George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Milnor, 3 August 1789

From William Milnor

Philada Augst 3d 1789

Honorable Sir

No Period of my life was ever so feelingly Interesting to me as the present, Mr Delany has the sole Appointmt and such numbers of pititions are preparing agains[t] his Commission Arives,1 as makes me dread the Consequence of being Neglegted by him after so long a Strugle to extricate myself from Indigence, I Spoke to him about the weighing Buisness & several Gentlen likewise spake for me, as we understood he intended to Appoint Mr Pryor Gauger, his Answer to me was Such as I Expected, that he Could not promise Anything ’till he himself was appointed; for Gauging or Weighing I am equal in Abilities to Any that will offer themselves & if I should succeed I do most sincerely promise that No exertions shall be wanting in the performance of my Duty, if I should be left out now, I most Humbly pray that your Excelleny will please to remember me when any thing offers that you may think me fitt for, And by Industry & Attention to Buisness I will endeavor in some Measure to Attone for the trouble I give you, I beg pardon for the liberty I take, & beg leave, with due Submission & respect to Conclude Your Excellency’s Most Obt Hume Sert

William Milnor2

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 78.

Milnor had applied for a position in the Philadelphia customs in March 1789. See GW to Milnor, 1 April 1789.

1For Sharp Delany’s application for office, see his letter to GW, 20 April 1789. Delany’s application was supported by a letter to GW from Richard Peters, 22 April 1789: “Knowing how disagreeable a Part of your Administration it is to recieve Sollicitations for Appointments I shall forbear to trouble you often in such Cases tho’ my public Situation I percieve will subject me to Requests for Recommendations. My Connexion with Mr Sharp Delany who now holds the hitherto unfortunately unproductive Office of Collector of Impost, & who goes to New York on the Bussiness of being continued in that Appointment under the proposed new Arrangement, calls on me to mention him to you . . . . There are some Things of a private Nature known to me which may have possibly no other Effect than to counterballance any Arguments from others who may be his Competiters. He has not gained by his Appointments in the State & has sunk very considerable Sums as well in his Expenditures while active in our Cause as from a Confidence in the Continental Paper. His Losses in this Way amount to very serious Sums. This I am convinced is of no other than a comparative Importance. For you will judge of the Fitness of the Applicant for any Office & not of his Wants” (DLC:GW).

2Sharp Delany received the appointment of collector of customs for Philadelphia in the general customs nominations made by GW in early August, and on 7 Aug. Milnor wrote GW that Delany had arrived in Philadelphia from New York: “I spoke to him this Morning, he seems disposed to Serve me, but wishes my Certificates &c. to Come forward, if your Excellency will be please to send them” (DNA:PCC, item 78). On 5 Aug. Tobias Lear wrote the new collector that “the enclosed papers relative to Mr William Milnor have been put into the hands of the President of the United States, who has directed me to transmit them to you, as the Law for collecting the Revenue empowers the Collectors to appoint weighers, Gaugers, &c. in their respective ports—These documents will shew Mr Milnor’s pretensions to the place which he solicits—and his known character will have its due weight” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Milnor apparently received a minor appointment from Delany in the Philadelphia customs.

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