Summerville 10th Decr 1796.
This will be handed you by my friend, mr William Claiborne junr who is at present a judge of the superiour court in the state of Tennessee and who aspires to the office of District judge of that state; where I spent several days, in a late tour through the Western country. Mr Claiborne has much the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens in that quarter; among whom he has been a very successful practitioner of the law for several years: indeed his superior talents, great sobriety, and intense application to business, distinguish him from the generality of young gentlemen of his age: and should he be so fortunate as to succeed in his application, I am persuaded you will never have cause to regret the appointment.
I hope sir you will pardon the liberty I have taken on this occasion, and while the pen is yet in my hand, and you are about to retire to the enjoyment of domestick tranquility, permit me to express my entire approbation, and admiration, of the wisdom, ability, and firmness with which you have discharged the arduous duties of the most important office in the United States, at a time when party—prejudice, interested views, and (perhaps) resentment of supposed injuries, combining, are ever active in misrepresentations to the people, and in unremitting endeavours to thwart a wise and just administration of one of the best governments in the universe. With the highest veneration for your publick and virtues, and most fervent prayers for your present and future happiness, I have the honor to be, dear sir, Your obedient servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.