George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Griffin, 4 February 1788

From Samuel Griffin

WilliamsBurg 4th February 1788


As Rector of the Visitors, & Governors, of William and Mary College, for the present year—I do myself the Honor to inclose you a Copy of a Resolution which passed at the last Convocation, And I am directed by the Convocation, to assure you, that your acceptance of the appointment, will be esteemed of the highest honor confered on them.1 should you wish to be possessd of one of the Books which contains the Charter, & Statutes, and which Authorises the appointment of a Chancellor, I will with the greatest pleasure forward one by the first safe conveyance.2 I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect & esteem Sir Your Friend & most Obedt Servt

Saml Griffin


Samuel Griffin (1746–1810) at this time represented Williamsburg in the house of delegates, and in 1789 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

1The resolution reads: “At a Convocation of the Visitors & Governors of the William and Mary College held the 16th day of January 1788 Resolved unanimously that George Washington esquire be appointed Chancellor of the College of William and Mary and that the Rector be requested to Notify to him the said appointment. A Copy. Will. Russel Ck” (DLC:GW).

2GW consulted David Stuart about the duties of the chancellor of the college, either when Dr. Stuart was at Mount Vernon on 10–11 Feb. or by a written message, for on 17 Feb. Stuart wrote from Abingdon that he thought the college’s board of visitors met twice a year and that the chancellor would be expected to attend. In a “private communication” on 20 Feb., GW informed Griffin that as much as he would like to accept the honor, he could not do so were he expected to attend the visitors’ meetings. Griffin on 15 April assured GW that no duties whatsoever were attached to the office, and on 30 April GW wrote accepting the appointment.

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