George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 21 January 1790]

Thursday 21st. The above report was accordingly transmitted to both houses of Congress by the Secretary at War in a written message from me.

The following Gentlemen dined here—viz.—Messrs. Elsworth, Patterson, Elmer Bassett and Hawkins of the Senate and Messrs. Sherman, Cadwalader, Clymer, Hartley, Heister, Smith (Maryland) & Jackson of the House of Representatives and Major Meridith, Treasurer of the United States.

William Paterson (1745–1806) was born in Ireland and came to America with his parents in 1747. The family settled first in Pennsylvania, moved to Connecticut, and then to New Jersey where William graduated from Princeton in 1763 and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1768. During the Revolution he held a number of state positions including that of attorney general 1776–83. He vigorously supported the making of the new Constitution at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, while representing the interests of the small states. On 15 June 1787 he introduced the “New Jersey Plan,” which provided for a unicameral legislature in which each state would have one vote. He was elected as a Federalist to the Senate from New Jersey in 1789, but upon the death of New Jersey Gov. William Livingston in 1790, Paterson was chosen to succeed him as governor of the state by the New Jersey legislature.

Jonathan Elmer (1745–1817) was born in Cedarville, N.J., graduated in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1769, and set up a medical practice in Bridgeton, N.J. He served in the Continental Congress 1776–78, 1781–84, 1787–88 and in 1789 was elected as a Federalist to the United States Senate.

Richard Bassett (1745–1815) was born in Maryland, but after studying law and being admitted to the bar in Delaware he began the practice of law in that state. During the 1780s he served in the Delaware legislature and in 1787 was a member of the Constitutional Convention and the Delaware Ratifying Convention. He was United States senator from Delaware from 1789 to 1793.

Benjamin Hawkins (1754–1816) of North Carolina was attending Princeton when the Revolution began. It has frequently been suggested that young Hawkins’s proficiency in French earned him a place on GW’s staff, but this has not been substantiated (POUND description begins Merritt B. Pound. Benjamin Hawkins—Indian Agent. Athens, Ga., 1951. description ends , 5–6). His other military services during the Revolution are equally obscure, but by 1778 he was back in North Carolina acting as the state’s commercial agent. In 1780 he was appointed one of the commissioners on North Carolina’s newly formed board of trade. He was a member of the Continental Congress in 1781–84, 1786–87. In 1785 Hawkins was appointed by Congress as a commissioner to negotiate treaties with the southern Indians. He exhibited a flair for Indian diplomacy, and his adroitness resulted in the controversial Treaty of Hopewell with the Cherokee in 1785 and treaties with the Choctaw and Chickasaw in 1786. A staunch Federalist, he was elected senator from North Carolina in 1789 and during GW’s administration was frequently relied upon for advice on Indian affairs.

Lambert Cadwalader (d. 1823), of Trenton, N.J., attended the University of Pennsylvania and was a member of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention in 1776. During the Revolution he was lieutenant colonel of the 3d Pennsylvania Battalion and colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania. Captured at Fort Washington, he was on parole until his resignation from the army in 1779. Cadwalader was a member of the Continental Congress 1784–87. He was elected congressman from New Jersey in 1789.

Thomas Hartley (1748–1800) was a native of Reading, Pa., and practiced law in York, Pa. During the Revolution he was a lieutenant colonel in the 6th Pennsylvania Battalion and colonel of the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment. In 1787 he was a member of the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention. Hartley served in the House of Representatives from 1789 until his death.

Daniel Hiester (1747–1804), a Montgomery County, Pa., businessman, served in the Pennsylvania militia during the Revolution and as a member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, 1784–86. Hiester served as congressman from Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1796, when he moved to Hagerstown, Md. He was in 1801 again elected to Congress, this time from Maryland, serving until his death.

William Smith (1728–1814), Federalist representative from Maryland, was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Baltimore in 1761 where he established himself as a merchant. In 1774 he served on the city’s committee of correspondence; in 1777–78 he was a member of the Continental Congress. Smith headed the committee of Baltimore merchants that presented GW with a miniature ship, the Federalist, in 1788 (see entry for 9 June 1788).

James Jackson (1757–1806), a leader of antiadministration forces in the House of Representatives, was born in Devonshire, Eng., and in 1772 immigrated to Savannah, Ga., where he was employed in a local law office. He held various state and local offices and served in the Georgia militia during the Revolution, seeing action at Savannah, Cowpens, and Augusta. In July 1782 he led the forces that occupied Savannah after the British evacuation. In 1788 he was elected governor of Georgia but declined to serve, and the next year he was elected to Congress from the eastern district of Georgia.

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