George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Latimer, 31 July 1790

From Henry Latimer

Newport, Del., 31 July 1790. Great fatigues on his slender constitution necessitating relinquishment of his current lucrative business, offers himself as an applicant for the office of loans commissioner for the state of Delaware if the Funding Bill1 passes Congress and refers to United States senators Richard Bassett2 and George Read for recommendations.

ALS, DLC:GW.

Dr. Henry Latimer (1752–1819) of Newport, Del., graduated from the College of Philadelphia in 1773 and studied medicine at Edinburgh in 1775. During the Revolution he became acquainted with GW, who appointed him a senior surgeon in the army’s flying hospital in 1779 and employed him to carry a message to Congress in 1781. Latimer was the hospital physician at GW’s Morristown headquarters from 1780 to the close of the war and also superintended a temporary hospital at Wilmington, Del., in 1782. After the war he served as a member of the Delaware legislature. Although Latimer did not receive the Delaware loans commissioner post, GW did appoint him a supervisor of distilled spirits for the District of Delaware the following March, a position he resigned by September 1791. Latimer later represented Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1794 to 1795 and in the Senate from 1795 to 1801 (General Orders, 8 Dec. 1779; GW to John Dickinson, 4 Dec. 1781, LS, PHi: Gratz Collection; Syrett, Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 9:211, 212, 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 2:128).

1On 21 July 1790 the Senate amended the Funding Bill and returned it to the House, which body considered and amended it over the next four days. The Senate considered the new House amendments on 27 July, and the House receded from two of its proposed amendments two days later. The act was signed into law by GW on 4 Aug. 1790, and the president presented his nominations for loans commissioners on 6 Aug. 1790. These included James Tilton, not Henry Latimer, for Delaware (see n.2 below, Hugh Nelson to GW, 3 July 1790, n.1, and GW to the U.S. Senate, 6 Aug. 1790 [second letter]; 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 2:89, 3:523, 526, 527–29, 530–34 and note 127, 539–41, 544, 545, 547).

2On 29 July 1790 Latimer wrote from Newport, to Richard Bassett: “I yesterday wrote to Mr Read soliciting him when the Funding Bill passes, to mention me to his Excellency the President as an applicant for the appointment of Commissioner of Loans for this State—in this Matter I have also to beg your Friendly Aid—it is a subject upon which I have made up my Mind, since I see a Copy of the Bill as sent from the Senate, to which it appears to me probable the House of Representatives will agree—& the appointment would be of great convenience to me, as I am determined to relinquish my present Business—finding the Fatigues of it, too great for my slender Constitution—I have heard Dr Tilton will also probably be an applicant, & perhaps may have expectations of success from having an appointment under the former Congress—however I cannot think that a reason sufficient to prevent my application & to endeavor to obtain the Appointment thro my Friends—If you can think an application from my self to the President, to whom I have the Honor to be known, will be of any use, & there will be time before the appointments will be made to write—youll oblige me by writing me a Line, if not, I must confide in such representation as Mr Read & you will make in my behalf” (DLC:GW).

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