George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate, 2 August 1790

To the United States Senate

United States [New York]
August 2nd 1790

Gentlemen of the Senate,

I nominate the following persons to fill the Offices affixed to their names. viz.

In the Judicial Department.

William Peery,1 of the State of Delaware, to be one of the Judges in the Territory of the United States south of the River Ohio.

John Stokes2 to be Judge of the North Carolina District, in place of William R. Davie3 who has declined his appointment.

In the Revenue Department.4

Samuel Russell Gerry5 to be Collector of the Port of Marblehead in the State of Massachusetts, in place of Richard Harris deceased.6

Zachariah Rhodes7 to be Surveyor of the Port of Patuxet in the State of Rhode Island, in place of John Anthony Aborn who has declined his appointment.8

Thomas Arnold9 to be Surveyor of the Port of East Greenwich in the State of Rhode Island, in place of Job Comstock who has declined his appointment.10

In the Consulate Department.11

Joshua Johnson,12 of Maryland, to be Consul of the United States of America for the port of London in the Kingdom of Great Britain, and for such other parts of the said Kingdom as shall be nearer to the said port than to the residence of any other Consul or Vice-Consul of the United States in the same Kingdom.

Francisco Sarmento13 of the Kingdom of Spain to be Vice-Consul of the United States of America for the Island of Teneriffe and for such other of the Canary Islands as shall be nearer to Teneriffe than to the residence of any other Consul or Vice-Consul of the United States within the same allegiance.

John Street14 of the Island of Fayal, to be Vice-Counsul of the United States of America, for the said Island of Fayal, and for such other of the Azores or Western Islands as shall be nearer to Fayal than to the residence of any other Consul or Vice-Consul of the United States within the same allegiance.

Ebenezer Brush15 of New York, to be Consul of the United States of America for the port of Surinam and for such other parts of the Colony of Guiana as shall be nearer to the said port than to the residence of any other Consul or Vice-Consul of the United States within the same allegiance.16

Go: Washington

LS, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, 1789–91, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations; LB, DLC:GW.

1Peery declined his appointment; having “crossed the meridian of life,” he did not feel his private concerns permitted him to remove from his current residence (Peery to GW, 24 Dec. 1790, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

2For an identification of John Stokes, see John Steele to GW, 4 June 1790, n.3.

3For an identification of William Richardson Davie, see John Steele to GW, 4 June 1790, n.1.

4Two days later Tobias Lear sent the commissions of the three new revenue officers, Gerry, Rhodes, and Arnold, to the secretary of the treasury for forwarding to the new appointees (Lear to Hamilton, 4 Aug. 1790, DLC:GW).

5For Samuel Russell Gerry, see Elbridge Gerry to GW, 26 July 1790.

6For the death of Richard Harris, see Burrill Devereux to GW, 15 July 1790, n.1.

7For Zachariah Rhodes’s application and recommendation, see Rhodes to GW, 6 June 1790, and the Rhode Island Legislature to GW, 9 June 1790.

8For Aborn’s resignation, see GW to the U.S. Senate, 2 July 1790, n.6.

9Thomas Arnold (d. 1821) served in the 1st Rhode Island Regiment in the Revolution until he lost a leg at the Battle of Monmouth and was transferred to the Invalid Regiment in November 1779. Both the Rhode Island legislature and Jeremiah Olney recommended him to GW for the East Greenwich surveyorship (Rhode Island Legislature to GW, 9 June 1790, Jeremiah Olney to GW, 19 June 1790; Rhode-Island American, and General Advertiser [Providence], 22 May 1821).

10For Comstock’s resignation, see GW to the U.S. Senate, 2 July 1790, n.5.

11Thomas Jefferson recommended Johnson, Sarmento, Street, and Brush to GW on 31 July 1790. In the same letter he also recommended Paul Richard Randall as American consul at Cadiz, Spain (DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers; see also Randall to GW, May 1789, source note).

12Joshua Johnson (1742–1802), son of Thomas and Dorcas Sedgwick Johnson of St. Leonard’s Creek, Calvert County, Md., served as American consul at Nantes, France, and Maryland agent in France during the Revolutionary War. From 1771 to 1776 he was the London partner of the mercantile firm Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, and he continued in that capacity for Wallace, Johnson & Muir from 1781 to 1790. Secretary of State Jefferson notified him of his consular appointment and sent instructions on 7 Aug. 1790 (Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, description begins Edward C. Papenfuse et al., eds. A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635–1789. 2 vols. Baltimore, 1979–85. description ends 2:495; 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 2:497; Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 17:119–20).

13Francisco Sarmento, a native of Portugal, settled at Teneriffe after having earlier lived in Philadelphia. Robert Morris supported his candidacy for the consulship (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 17:247, 250, 256).

14John Street, a native of England and naturalized Portuguese citizen, provided food, supplies, and passage to American prisoners at Fayal during the Revolutionary War and was then appointed by the Portuguese government to represent the United States until a consul could be appointed.

15For Ebenezer Brush’s identification and application for the consulship, see Brush to GW, 28 July 1790 and source note.

16The Senate ordered GW’s message to lie for consideration on the day it was received. The next day, 3 Aug. 1790, the Senate considered and approved each of the judicial and revenue nominations and only Johnson’s consular appointment, postponing consideration of the rest of the consular appointments. On 5 Aug. 1790 it approved Street’s and Brush’s nominations but negatived Sarmento’s (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 2:85, 88).

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