George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Smith, 5 September 1789

From Robert Smith

Baltimore Sepr 5th 1789


Permit me to inform you, that I shall be happy in Obtaining an appointment in the Judicial Department. I am, Sir, with Respect Your Obedient Humble Servt

Robt Smith


Robert Smith (1757–1842) graduated from Princeton in 1781, studied law, and after the war began a successful practice in Baltimore. For GW’s views on appointing Smith to the judiciary, see his letter to Otho H. Williams, 22 Nov. 1789. As he observed to James McHenry a few days later, he had found Smith’s youth and inexperience an “insuperable objection” (GW to McHenry, 30 Nov. 1789). Smith received no appointment in GW’s administration, although he was considered for the post of district attorney for Maryland in 1792. See GW to McHenry, 13 Aug., 21 Sept., and 3 Oct. 1792, McHenry to GW, 25 Sept. 1792, and GW to Smith, 31 Aug. 1792. By the end of the decade he had become a committed if controversial Republican, later serving Jefferson as secretary of the navy and attorney general and Madison as secretary of state.

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