George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 1 October 1795

From Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

Treasury Depart: Octob: 1st 1795


The enclosed papers are respectfully submitted to the consideration of the President; in consequence of which certain new appointments appear to be necessary.

A Letter from John Ross Collector of Burlington District New Jersey dated July 2nd 1795, tendering his resignation on the 30th of September 1795. The person recommended is Mr Moses Kempton who from what I have been able to learn is a fit character. The office is of little consequence in point of emolument, & no other Candidate has appeared.1

A Letter from Mr Zachariah Rhodes surveyor of the port of Pawtuxet in Rhode Island dated September 29th tendering a resignation. From the recommendation of Colo. Olney, I infer that Joseph Aborn is a suitable person to receive the appointment.2

Andrew Agnew, Collector for Beaufort, South Carolina, was some time since represented to The President as a delinquent Officer; but no appointment was made for want of information respecting a successor. Mr Agnew has made no returns for several years, notwithstanding there is good reason to believe that he has receiv’d money on account of the Public. By information from Mr De Saussure, I am satisfied, that a displacement is absolutely necessary; & in consequence of intelligence obtained through him, I take the liberty to recommend Mr John Grayson, who is named in the enclosed Letter from John M. Verdier, & who is reported to be a gentleman of honour & character.3

In the foregoing cases, Commissions as Inspectors of the Revenue will be due of course to the persons who may be appointed Collectors.

The office of superintendant of the Lighthouse at Charleston, So. Carolina, has become vacant by the death of Edward Blake. Mr Daniel Stevens, the present Supervisor of the Revenue, solicits the appointment. As the superintendence of the Lighthouse will require but a small proportion of time, & as the compensation will form a convenient addition to the emoluments of the Supervisor’s office it appears to be expedient to comply with Mr Stevens’s desire.4 But instead of a salary of Two hundred & sixty Dollars per annum as was allowed to Mr Blake, it will probably be best to allow a Commission on the Expenditures as is now the general rule, where the care of Lighthouses is committed to persons holding other appointments under the Government.

If The President is pleased to confer the appointment on Mr Stevens, the question of Compensation can be reserved for consideration hereafter, & established according to some more convenient & œconomical rule than by salary. I have the honor to be &c.

Olivr Wolcott Jr


1In his letter to Wolcott of 2 July, John Ross recommended Moses Kempton (1750–1818) as “very well acquainted with all my Accounts has for the most part transacted the business in my behalf since the death of Mr Phillips my foremer Assistant” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Kempton was appointed by GW and remained as collector of the Burlington District until 1804, when Thomas Jefferson replaced him following complaints that he was “a violent Federalist, and a rigid persecutor of Republicans” (Amos Hutchins et al. to Jefferson, 25 May 1803, DNA: RG 59, Letters of Application and Recommendation during the Administration of Thomas Jefferson).

2Zachariah Rhodes’s letter of resignation to Wolcott is dated 19 Sept. (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). In his letter to Wolcott of 23 Sept., Jeremiah Olney recommended Joseph Aborn (1765–1841) “as a Suitable person to succeed to that office, he is a Gentleman of good Character, and I have no doubt (should he be appointed) but he will discharge his Duty with Honor” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Rhodes also recommended Aborn, who was appointed by GW and served as surveyor (later surveyor and inspector) for the port of Pawtuxet, R.I., until his death.

3Andrew Agnew was appointed as collector at Beaufort, S.C., by 1787 and continued in that post under the federal government. The earlier complaint about him has not been identified. After his dismissal he remained in government records as a defaulter on $215.41 due on 30 Sept. 1795 (25th Cong., 2d session, H. Doc. 111, 17 Jan. 1838). Wolcott enclosed John Mark Verdier’s letter to Henry William DeSaussure of 25 August. The relevant portion informed DeSaussure that “Mr Thos Grayson is not at present in Beaufort … but his brother John now resides in this place and he will gladly recieve the appoinmt he being a man of undoubted Veracity as well as an Olde Continental officer which I hope may operate in his favour, and I am persuaded that if Thomas knew his brother coud get the appointment he woud not Stand in his way, those two gentlemen are the only persons that I think proper to Recommend” (DLC:GW). Verdier (1759–c.1826) was a merchant and planter of Beaufort.

John Grayson (d. 1797) served during the Revolutionary War as a lieutenant in the 4th South Carolina Regiment (artillery) and was captured at Charleston in 1780. GW appointed him collector at Beaufort, and he served until his death.

4Daniel Stevens wrote Wolcott on 7 Sept. asking that he recommend this appointment to GW (DLC:GW). Stevens also wrote GW on that date, seeking the position and explaining that “the emoluments arising therefrom though small, may be some small addition to my present compensation as Supervisor, which is low, and will not be attended with much more additional trouble” (ALS, DLC:GW).

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