George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Pierce Butler, 3 September 1791

From Pierce Butler

[Philadelphia, 3 September 1791]. “I received the inclosed letter while I was at dinner—It is my duty to send it to You.”1

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1The letter of Isaac Motte, naval officer for the port of Charleston, S.C., to Senator Pierce Butler, dated Boston, 21 Aug. 1791, reads: “I have just heard of the death of my worthy and good friend, Mr Geo: Abbott Hall—There’s a necessity for a successor to be appointed to the Office he held, as soon as possible, especially as I am absent, and as I may be thought of by some of my friends to be a proper person, I beg leave to inform you, that I wou’d not wish to hold the place, I wou’d rather keep the one I now have, for many reasons, which I will give when I have the pleasure of seeing you. I think it woud be improper in me to write anything of the kind to the President, and as I know of your intimacy with him, request the favor of you, to let it be known, that it wou’d not be agreeable to me, to accept of the Appointment of Collr of the Port of Charleston, shod I be thought worthy. . . . I mean to set off for New Hampshire some time this week & then return to Rhode Island, from whence I wou’d immediately go to Charleston, was my health so established as to enable me to attend to the duties of Office, but as that is not the case, it wou’d be v⟨ery⟩ unwise in me to leave it ’till the cool weather sets in” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Tobias Lear this day transmitted to Alexander Hamilton Motte’s letter by order of GW to “shew the necessity of making a change in the Commissions for the Port of Charleston, if they should not have been forwarded” (DLC:GW). GW had already decided to make Motte collector, and the commission apparently had been made out but not yet sent. Hamilton sent Lear two recalled commissions on 5 Sept. (DLC:GW), and the next day Lear sent Hamilton a new one temporarily appointing Isaac Holmes collector (DLC:GW). The permanent commission of Holmes, dated 7 Nov., was made out and sent to Hamilton for transmittal on 10 Nov. (State Department Memorandum Book, DNA:PCC, item 187, 118). For GW’s appointments of the Charleston customs establishment, see Pierce Butler to GW, 3 Aug., n.1.

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