient to you to hold them until the matter can pass through the usual form) deliver the official Books & papers to him accordingly” (LB, DLC:GW). For Fitzgerald’s application, see his letter to GW of 5 April 1793. No letter from GW to Fitzgerald of 11 April has been found, but GW may have spoken personally to Fitzgerald on that date.

2On 19 April, GW instructed Thomas Jefferson to issue a commission appointing Fitzgerald as the collector of customs at Alexandria, effective until “the end of the next session of Congress.” GW signed this commission the following day (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 114–15; GW to Fitzgerald, 28 April 1793). GW sent Fitzgerald’s nomination for a permanent appointment to the U.S. Senate on 27 Dec. 1793.

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