George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 17 April 1789

From James McHenry

Baltimore, 17 April 1789. Recommends for office Robert Purviance,1 Joshua Barney,2 and Robert Ballard.3 “Should these persons be found acceptable I can assure you that it will give great joy to the federalists of this town. The cause in this place owes much to them and their friends. I have one other memorandum which I beg to deposit with you. When the inferior federal courts are organised I shall esteem it a favor done to myself, if you will consider a Mr John Caldwell, a lawyer, and my brother in law, as a candidate for the United States attorney to the Inferior federal court for this State.4 I view this office as more honorable than pecuniary, and pledge myself for his talents, prudence, and integrity. May god long preserve you, and continue you a blessing to the people and the honor of human nature. If I have any wish for myself, it is that you will sometimes condescend to remember one who is most affectionately and sincerely devoted to you.”

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, DLC: James McHenry Papers.

1For Purviance’s application, see his letter to GW, 19 May 1789.

4John Caldwell (1759–1820), only son of David and Grace Allison Caldwell, was a Baltimore lawyer but, apparently having private means, did not often engage in practice. In 1784 McHenry married Caldwell’s sister Margaret. In recommending Caldwell in 1797 for a post in the Mint, Timothy Pickering observed that he was “a sensible, well-informed man, a decided federalist and supporter of our government” (Pickering to McHenry, 12 Sept. 1797, in Steiner, Life and Correspondence of James McHenry, description begins Bernard C. Steiner. The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry: Secretary of War under Washington and Adams. Cleveland, 1907. description ends 260–61).

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