George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Simon Wilmer, 5 August 1791

From Simon Wilmer

Chester Town Maryd 5th Aug. [17]91


Mr Lewis who lately fill’d a department in your Excellencys house hold suggested to me, that one or more assistant Secretaries must necessarily be appointed this Fall, in consequence of his retirement and the probability of Major Jacksons translation to some other Office; If such Vacancies have taken place, and are still to be filled, I must beg permission to approach your Excellency as an applicant, altho I fear my pretensions are not commensurate with the honor I now Solicit, yet I am impell⟨’d⟩ to enforce my wishes from a conviction that my claims will be properly measur⟨’d⟩ by your condescension.1 My age does not exceed 23 years and near five of that term have been devoted to business in Europe from whence I have lately return⟨’d.⟩ My fortune is small but Independent and I flatter myself that neither my manners or Person will found exceptionable and as your Nephew infor⟨m’d⟩ me that it requir’d an association of the man of business with some Personal address, I can only assure you Sir, that I am perfectly prepar⟨ed⟩ for the first qualification and shall be ambitious to improve the latter in your School of refinement. Mr James Tilghman of this County with whom I have the honor to be distantly related, will furnish me with the necessary recommendations, but If I deserve your Scrutiny, Sir, I hope an intermediate application to Major Richmond of this State will prove Satisfactory2 I am fearful my prayer will be found extremely informal, but I concluded that a simple illustration of facts woud be preferable to all the Sophistry of adulation which fancy cou’d devise. I have the honor to be Sir With the most profound respect & Esteem your most devoted and very Humble Servant

Simon Wilmer


Simon Wilmer (born c.1768) belonged to a prominent family of Kent County, Md., numerous members of which had the same given name, including two contemporaries of the letter writer, who at this time were serving in the state legislature.

1GW’s nephew Robert Lewis left GW’s official family early in 1791 (see Lewis to GW, 10 January). William Jackson applied to GW for the postmaster generalship, writing sometime before Samuel Osgood’s resignation of 11 July: “I beg leave, with the greatest deference, to submit myself to your consideration as his successor. Could I believe, Sir, that your approbation of my wish (should I be so happy as to obtain it) could be construed into an act of partiality towards a person of your family—interesting as the completion of this wish is to my happiness—I would not desire it. No, Sir, I would not consent that, in this only instance, you should be supposed to depart from that impartial justice, which characterises all your actions, and has given unlimited confidence to your administration: But, beneficent as you have been to me, it is not to your goodness alone, on the present occasion, that I address my application—I refer myself, with some degree of confidence, to your knowledge of my public services, to your acquaintance with my capacity: and to your opinion that my talents and my disposition will be united in exertion, to merit what you may be pleased to think me worthy to receive. If to the consideration of my military service, during the whole war, and the faithful discharge of some important civil duties, your friendship and your sense of propriety should be agreed to add the desire of making me happy, I shall indeed regard myself as being completely so. To the obligations of fidelity and attention, which my duty to the public would impose, will be superadded an ardent desire to manifest my sense of your goodness by rendering justice to your favorable opinion” (DLC:GW).

2Major Richmond was Christopher Richmond, auditor general of Maryland.

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