George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 6 February 1790]

Saturday 6th. Walked to my newly engaged lodgings to fix on a spot for a New Stable which I was about to build. Agreed with [ ] to erect one 30 feet sqr., 16 feet pitch, to contain 12 single stalls; a hay loft, Racks, mangers &ca.—Planked floor and underpinned with Stone with Windows between each stall for 65£.

The resignation of Mr. Harrison as an Associate Judge making a nomination of some other character to supply his place necessary I determined after contemplating every character which presented itself to my view to name Mr. Iredall of No. Carolina; because, in addition to the reputation he sustains for abilities, legal knowledge and respectability of character he is of a State of some importance in the Union that has given No character to a federal Office. In ascertaining the character of this Gentlemen I had recourse to every means of information in my power and found them all concurring in his favor.

On 28 Sept. 1789 GW had written Robert Hanson Harrison, one of his aides during the Revolution, offering him the post of an associate justice on the Supreme Court (DLC:GW). Harrison replied, 27 Oct., declining the post, partly because of the inconvenience of riding circuit, partly because of family responsibilities and reservations about his health (DNA:PCC, Item 59). On 25 Nov. GW again wrote Harrison, stating that there was a strong possibility that there would be changes in the Judicial Act which might make the post more attractive. “As the first Court will not sit until the first Monday in February, I have thought it proper to return your Commission, not for the sake of urging you to accept it contrary to your interest or convenience, but with a view of giving you a farther opportunity of informing yourself of the nature and probability of the change alluded to” (DLC:GW). Harrison again declined the post. He died in April 1790.

James Iredell (1751–1799) was born in Lewes, Eng., and in 1768 received a royal appointment as collector of the customs at Edenton, N.C. He quickly became a leading citizen of Edenton, studied law with Samuel Johnston, and in 1773 married Johnston’s sister Hannah. Although a conservative, he supported the Patriot cause during the Revolution. His legal reputation in North Carolina grew during these years; he served briefly as a superior court judge in 1777 and from 1779 to 1781 he was state attorney general. In 1787 he served on the North Carolina Council of State and between 1787 and 1791 engaged in compiling a collection and revision of North Carolina statutes. GW’s letter to Iredell, 13 Feb. 1790, offering him the post of associate justice, is in DLC:GW; Iredell’s acceptance, 3 Mar. 1790, is in DNA: RG 59, Misc. Letters.

Index Entries