George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tobias Lear, 18–19 September 1791

From Tobias Lear

Philadelphia September 18[–19]th 1791.


The Instructions, and other papers relating thereto, I returned to General Knox on Thursday forenoon. And immediately on my return home, after accompanying you out of town, I secured your room in a manner agreeable to your wishes, and took the key into my possession; so that before I had the pleasure of receiving Mr Dandridge’s letter from Chester, the directions contained in it had been executed.1

Colo. Hamilton called upon me on friday morning and shewed me letters from the Honle Edd Rutledge & General Pinckney on the subject of an Inspector for Survey No. 2 in So. Carolina, in place of John Cogdell who had resigned. These letters mention, that a Mr Benjn Cudworth had been employed in that Survey, by the Supervisor, since Mr Cogdell’s resignation, and that he had given him hopes of obtaining the place. Under these circumstances these Gentlemen thought it would be best to appoint Cudworth to the office; tho’ they acknowledged, that if he had not been employed & received assurances, they should not have brought him forward; but they thought it would be proper to employ him now, as otherwise, (being considered as rather a factious character) he might throw obsticles in the way of executing the law. Holding the office he wou’d feel himself interested in the support of the system which gave it him, and would undoubtedly exercise his influence (which is said to be considerable in that quarter) to good effect. A Commission was accordingly filled with his name and delivered to Colo. Hamilton. Colo. Hamilton, at the same time, observed, that a Mr Brown had been mentioned to him as a proper person to succeed Mr Cogdell in the Collectorship of George Town; but he wished to get further information of his Character from some gentlemen belonging to Carolina before the appointment is made.2

The Commission for the person who may be appointed Attorney for the Virginia District, has been delivered to the Attorney General agreeable to your direction.3

There have been no arrivals from Europe since you left the City; but it is said there are several vessels in the River, among which is one or more from Europe. If so, they will probably be up in the course of the day, and in case they bring any later intelligence than we have received I will obtain it, if possible, before the mail closes in the morning, and transmit it with this letter.

We are much pleased that the weather has been so remarkably fine since you left us, and are in hopes that you will have had an agreeable Journey. Major Jackson is getting better and desires to be presented in terms of respect. The rest of the family are well. Mrs Lear unites with me in a respectful & affectionate remembrance to Mrs Washington & yourself—love to the Children & best wishes to all friends. I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect & attachment Sir, Your obliged & obedt Servt

Tobias Lear.

Monday Morng Sept. 19th The Vessels which were said to be in the River have not got up.


1GW, Martha Washington, and their traveling party, including Bartholomew Dandridge, left Philadelphia in the afternoon of 15 Sept. and reached Chester, Pa., later that day (Dunlap’s American Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia], 19 Sept.), where Dandridge wrote to Tobias Lear that GW “directs me to request of you to have the windows of his room securely barred, and to take the key into your possession—he also desires that the instructions and other papers for General Knox (if not sent to him already) may be immediately forwarded” (DLC:GW). For the papers for Henry Knox, see GW to George Clinton, 14 Sept., n.2.

2For the resignations of John Cogdell, see GW to Alexander Hamilton, 8 May, n.1. Lear transmitted to Thomas Jefferson on 5 Sept. the returned commissions of Cogdell, as well as those of William Nelson, Jr., and “Sundry papers . . . which have been submitted to the President. . . from the Consul of the U.S. in London to the Secretary of State” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Lear forwarded to Hamilton on 16 Sept. a new commission for Benjamin Cudworth (c.1753–1814), a native of Massachusetts who removed to South Carolina before the Revolutionary War and served under William Moultrie at Savannah and Charleston (DLC:GW).

3Early on 15 Sept. Lear wrote to Henry Remsen, Jr., at the State Department: “The President directs a commission to be made out for the Supervisor of Delaware—and one for the Attorney of the Virginia District—both to be left blank as to the names & dates—It will be necessary to have these commissions sent for the Presidents signature before twelve O’clock—as he will set off for Virga at that hour if the weather shd be fair” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Lear transmitted the Virginia district attorney commission to Edmund Randolph on 16 Sept. (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters), and Randolph informed GW on 1 Oct. that he had forwarded the commission to Alexander Campbell (see GW to Randolph, 10 October). Campbell wrote to GW on 7 Oct. from Fredericksburg, Va., accepting the office of Virginia district attorney (DLC:GW), and GW nominated him on 31 Oct. (GW to the U.S. Senate, 31 October). The appointment of Campbell was confirmed on 7 Nov., and a permanent commission sent him on 10 Nov. (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 87, 88; State Department Memorandum Book, DNA:PCC, item 187, 118). He resigned the office before his death in 1796 (see Campbell to GW, 20 Mar. 1796, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

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