George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Spence Grayson, 11 August 1789

From Spence Grayson

Virginia Augst 11th 1789

Honble Sir

Amidst the great & important concerns of public life, it is hardly possible to suppose, that you can attend to an Object so obscure as I am—but distress will look for aid, where it is most likely to be procured, & the great goodness of your heart, I trust, will secure me against the presumption of so bold an application.

To make Complaents is Childish; & to trouble you with them highly empertinent; I therefore forbear saying anything on that subject; but if you can (Great & Good sir) find a moments relaxation from the arduous duties of your exalted station, to attend to such a Person as I am: neither myself or Family will be wanting in gratitude or in unceaseing prayers, for your happiness and preservation.

I have little Acquaintance with what is going forward in Congress respecting Offices but am told there will be federal Courts—as I was bred a Clerk under Majr Wagener,1 it is likely such an Office woud suit me better than any other; and might not so far inter⟨fere⟩ with my Profession as to Oblige me to lay it aside, which I woud not wish to Do. My Request then is, ⟨(⟩Great & Good Sir) that you woud deign only ⟨to⟩ nominate me, & I trust that My Brother will be able afterwards to get me invested with the Office.

I most earnestly sollicit your pardon for the freedom I have taken, & with the most profound respect beg leave to subscribe myself Yr Very Hble & Obt Servt

Spence Grayson


Spence Grayson (1734–1798), a son of Benjamin Grayson of Prince William County, Va., and a brother of Virginia congressman William Grayson, was trained in theology in England and from 1771 to 1784 served as minister of Cameron Parish in Loudoun County. During the war years he was chaplain of Grayson’s Additional Continental Regiment which was commanded by his brother. In 1785 he became minister of Dettingen Parish in Prince William County.

1This may be Peter Wagener (d. 1798) or, more likely, his father Peter Wagener (1717–1774) who came to America from England in 1738 and commanded a company of rangers during Braddock’s campaign in 1755. Both Wageners served as clerk of the Fairfax County court, and the elder Wagener as clerk of the Prince William County court.

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