George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Pierce Butler, 15 March 1794

From Pierce Butler

Philada March the 15th 1794


I am sensible You are troubled with the perusing of more letters than can be agreeable to You. I have therefore, to Crave your indulgence for intruding the inclos’d on You—It is an Act of Justice that I owe to the Citizens of So. Carolina to Convey to You their requests.1

⟨I h⟩ad the honor once before, to Name Mr James Simons to ⟨you—⟩He served during the whole of the War in the Cavalry ⟨with g⟩reat reputation.2

He is certainly well qualifie⟨d for disc⟩harging the duties of the Office He solicits.3 ⟨I⟩ have the honor to be with great respect Sir, Yr Most Obedt humble Servt

P. Butler

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, ScU. Where the ALS is mutilated, the text in angle brackets has been supplied from the letter-book copy.

1Pierce Butler currently represented South Carolina in the U.S. Senate. For the enclosure, see note 3.

2James Simons (1761–1815) was currently a merchant in Charleston, South Carolina. As part of his military service during the Revolutionary War, he served in the 3d Regiment of Light Dragoons in the Virginia Continental line under William A. Washington. He held a variety of local offices during his lifetime and served one term in the South Carolina legislature, 1785–86. Simons currently was seeking to replace Isaac Motte as the naval officer at Charleston. In January 1793 Butler recommended Simons for the post of surveyor and inspector for the port of Charleston, but his letter to GW on that occasion has not been found (Butler to Wade Hampton, 28 Jan. 1793, ScU).

3Enclosed was a letter from Simons to Butler of 25 Feb., which was written at Charleston, S.C., and which begins: “The long and serious indisposition of Colo: Motte terminated a day or two ago in the palsy, and it is reported his recovery therefrom is not expected: I therefore take the earliest opportunity to give you this information, that you may be enabled at as early a period as possible to serve me.

“I have not nor shall I make application to any other person. Mr [Ralph] Izards knowledge of my character—his former strong recommendation in my behalf for the collectors place, Colo: Hambletons [Alexander Hamilton] promise to recommend me to the president for the next appointment—my being the oldest candidate—but Sir, what I value much more, your affectionate and friendly assistance, and a consciousness of the justice of my claim for an office encourages me to hope I may be successful.

“I am much hurt at the frequent trouble I have given you. An affectionate Wife and five small children the objects of my care and happiness, form at once my apology” (DLC:GW). Isaac Motte served as the naval officer at Charleston, S.C., until his death on 8 May 1795, and then Simons received the desired appointment. In 1797, President John Adams appointed Simons collector of the customs for the port of Charleston, a position he held until 1805 (Senate 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 , 179, 181, 248).

Index Entries