George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, 24 May 1786

From Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer

Annap[oli]s May 24th 1786

Dear Sir.

In a letter I received from Col. Fitzhugh dated the 17th Instant, He expresses a desire that my Answer to the Report of a Committee of the H. of Delegates against the late Intend[ant] should be transmitted to your Excelly & to Col. Mason. I do not know that it is worth your reading; but such as it is I send it to you. I shall only add to it, That the Chairman is a great Speculator, & was the man who drank bankruptcy to the Continental Money, & Confusion to Your Excellency & the American Army; yet these things are forgot, & the Man trusted. But it is said he is now sunk for ever.1 With my most respectful compliments to your Lady & family I am my dear Sir Your ever Affectionate friend

Dan. of St Thos Jenifer

P.S. The Intends. Office being abolished by the Negative of the Senate—The office of state Agent has arose out of its ashes.2


1Daniel St. Thomas Jenifer filled from its inception the office of the intendant of the revenue created in 1782 to introduce centralized control of Maryland’s fiscal affairs. The enclosed pamphlet, printed at Annapolis in 1786 by Frederick Green, is entitled The Report of the Committee Appointed to Inspect into the Books, Papers, and Accounts, of the Intendant of the Revenue, with His Answer, and the Resolutions of the House of Delegates Thereon (DLC:GW). In the November 1785 session of the Maryland house of delegates, Jenifer presented his report on the twenty-second. On 9 Dec. the committee of claims expressed reservations about the report. A special committee was formed on 12 Dec. “to inspect into the books, papers, and accounts, of the intendant.” The special committee delivered its report on 29 December. The house read Jenifer’s “answer” to the report on 12 Jan. and on 14 Jan. the delegates by a vote of 32 to 22 decided that “the conduct of the said intendant” did not merit “their censure or disapprobation” (Md. House of Delegates Proceedings description begins J. Hall Pleasants, ed. Journal and Correspondence of the State Council of Maryland, 1781–1784. Baltimore, 1931. In Archives of Maryland, vol. 48. description ends ). This attack on the intendant coincided with the opening of the fight over paper money that convulsed Maryland politics through 1786 and into 1787, with Samuel Chase deeply involved in both controversies. Philip Key (1750–1820) of St. Mary’s County, one of the three original members of the special committee among the five who presented the report and whose name is listed first, was presumably the committee chairman. Key, educated in England, was a lawyer as well as a planter and merchant. On 4 June GW acknowledged receiving Jenifer’s letter and the pamphlet: “Dear Sir, The Letter with which you favored me on the 24th ulto & the enclosures came to my hands by the last post; & I thank you for the information I have received from them. The Committee; by its report, seemed disposed to run you hard; but happily the House viewed matters in a different light, & rendered you the tribute of applause which was due to your services; which, as every circumstance that can contribute to your honor or satisfaction, has afforded me much pleasure, being Dr Sir Yr Mo: Obt &c. G: Washington” (LB, DLC:GW).

2Jenifer was made state agent for special purposes—in effect was given the task of settling the affairs of the intendant’s office—on 20 April 1786 and resigned on 7 Nov. 1788 (Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:485).

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