George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate, 9 February 1790

To the United States Senate

United States [New York]

Gentlemen of the Senate,February 9th 1790

I nominate as Collectors, Naval Officer, and Surveyors for the Ports of the several Districts in the State of North Carolina, the persons whose names are respectively annexed to the Offices in the following list.

Districts. Ports. Officers. Nominations
{ Collector James Read
Wilmington. { Wilmington Naval John Walker
 Officer
Surveyor Thomas Callender
Swansborough Surveyor
Newbern Newbern Collector John Daves
Beaufort Surveyor John Easton
Washington Washington Collector Nathan Keais
Edenton. { Edenton Collector Thomas Benbury
Hartford Surveyor Joshua Skinner Junr
(Son of William)
Murpheysborough Do Hardy Murfree
Plymouth Do Levi Blount
Win[d]sor Do
Skewarkey Do Henry Hunter
Winton Do William Wynne
Bennits Creek Do John Baker
Cambden { Plankbridge Collector Isaac Gregory
on Sawyers Creek
Nixinton Surveyor Hugh Knox
Indian-town Do Thomas Williams
Currituck Inlet Do
Pasquotank Edmund Sawyer
River Bridge Do
Newbiggen Creek Do Elias Albertson1

I likewise nominate Samuel Shaw to fill the Office of Consul of the United States of America at Canton in China.2

Go: Washington

LS, in Tobias Lear’s handwriting, with later annotations; copy, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations; LB, DLC:GW.

Upon receiving GW’s message, the Senate “ORDERED, that the Rules be so far dispensed with, as to proceed to consider,” it immediately and passed in the affirmative “on the question to advise and consent to” each individual appointment in North Carolina. It postponed until the next day, however, consideration of Samuel Shaw’s nomination as consul at Canton. On 10 Feb. 1790 Shaw’s successful appointment was the first order of business. An “a” following each name on the list was probably added later to note that the nominee was appointed by the Senate (DHFC, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends 2:60–61).

On 11 Feb. 1790 Lear supplied Alexander Hamilton with an identical list of the president’s appointments to the revenue department in North Carolina, adding: “The President of the U. States has likewise appointed the following persons to fill the Offices mentioned with their names which had become vacant by resignation.

“Comfort Sage to be Surveyor of the Port of Middletown in the State of Connecticut in place of Asher Miller.

“Christopher Hillary to be Collector of the Port of Brunswick in the State of Georgia in place of George Handley.

“Richard Taylor to be Collector of Louisville in Kentuckey in place of Peyton Short” (Lear to Hamilton, 11 Feb. 1790, DLC:GW).

1After Senate confirmation of the North Carolina revenue officers on 9 Feb. 1790, Lear wrote to Roger Alden: “In obedience to the Command of the President of the United States, I have to request that you will provide Twenty Copies of each of the Acts mentioned in the enclosed Lists, that they may accompany the Commissions which are to be transmitted to the Officers appointed for the Collection of the Revenue of the United States in the State of North Carolina.

“As the Commissions will be ready to transmit by the mail tomorrow Evening it is necessary that the above mentioned Acts should be provided in time for that purpose.

“It is not probable that the last Act mentioned in the enclosed list has yet been printed—in that case it will be necessary that an early attention shou’d be paid thereto in the morning” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). The enclosed list, entitled “Sundry acts to be transmitted to the Revenue Officers of North Carolina with their commissions,” reads: “An act for laying a duty on goods, wares, and merchandise imported into the United States.

“An act imposing duties on tonnage.

“An act to regulate the collection of duties imposed by law on the tonnage of ships and vessels, and on goods, wares and merchandizes imported into the United States.

“An act for registering and clearing vessels, regulating the coasting trade, and for other purposes.

“An act to suspend part of an act Entitled ‘an act to regulate the collection of duties imposed by law on the tonnage of ships or vessels, and on goods, wares, and merchandizes imported into the United States, and for other purposes. [’]

“An act to Explain and amend an act Entitled ‘an act for registering and clearing vessels, regulating the coasting trade and for other purposes.’

“An act for giving effect to certain acts therein mentioned with respect to North Carolina, and for other purposes” (DLC:GW). This last act, which repealed the suspended discriminatory provisions of the original tonnage and collection acts of 20 and 31 July 1789, imposed the same customs establishment on North Carolina as on the other American states, excepting Rhode Island, and established five collection districts and four ports of entry, was signed by GW only the day before, 8 Feb. (John Collins to GW, 18 Jan. 1790, n.2; DHFC, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends 3:289; 1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 99–101).

2For Samuel Shaw’s application, see Shaw to GW, 2 Jan. 1790. Lear sent Shaw’s commission to Boston on 13 Feb. 1790 (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters), receipt of which Shaw acknowledged on 21 Feb. 1790 (DNA: RG 59, Consular Despatches). On that latter date Shaw wrote to his “best friend” Henry Knox, thanking him for “the care you have taken to have my appointment of Consul at Canton renewed. The commission arrived by last night’s post, in a letter from Mr Secretary Lear, the receipt of which I have acknowledged. It does not differ materially from the former one—and indeed I did not expect it would—though it would have read more handsomely with the addition of—‘and for all places east of the Cape of Good Hope.’ Had such an addition, and a decent salary into bargain, depended on you, I am sure they would have been granted with more pleasure than they could be received. However, the commission is valuable as it is—and I receive it with gratitude” (NNGL).

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