George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Denny, 12 July 1790

From Robert Denny

Annapolis, [Md.] July 12th 1790


Permit me Sir thro the recommendation transmitted by Governor Howard,1 to Solicit your Excellency to be nominated Commissioner of the loan Office in this State, should the Act which is now before Congress be carried into execution.2 I make this Application with some reluctance as I can easily conceive the vast number that are presented to you on the same subject, and it can be no very pleasing task to your Excellency to reject urgent & pressing solicitations, which must consequently happen, for out of the many applicants there can be but one successfull candidate—The public Delinquency has rendered this measure expedient, from which circumstances I presume with more confidence to claim the attention of its Justice and generosity. The Office of Auditor General of this State which I now hold, I think its probable next Session of Assembly will be Abolished, and I would look forward for the support of a family, which I wish to be enabled to effect with as much credit as possible, its an object superior to every other and I hope will be an Apology for my addressing your Excellency at this time. the duty of Commissioner I am persuaded I could fully execute agreeable to the intentions of the legislature, which will always be my greatest wish.3 I am with respect your Excellencys Most Obedt & Hble Servt

Robt Denny


Robert Denny, who served as a paymaster to Maryland troops during the Revolution, was recommended earlier for a federal customs post at Annapolis by Otho Holland Williams (see Williams to GW, 14 July 1789 and note 7).

1See John Eager Howard to GW, 21 June 1790. On 15 July William Smallwood wrote GW from Port Tobacco, Md., recommending Denny for the post, noting: “Captain Denny served throughout the War in the Maryland Line, and generally acted as Paymaster to one of the Regiments, in which station he always distinguished himself with Capacity and Integrity, and was generally esteemed a Gentleman of great Merit and assiduity in the discharge of his Duty—he has ever since the dissolution of the Army been employed in the state, first as Deputy to the Continental Commissioner for adjusting the Accounts of the Maryland Line, and afterwards as Deputy Auditor, and now as Auditor to this state, in which several Duties he has acquitted himself with great applause, and has merited and obtained Public Approbation” (DLC:GW).

3On 6 Aug. 1790 GW nominated Thomas Harwood, not Denny, as Maryland’s federal commissioner of loans. The president did appoint Denny collector of the port of Annapolis on 23 Nov. 1793, after Williams recommended him to Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, but Denny declined the commission, as he still held the state auditorship with its higher remuneration. Upon Williams’s death in July 1794 Denny unsuccessfully solicited GW for the vacant collectorship of the port of Baltimore (GW to the U.S. Senate, 6 Aug. 1790; JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 257; Denny to GW, 6 Dec. 1793, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; Denny to GW, 21 July, 22 Aug. 1794, both in DLC:GW; Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 15:69–70).

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