George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Parker, Sr., 12 September 1789

From John Parker, Sr.

Charleston So. Carolina 12th Sepr 1789


The apprehension of intruding on your excellency engaged as you are in the great and weighty Concerns of the Union and my not having the honor of your acquaintance which renders an application in my own favor particularly awkward, have detained me from addressing this letter to your attention at an Earlier period, The request which I have to make to you Sir is that should there be any appointment under the federal Goverment undisposed of, for which the delegates from this State in Congress may think me Qualified, Your Excellency will be pleased to Notice their recommendation in my behalf and on receiving satisfactory information of my principles, Character &c. to Nominate me to the same; And I trust that my Conduct in office will do no discredit either to my friends who may recommend, or to my Country that may Employ me.

A Large Family to support and very great Losses, Occasiond, principally, by the late war have induced me to make this application an application Sir as painful for me to make as it may be troublesome to your Excellency to receive, although I have no right to advance any pretensions on acct of the Services which I have endeavor’d to render this State in the respective Stations of Representative & Senator in their Legislature, of a member of the Privy Council and a delegate to the Genl Assembly of the States in Congress, yet my Election to those trusts may operate towards Satisfying your Excellency that I have been thought favorably of by this my Native Country. I take the liberty of referring Your Excellency to Colo. Grayson, Dr Johnson, Mr Wingate, Mr King & Colo. Few, Gentlemen who know me well while residing at N. York and who can answer any Enquiries of my Character & which it may be thought expedient to make, wishing Sir that your Exertions to fulfill the arduous duties of your high station to which the General Voice of America has Called you may be Crowned with the Merited Success, I have the honor to be with great respect Sir Your Excellencys Most obedt & Most humb Servt

John Parker


John Parker, Sr. (1735–1802), came from a politically prominent South Carolina family. Educated at the Middle Temple in London, he had returned to South Carolina by 1778 and served briefly in the Charleston militia, before returning to London in 1781. After his return to the United States, he was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1785, served in the South Carolina legislature and in the Confederation Congress during the 1780s, and advocated ratification of the Constitution in the South Carolina convention in 1788.

Parker’s application was supported by a letter to GW from Pierce Butler, 24 Sept. 1789, who testified that Parker was an “Old, Respectable Citizen, of good Family, who, by the devastation of the late War is reduced from a good fortune to a very moderate One. He is a Strict honest Man and I doubt not woud prove grateful for any mark of kindness” (DLC:GW). Parker received no federal appointment, and in 1790 Butler made a second unsuccessful attempt to secure federal employment for him, noting that before the Revolution Parker “was possessed of a Considerable Estate; By the Devastation of the British Army He is with a large Family reduced to slender Circumstances—He is a just Man; and if You shall think proper to notice Him I have no doubt but He will discharge the trust with fidelity and honor. I am not Connected with Mr Parker either by blood or Marriage; Neither am I intimate with Him, yet I shall as a Citizen of Carolina, feel myself much obliged by any attention that You may be pleased to shew to Him” (Butler to GW, 30 July 1790, DLC:GW).

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