George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Smith, 2 March 1790

From Samuel Smith

Baltimore [Md.] 2d March 1790


Mr Philip Walsh of Cadix will have the Honor to present this to your Excellency, that Gentlem⟨e⟩n Vis[i]ts America with a view of forming Connexions for the very respectable House of Domnick Terry & Co. of Cadix. He has the advantage of being introduced by the most respectable Mercantile Houses of Europe Who all agree that the House he represents is considered of the first Consequence. Mr Walsh’s Views extends farther he proposes the services of his Brother Mr John Walsh (the principal of that House) Gratis, in the Character of Consul for the United States at Cadix. I therefore take the liberty to introduce him to your Excellencys Attention1 & with the highest respect Have the Honor to be Your Excellency’s Most Obdt Servt

Sam. Smith


After serving with considerable distinction in the Revolution, Samuel Smith (1752–1839) returned to Baltimore in 1779 and set about reviving his father’s ailing mercantile firm. Smith soon became one of the city’s foremost entrepreneurs, with widespread interests in privateering and government contracts. After the war he acted as Robert Morris’s agent in Maryland to collect tobacco to fill Morris’s contract with the French farmers-general and built up his own impressive shipping fleet. After serving in the Maryland house of delegates, Smith was elected to the House of Representatives in 1792, serving there until 1803. Elected to the Senate in 1802, he served in that body until 1815. During the War of 1812, he served as a major general of militia in the defense of Baltimore. He served again in the House of Representatives from 1816 to 1822 and in the Senate once more from 1822 to 1833. At the time Smith was advising GW on Maryland appointments in 1789–90, he was a Federalist, but by the mid–1790s he had moved into the Democratic Republican camp.

1Philip Walsh was also recommended by Bordeaux merchant Jacob Vernes in a letter to Jefferson, 3 Nov. 1789: “I have taken the liberty to give a letter of recommendation for you to Mr. Walsh of Cadiz, brother to the Senior of the House of Domque. Terry & Ce. one of the more respectable houses in Spain, and the most active in the trade of the United States.” In another letter to Jefferson of the same date, Vernes stated that Walsh’s “travels in America are intended for increasing the trade of the United States with Spain. The instructions and the favours of your Excellency will enable him to fulfill his design with more facility and success. . . . Mr. Walsh will collect the best informations about lumber, and . . . will give me of the knowledge he’ll acquire in that branch, and of the means of procuring a consumption of timber in this Kingdom” (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 15:538–45). John Walsh, Philip Walsh’s brother, received no consular appointment under GW.

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