George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 8 February 1790]

Monday 8th. Nominated Officers for the Revenue department in No. Carolina—Mr. Iredall as an Associate Judge; and all those who had been temporarily appointed during the recess of the Senate to fill resigned Offices—likewise Majr. Saml. Shaw as Consul for Canton in China.

Sent the Bill which had been presented to me on Thursday last back to the House of Representatives with my approvg. Signature.

Samuel Shaw (1754–1794), of Massachusetts, served as a lieutenant and captain in the Revolution and saw action at Boston, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. For a time he served as aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Henry Knox. In 1784 he was offered the post of supercargo on the Empress of China, the first American vessel to sail to Canton. The experience he acquired in dealing with Chinese merchants resulted in his appointment by the Continental Congress in 1786 as American consul in Canton. He returned to the United States in Jan. 1789. On 2 Jan. 1790 he wrote GW informing him he was about to return to China and requesting that he be reappointed as consul (DLC:GW). Tobias Lear forwarded Shaw’s commission on 13 Feb. 1790 (DNA: RG 59, Misc. Letters).

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