George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Page, 23 September 1789

From John Page

New York Sepr the 23d 1789


That I may not obtrude on you & to the Interruption of other Applicants, I again have Recourse to this Mode of Application in behalf of Gentlemen who wish to be recommended to you for Appointments. The inclosed Letter was left by Mr Andrews with a Friend the Day he set out on his Return to Virginia.1 I hope you will excuse my troubling you with it as I shall only add respecting him that I think his Knowledge of the Law, as a Justice of James City for several Years & as high Sheriff two Years added to his Study of Law, & his extensive genius leave no doubt with me that he is qualified for the office he solicits. In Justice however to Mr St G. Tucker one of our Judges & to the Gentn whom he recommends I must add that Mr Wm Nelson a Pratitioner of the Law in the General Court for some Years past is warmly recommended by him, & I am requested by Mr Tucker to nominate that Gentleman to you as a proper Person for the same Office[.]2 I am very sorry to be so troublesome, but your Goodness will pardon me I have the Honor to be with the highest Respect & Gratitude your much obliged & most obedient humble Servant

John Page


1Robert Andrews (c.1747–1804) graduated from the College of Philadelphia and moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia around 1770. For a time he served as tutor to John Page’s children. He left Virginia for England in 1772 and was ordained there as a minister in the Anglican church. In 1777 he was appointed by the College of William and Mary as professor of moral and intellectual philosophy. During the war he was a member of the Williamsburg committee of safety and served as chaplain with Virginia forces. In 1784 Andrews was transferred to the chair of mathematics at the College of William and Mary. He attended the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788 and during the 1780s was heavily involved in the Dismal Swamp Company. From 1790 to 1799 he represented Williamsburg in the Virginia general assembly. Andrews’s letter to Page, 2 Mar. 1789, pointing out his qualifications and requesting Page’s support for his appointment to the Virginia district court, is in DLC:GW.

2William Nelson (1754–1813), the son of William and Elizabeth Burwell Nelson, was educated at the College of William and Mary. During the Revolution he rose from the rank of private to lieutenant colonel and served as a member of the Virginia executive council in 1783. No letter of recommendation from St. George Tucker has been found. Nelson was not among GW’s first appointments to judicial offices, but on 30 Nov. 1789 the president wrote to him offering the position of attorney for the Virginia district, left vacant by John Marshall’s refusal to accept the post (DLC:GW). Nelson wrote a letter of acceptance on 20 Dec. and sent a second letter on 2 Mar. 1790, acknowledging receipt of his commission and explaining the delays involved in its delivery. Both of these letters are in DNA: RG 59, Acceptances and Orders for Commissions.

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