George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Thompson, 22 January 1794

From William Thompson

District of Georgia, Savannah, 22nd Jany 1794.


The unfortunate Death and melancholy fate of Major Forsyth which have doubtless reached you ere this, embolden me to venture in the present application,1 I have acted in the capicity of Deputy Marshal for these last eighteen months, and was continued as such by the late Marshal’s Commission to me directed, a Copy of which I take the liberty of enclosing under Notary seal.2

The necessity of filling up the vacancy appearing obvious, I am induced from the Vouchers I forward, to address my self to the President’s notice for that appointment, and must with diffidence and submission suggest that probably the Title of an old Continental Officer of the ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, who served with some reputation from it’s formation in 1776, to it’s dissolution in 1781, as may appear by the certificates of Genls Moyland & Butler to Genl Knox in 1785, (which I have requested Genl Irvin to present you) may have some weight in the present decision,3 and should you, Sir, from these short truths think me worthy of the appointment in preference to other applications, as partiality is a stranger to your Actions, on the Following principles only I beg leave to ask it; as the merit and worth of Major Forsyth were known to all his friends and acquaintances when alive, that esteem which was then his share must in part be transferred to his family, and as probably they are in distress, I propose & happily submit to allow one half of all the Commissions from Marshals Sales in this district for the term often specified in his last Commission as Marshal.4

The incompatibility of holding two Offices, will make me resign the appointment of Collector of Hardwicke if chosen to the place of Marshal;5 I have the Honor to be, most respectfully, Your obedient Servt

Wm: Thompson


William Thompson (c.1749-1794), originally from Northumberland County, Pa., served in the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment during the Revolutionary War, 1776–81. At some point after the war he moved to Georgia. Besides serving currently as a deputy federal marshal for Georgia, he was also the collector of revenue at the port of Hardwick, Ga. (GW to U.S. Senate, 4 March 1793).

1On the death of Robert Forsyth, the U.S. marshal for Georgia, see n.1 of James Hendricks to GW, 15 January.

2The commission from Forsyth was dated 1 Dec. 1793 and signed at Augusta, Georgia. The enclosed copy was notarized at Savannah, Ga., on 24 Jan. 1794 by Justus H. Scheuber, notary public and justice of the peace (DLC:GW).

3The certificates from Revolutionary War generals Stephen Moylan and Richard Butler to Henry Knox have not been identified. William Irvine of Pennsylvania recently had been elected to his first and only term in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1793–95, which was currently in session at Philadelphia. Thompson also may have enclosed the certificate of 23 Jan. from Nathaniel Pendleton, judge of the U.S. district court in Georgia, in which Pendleton wrote that Thompson’s conduct as deputy marshal “has been upright and fair, and the duties of it performed with diligence and attention,” and “satisfactory” to Forsyth’s expectations (DLC:GW).

A letter of recommendation also came from Georgia attorneys Matthew McAllister, John Glen (1744–1799), Thomas Gibbons (1757–1826), John Young Noel (1762–1817), and Jacob Waldburger (d. 1797). In their letter to GW of 22 Jan., they wrote that Thompson, in his role as deputy marshal, had “acted with propriety & Official integrity” (LS, DLC:GW).

4On fees and compensations granted to a U.S. marshal, see “An Act for regulating Processes in the Courts of the United States, and providing Compensations for Officers of the said Courts, and for Jurors and Witnesses,” 8 May 1792 (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 . 1:275–79). On Forsyth’s family and provisions made for its support, see n.3 of James Hendricks to GW, 15 January.

5GW did not appoint Thompson (see GW to U.S. Senate, 5 March).

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