George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Smith, 22 September 1794

From Samuel Smith

Baltimore 22d Septr 94


The Post of Marshall for the District of Maryland having become Vacant by the removal of Colonel Ramsay,1 I am solicited by the Friends of Mr Jacob Graybell (that Gentleman having marched against the Insurgents) to entreat your Excellency in his behalf. The Connections of Mr Graybell are very respectable & numerous—he has been employed by Coln. Ramsay as Deputy Marshall—In which Office from his residence being in Baltimore he has been under the necessity of doing nearly the whole Business & it is with Pleasure that I inform your Excely that his conduct has met with general Approbation. Permit me to add that the Office cannot be bestowed on any more Capable or more Worthy than Mr Graybell—I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Most obedt Servant

Sam. Smith


Smith also recommended Jacob Graybell (Graybill) in a letter to Edmund Randolph of this date, and others who recommended him included Judge William Paca, former congressmen Samuel Sterett and George Gale, and the former marshal, Nathaniel Ramsay. Paca wrote in a letter of 23 Sept., presumably addressed to GW: "This Gentleman was Col. Ramsay’s principal Deputy and generally did the Business of the office. I know him to be firmly attached to our Government and Laws and to possess the Spirit & Decision of an executive officer: he was Marshal for the State before the Establishment of the present general Government & gave universal approbation."

Sterett wrote to GW on 27 Sept. that "I have great pleasure in giving my testimony of his Merits and Capacity. Mr Graybell acted as Marshall of the Admiralty Court under the state Jurisdiction, prior to the establishment of the present Constitution of the United States, and since that period as Deputy Marshall of the District of Maryland with general approbation and with honor to himself." He gave similar testimony in a second letter of that date, presumably to Randolph.

Gale wrote to GW on 27 Sept.: "Without particularly knowing him, I have taken the liberty of saying that from his general Character for Capacity & attention to his private Business I believe he would very properly discharge the duties of a Marshall." Gale’s knowledge was so slight that he wrote that the applicant who would present the letter was "Mr John Graybell," but the letter is docketed and filed as a recommendation for Jacob Graybell.

Ramsay’s letter to GW of 10 Oct. recommended Graybell "as a person in my opinion well qualified to execute the office of Marshal for this state." As Ramsay’s "principal Deputy," he had "uniformly conducted himself to my entire satisfaction" (all letters DLC:GW).

GW signed a commission for Graybell on 6 Nov. (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 321) and nominated him for the post on 10 December. The Senate confirmed the appointment the next day (Senate Executive Journal, 164-65). He served until 1800.

1On 29 Aug., GW had appointed Ramsay to become the naval officer at Baltimore (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 319).

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