George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 4 July 1796

Mount Vernon 4th July 1796


Your letter of the 28th Ulto with its enclosures, was received by the Mail on friday.

I wanted no delay in the Commissioning of Mr Jno. Davis, to be Attorney for the District of Massachusetts; if to you, or those who were better acquainted with his professional knowledge (before he embarked in the Comptrollership) than I am, thought them competent to the duties thereof.

That an entire Section of a Bill which had passed both Houses of Congress should be omitted in copying of it; and that such omission should have escaped the Committee of Inrolment; is a circumstance so singular in its nature as scarcely to have a parallel. Being desirous however, of carrying the intentions of the Legislature into effect—I have, though I confess not willingly, endeavoured to supply the defect by the Executive Act which is herewith enclosed. The consequences that might result from delay, have produced this Act on my part; otherwise, as its operation is to be Exterior I should have hesitated longer, before the signature was given; if at all.

By the last Mail, I received a Letter from the Governor of Pennsylvania, requesting "that I would direct such co-operative measures, on the part of the Officers of the United States, as may effectually counteract the danger, wch is apprehended from Vessels holding an intercourse with the shores of New Jersey, in evasion of the Quarantine prescribed under the authority of the Laws of this State." I expected, from what passed previous to my leaving Philadelphia, that circular orders had issued, long since, to the Collectors of the different Ports; and to the Officers commanding the fortifications of our Harbours, to afford such aid, agreeably to the Act of Congress relative to Quarantine. As there are two letters from the Governor on the same subject, I shall send both of them by this days Post, to the Secretary of State; & desire that if any thing needful, remains to be done, that orders to that end may issue immediately.

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