Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from George Washington, [16 September 1791]

From George Washington

[Head of Elk, Maryland, September 16, 1791]

Dr. Sir,

Whilst I was in Wilmington1 waiting breakfast to day, I made the best enquiry time & circumstances would permit, for some fit character to fill the office lately held by Doctr. Latimer.2 Several persons were mentioned, but the weight of information was in favor of one Andrew Barratt. He was spoken of by Mr. Vining3 as a man of respectable character, of decision and temper. He now is, or lately has been high Sheriff of the county of Kent; & no man, it is said, could have discharged the duties of that Office better. Mr. Bedford,4 though he had another person in view, (Majr. Jacquet),5 accords in this opinion of Barratt. Doctor Latimer, whom I afterwards called upon, at New port, for the purpose of enquiry, also speaks well of Barratt. He did indeed, before I mentioned the name of Barratt to him, say that he thought Majr. Patten6 of Dover the best person that readily occurred to him for this office, but yielded a ready assent to the qualifications of Barratt. None knows whether he would, or would not accept the appointment. Among other things, urged in his favor by Mr. Vining, are his living near the centre of the State—amidst the Stills, and where the most discontent is said to be. To Mr. Chew7 of Philada. Mr. Vining particularly appeals for the character of Mr. Barratt.

If his testimony is in favor of this character, I think it will be an eligible appointment.8 A blank commission, signed, has been left with Mr. Lear for the Supervisor of the Delaware District.

With much esteem & regard   I am Dear Sir,   Your Mo: Obt. Servant

G: Washington

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1Wilmington, Delaware. Washington was en route from Philadelphia to Mount Vernon.

2Dr. Henry Latimer had resigned as supervisor of the revenue for the District of Delaware.

3John Vining was a member of the House of Representatives from Delaware.

4Gunning Bedford, Jr., a signer of the Constitution, was a Federal judge for the District of Delaware.

5Peter Jaquett, who served in the Delaware Regiment throughout the American Revolution and was brevetted a major in 1783, had unsuccessfully sought appointments from Washington on two earlier occasions (April 18, 1789, and January 16, 1791). See Hunt, Calendar of Applications description begins Gaillard Hunt, Calendar of Applications and Recommendations for Office During the Presidency of George Washington (Washington, 1901). description ends , 66.

6John Patten rose to the rank of major in the Delaware Regiment during the Revolution. He was taken prisoner at Camden, South Carolina, on August 16, 1780, and was on parole until the close of the war.

7Benjamin Chew, a lawyer, became president and judge of the Pennsylvania Court of Errors and Appeals in October, 1791.

8Barratt’s appointment was confirmed by the Senate on November 7, 1791.

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