George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 18 February 1794

From James McHenry

Fayetteville [Maryland] 18 Febry 1794


I have been requested by Dr Allison to mention to you Mr Robt McRea who removed some time ago from Alexandria to Wilks’s County State of Georgia as a very worthy person and well qualified to discharge the office of Marshal which he understood was vacant by the death of Major Forsyth. It appears also by information I have received from other persons that Mr McRea is a good man who has experienced distress and has a large family to support, and that he is fully equal to such an office.1

The supposed successor of Mr Genet left Town early this morning for Philada under an escort of light horse which he requested. I understand that he carefully concealed his character and had no communication with the French consul. I hope

M. Genet is not to be the cause of further trouble to Government: but some think he does not intend to return to France and that his Country will demand him from this.2

The extraordinary cares you have lately experienced have made a very proper impression upon the public mind in this quarter, in consequence of which the principal inhabitants will celebrate the 22 at Mr Grants; notwithstanding what was done on the 11th.3

I hope your hea[l]th enables you to meet the business you have to go through with some degree of satisfaction. I am sure no one wishes for it more sincerely than I do. Altho’ it is some time since I recovered from my fever yet my health is by no means what it was before.

I beg you to present my sincere respects to Mrs Washington and to believe me Sir your most ob. st

James McHenry

The french merchantmen & other vessels of that Nation have received sailing orders or rather orders to be ready to sail on the first signal.

ALS, DLC:GW. The postal stamp on the cover reads, “BALT FEB 18.”

1Patrick Allison (1740–1802) served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore from 1763 until shortly before his death. He graduated in 1760 from the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania), which granted him a doctor of divinity degree in 1782. Former Alexandria, Va., merchant Robert McCrea did not receive the desired appointment as the U.S. marshal for Georgia (see GW to U.S. Senate, 5 March 1794). On the death of Robert Forsyth, see n.1 of James Hendricks to GW, 15 January.

2Jean-Antoine-Joseph Fauchet, who replaced Edmond Genet as the French minister plenipotentiary to the United States, presented his credentials to GW on 22 Feb., having arrived at Philadelphia on 21 Feb. (Provisional Executive Council of France to GW, 15 Nov. 1793; JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 286; Gazette of the United States [Philadelphia], 21 Feb. 1794). Genet did not return to France, but instead he settled permanently in New York State. Francis Moissonnier was the French vice-consul for Maryland.

3GW’s birthday according to the Julian calendar, which was abandoned by Great Britain and its colonies in 1752, was 11 February. Adoption of the Gregorian calendar moved the date to 22 Feb., but various municipalities continued to recognize the earlier date throughout GW’s lifetime. A public dinner was held at Nathan Griffith’s on 11 Feb. “on the celebration of the President’s birth-day.” Of the eleven toasts given on this occasion, the first was to “The President of the United States” (Baltimore Daily Intelligencer, 13 Feb. 1794). Griffith’s newly established inn, Rights of Man, was located in Old Town, at 6 Bridge Street (Baltimore Directory, 1796 description begins The Baltimore Town and Fell’s Point Directory . . .. Baltimore, [1796]. description ends , 32; Baltimore Daily Intelligencer, 10 Feb. 1794).

A second celebration was held by the citizens of Baltimore on 22 Feb. to demonstrate “another proof of the grateful remembrance in which they hold his many military and civil services, of their approbation of his principles and prudence, and reliance on his courage and skill to pilot with dignity and safety, through a difficult navigation and tempestuous sea, the vessel of state. On this occasion the several Baltimore companies of militia . . . appeared under arms, and went thro’ a variety of well chosen evolutions and firings with great exactness and beauty: after which the merchants, joined by their fellow-citizens, dined at Mr. Grant’s” (Baltimore Daily Intelligencer, 24 Feb. 1794). Daniel Grant’s Fountain Inn, a frequent stopping point for GW, was located at 10 Light Street.

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