George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Laurence Muse, 1 February 1794

From Laurence Muse

Virginia, Port Tappahannock February 1. 179[4]


Being under apprehensions of a new appointments taking place in the Collectors Office for this Port, I take the liberty of advising you that I am a candidate for that office.1 I should have made personal application for that appointment but my engagements here will not admit of my absence.2 I trust therefore that no objection will be made on that account. Ever since the establishment of the Offices, under the present Government, I have ⟨mutilated⟩ employed therein and have made it ⟨mutilated⟩ obtain a knowledge of the business ⟨mutilated⟩ myself that now I am enabled, not only ⟨mutilated⟩ Satisfaction to individuals but to attend ⟨mutilated⟩ interest of the public.—Give me leave to refer you to the Secretary of the Treasury for some information of my Capability—And if I am fortunate to get the appointment rely the trust reposed in me Shall not be abused.3 I am Sir with much Respect Your very obt & Humle Servt

Laurence Muse


1Laurence Muse presently was the deputy collector of customs for the District of Tappahannock. The current collector was his kinsman Hudson Muse, whose mismanagement led to his removal from office in March (Hudson Muse to GW, 27 Jan.). Laurence later served as the first secretary of the Tappahannock Jockey Club, which was established in 1796, and as justice of the peace for Essex County, Virginia. He was removed from the collector’s office in 1811 (Vincent Bramham to James Madison, 28 Jan. 1811, and n.2 to that document, Madison Papers, Presidential Series description begins Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Presidential Series. 7 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1984–. description ends , 3:136–37). For a list of Laurence Muse’s extensive business and personal land holdings in Virginia and the Federal City, which were for sale in 1808, see his advertisement in the 19 Feb. 1808 issue of The Enquirer (Richmond, Va.).

2For other letters of recommendation sent to GW on Laurence Muse’s behalf, see Madison to GW, 12 Feb., and n.2; Richard Henry Lee to GW, 8 March; and GW to Alexander Spotswood, 15 March, and n.3 to that document. Fredericksburg, Va., merchants William Lovell and Charles Urquhart wrote a letter on 3 Feb. to James Monroe, currently a U.S. senator from Virginia, in which they asked Monroe to “mention to the President, Mr Laurance Muse, as a Gentleman well quallified,” who “has been the Deputy ever since Mr [Hudson] Muse filld the office & has done all the Business with much credit to himself & pleasure To the merchants & owners of Vessels” (DLC:GW). Laurence Muse also wrote to Monroe for assistance on 22 Feb., enclosing a letter of 20 Feb. from George W. Smith, who noted the “esteem & respect which I entertain for this Gentleman” (both letters, DLC:GW). Monroe then forwarded these three letters to GW.

3GW submitted Muse’s nomination to the U.S. Senate on 5 March, and the Senate approved it the following day (Senate 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 , 149).

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