George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Francis Corbin, 20 February 1794

From Francis Corbin

Virga. L⟨ane⟩ville1 Feby 20th 1794


The office of Collector on this River—(Rappohannock) I am told, is vacant.2 A desire to introduce to the public service a man of long tried worth is the best apology I can make to you, who are in the habit of rewarding merit, for my requesting your patronage of Mr George Turner. He is desirous to supply the vacancy—and he is competent, in Ev’ry way, to the discharge of his Duties should he be gratified with the appointment.

His fidelity and Integrity, during thirty years Service in our family, has Endeared him to the whole of it. His Virtues are notorious to the District in which he lives, and need not the panegyric of any Individual whatever.3

Permit me to add as a public Consideration, that all the Responsible part of my family will become his Securities—so that in case of a delinquency (which is almost impossible) the Secretary of the Treasury will have more property to Resort to than he could have under the appointment of any other person (who would solicit the office) on this River.4 With Ev’ry Sentiment of Veneration and Esteem I am Sir Yr Mo. Obt Servt

Francis Corbin


1Laneville was the Corbin family estate in King and Queen County.

2On the vacancy in the office of collector of customs for the District of Tappahannock, on the Rappahannock River, see Hudson Muse to GW, 27 Jan., and n.3 to that document.

3George Turner had begun his service as a steward at Laneville under Richard Corbin (c.1714–1790), the father of Francis Corbin (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:161).

4Under section 52 of “An Act to provide more effectually for the collection of the duties imposed by law on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels,” 4 Aug. 1790, every collector must “give bond with one or more sufficient sureties, to be approved of by the comptroller of the treasury of the United States, and payable to the said United States, with condition for the true and faithful discharge of the duties of his office.” The amount of the bond varied according to the location of the office. The bond expected from the collector of the Tappahannock district was $2,000 (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:145, 171). For another letter recommending Turner, see Richard Bland Lee to Alexander Hamilton, 6 March (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 122–23). Mr. Turner did not receive this appointment (see GW to U.S. Senate, 5 March 1794).

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