From Andrew G. Fraunces
Philadelphia March 7th 1792.
It has not been with a little hesitation that I have presumed to address you and to make a request which I fear may be considered an improper one; however I am encouraged to proceed from the knowlege I possess of the extreme goodness of your heart: On this ground I venture, buoyed with the hope that you will grant me the favor I ask, if I have been, or may be found to merit it.
Having since the year 1785 served the public, in the Treasury department, I have entirely devoted my attention to that business, nor thought of turning aside to any other, and flattered my self that by unremitted exertions in the duties of my station I might be found worthy at some future day, if opportunity offered, for public notice. I have waited patiently and I trust have pursued the plan I at first determined on—an opportunity seems now to present itself.
The report of a Committee of Congress on the Treasury department &ca I observe contemplates the abolishment of the office of the assistant, and substitutes in lieu thereof, two principal Clerks1—for one of those offices (if a law should be passed making such alteration in the department) I have petitioned the Secretary—and now most humbly beg that you will honor me by mentioning me to him favorably—I must notwithstanding, in justice to the public declare, that I do not wish the office I petition for, nor the favor I presume to ask of you—if I have not been found strictly attentive to their interests; and my knowlege of the business of the department, and my abilities are not sufficiently competent to the appointment.2
Permit me to say Sir—that from my infancy I have been taught to look up to you as the father of the rising generation—as a child then let me hope you will indulge me with the favor I ask—or if it is an improper request, to pardon it, and attribute it to an anxious desire, of, as well as making myself useful and conspicuous in the station in which providence has placed me—as to the maintaining and providing for the education of a family which the same providence has committed to my care. I have the honor to be with all possible respect, and the truest attachment Your most obedient and most humble servant
Andrew G. Fraunces
ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.
1. “An Act making alterations in the Treasury and War Departments,” which GW signed on 8 May, abolished the office of assistant to the secretary of the treasury and in its place created the office of commissioner of the revenue. It also authorized two principal clerks for the secretary of the treasury, each with an annual salary of $800. Finally, the act lifted the prohibition on Treasury Department clerks from carrying on any outside trade or business (see 1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 279–81).
2. Fraunces, who was not promoted to one of the two principal clerkships, became involved in a bitter dispute with the secretary of the treasury following his dismissal from the Treasury Department in March 1793 (see GW to Hamilton, 3 Aug. 1793, Hamilton to GW, 9 Aug. 1793; see also Fraunces to Hamilton, 16 May 1793, introductory note, Hamilton to Jeremiah Wadsworth, 3 Sept. 1793, and Tench Coxe to Hamilton, 18 Dec. 1793, in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 14:460–71, 26:713–14, 719–23).