George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Anthony Wayne, 13 March 1792

From Anthony Wayne

Philadelphia 13th March 1792


I took the liberty to put into your hands (in the course of last summer) a letter from James Seagrove Esqr. mentioning the alarming emigration from Georgia into East Florida in consequence of a Proclamation of the Spanish Governor, and as I can not find it among my papers, may I request the favor, that you will please to direct, one of your Gentlemen, to make a search for it.1 my reason for this request is, in order to shew the cause of the difference of the number of Voters, at the late Election for a member to Congress, compared with the enumeration of the Inhabitants of Camden County—the legality of which Election is disputed by Genl Jackson.2

I will do myself the honor to attend at the levee as soon as Congress adjourn, when I shall be happy to receive that letter if it can be found, will you have the goodness to pardon this freedom, & to believe me to be with every sentiment of Esteem sir Your most Obt & very Hume Sert

Anty Wayne

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1James Seagrove’s letter to Wayne has not been identified. For the increased emigration from the southernmost states after Spain liberalized its settlement policies in East Florida, see Thomas Jefferson to GW, 2 April 1791, n.3, and Charles Pinckney to GW, 18 Aug. 1791, n.5.

2In January 1791 Wayne had defeated his friend James Jackson for the congressional seat of Georgia’s First District. That summer Jackson accused Wayne’s campaign manager, Savannah mayor Thomas Gibbons (1757–1826), of replacing the duly charged magistrates with his own friends as election judges and falsifying voting lists in at least one precinct. In a second precinct Wayne received more votes than there were eligible voters. Judge Henry Osborne of the state superior court knowingly certified the spurious returns. Wayne took his seat on 1 Nov. 1791 at the opening of the first session of the Second Congress, but two weeks later, on 14 Nov., Jackson petitioned the House of Representatives, formally contesting Wayne’s election. On 16 Nov. the petition was referred to a standing committee on contested elections, which reported on 21 November. A Committee of the Whole House considered the report on 24 and 25 Nov. and resolved to hold a trial on 6 Feb. 1792, which would give Wayne time to collect his evidence. The House apparently granted Wayne two postponements, the first until 27 Feb. and the second until 12 March. On that day the House refused the request of Wayne’s counsel for a further delay and began the examination of Jackson’s evidence. On 16 Mar. the House unanimously resolved “That Anthony Wayne was not duly elected a Member of this House.” Wayne, who was never personally implicated in the election fraud, managed by another parliamentary maneuver to delay the inevitable outcome for a further week, when his noncertification was confirmed and a new election called on 21 Mar. to fill the empty seat. Neither Jackson nor Wayne ran again. John Milledge (1757–1818) was elected to represent Georgia’s First District and took his seat on 22 Nov. 1792 (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 2d Cong., 1st sess., 145, 150, 176, 194, 200, 210–11, 428–29, 458–72, 477–79, 2d sess., 670, 723). Milledge served in the House of Representatives in 1792–93, 1795–99, and 1801–2. In 1802 he was elected governor of Georgia, and between 1806 and 1809 he held a seat in the U.S. Senate.

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