George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Wheaton, 11 April 1790

From Joseph Wheaton

May it Please the PresidentApril 11th 1790


Having had an oppertunity of learning that an additional force is to be aded to the present Establishment of the troops, I am constrained to mention to the President.

The office which the House of Representatives have been pleased to appoint me to, is not altogether that popular Situation nor So profitable to our Country as one would wish to fill.1

Having Served in the army from the begining of the war to the end, and having made the duty of a Soldier much of my Study that with the encouragement of many of my Friends in both Houses of Congress, have Considered it a duty I owe my Country to make known my wishes.

If my Services could be made acceptable in the army, it would be the pride of my Heart to perform a duty in which there was full Conviction of rendering Services eaqual to the rewards.

I have only to observe that Should the President view these with a favourable eye I would be happy to resign my present office in favor of Some disabled officer or other person whom the House of Representatives might think proper to appoint as my Successor. This with great defferance is Humbly Submitted to the President By His Most obedient and most devoted Servant

Joseph Wheaton


Joseph Wheaton (d. 1828) of Rhode Island served as a lieutenant in the Continental army during the Revolution. On 18 April 1789, at Wheaton’s request, Marinus Willett wrote to John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg recommending Wheaton for a congressional post, and on 12 May 1789 he was appointed sergeant-at-arms of the House (DLC:GW; 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 3:58). Wheaton did not receive an army commission from GW and continued as sergeant-at-arms until 26 Oct. 1807. In April 1813 he was commissioned a captain and deputy quartermaster general in the U.S. Army.

1“An Act for allowing Compensation to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, and to the Officers of both Houses” allowed four dollars per day “during the sessions and while employed on the business of the House” as compensation for the sergeant-at-arms (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 70–72).

Index Entries