From Edmund Randolph
Philadelphia feby 17. 1794
The Secretary of State has the honor to inform the President of the United States, that he received this morning from Mr Daniel Gaines, of Georgia, two letters offering himself, as the successor of Major Forsyth, late marshal of that district.1 Mr Gaines refers to the Secretary, as knowing his character; but he cannot call the gentleman to mind. The only thing, which occurs, is, that Mr Gaines is probably a son of old Colo. Harry Gaines, of Virginia, who was formerly known to the President.2
P.S. Since writing the above, the enclosed, recommending Mr Watts has been received.3
AL, DLC:GW; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters. The docket on the AL reads, “Daniel Gaines Cover of Recommendns of Mr Watts & Mr Gaines to be marshl of Georgia.”
1. On the death of Robert Forsyth, see James Hendricks to GW, 15 Jan., n.1. According to Gaines’s letter to Randolph of 16 Jan., from Washington, Ga., “my exhausted finances requiring something to recruit them, I take the Liberty of requesting your friendly assistance in procuring me that post; a post which I know myself perfectly competent to the execution of, but which I can have no possible expectation of obtaining, without the intervention of my friends, as I am totally unacquainted with the President” (DLC:GW).
The second letter from Gaines to Randolph, also of 16 Jan., asked for Randolph’s “friendly assistance” in obtaining the appointment as marshal. Gaines added: “If the post I solicit is bestowed on another, I will accept any that is suitable, and consonant to the dignity of a Gentleman. No matter in what state. My finances want recruiting and they shall be recruited honorably, or not at all” (DLC:GW). Gaines also sent a separate letter of application to GW of 20 January.
2. Harry Gaines (d. 1767) represented King William County, Va., in the House of Burgesses, 1758–61 and 1765–67. An entry in GW’s diaries shows that GW lodged at his home on 21 April 1760 (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:270). Harry Gaines’s relationship to Daniel Gaines has not been identified.
3. According to Virginia congressman Abraham Bedford Venable’s letter to Randolph of this date, Edward Watts, now a resident of Georgia, “is a Virginian and from the part of the Country from which I come, he was brought up a merchant is well acquainted with business, and was an active man when I knew him, his connections are respectable, and some of them particularly meritorious for their exertions in the late revolution. I am not able to say from my own knoledge what his present situation is in that Country, or how he has conducted himself since his residence there, which has been about ten years, but I am told he is now Secretary to the Governour of that State this I think is sufficient to presume that he has conducted himself well since he has lived in that State.” Venable asked that his letter be given to GW along with the enclosed letter from Watts to Venable, written at Augusta, Ga., on 14 Jan., requesting a letter of recommendation from Venable (both letters, DLC:GW). Venable (1758–1811), a resident of Prince Edward County, was currently in Philadelphia to attend the first session of the Third Congress.
Randolph received a letter of recommendation from Virginia congressman Josiah Parker written at Philadelphia on this date. This, which Randolph presumably passed on to GW at some point, reads: “I have received letters from Mr Daniel Gaines & Mr Edward Watts both of Georgia formerly of Virginia Soliciting to be appointed Marshal of the District of Georgia vacant by the death of Mr Forsyth. The first served with me in the Militia and appeared to be a good man, he informs me he has a large family & is very poor. The other is a Brother of Captn [John] Watts late of the Cavalry of the United States is a well inform’d gentleman. I am told he is now a Secretary to the Governor of Georgia—my duty to them from a former acquaintance induces me to name them to you for the information of the President of the United States” (DLC:GW). Neither Gaines nor Watts received the desired appointment (see GW to U.S. Senate, 5 March 1794).