George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Pendleton, 5 March 1794

From Edmund Pendleton

Virga March 5th 1794.

Dear Sir

Unwilling as I am to trouble you with Applications respecting the Appointments to Public Offices, I feel it a duty I am inclined to fulfill, to mention my Nephew Mr Nathaniel Pendleton, the present Fedral District Judge of Georgia; who, having heard that you intended to supply the next Vacancy in the Supreme Court, by appointment of a resident of that state, wishes to be considered as a Candidate for that Office, and as such to be recommended to your notice.1 He supposes that his only Competitor will be a Mr Houston, the State Chief Justice, before whom he thinks he stands in Grade, and modestly wishes to be refer’d to the Professional Gentlemen acquainted with both, for information as to Their comparative legal Abilities, & mentions amongst others Mr Baldwin, a Member of Congress from the State, as a good Judge & has an intimate knowledge of both.2 Having thus mentioned him, I have only to Add that I am far from wishing him Success, unless the public good will be at least as well answered by him as another, but in that case shall esteem the prefference to him as a Singular favor to Dr Sir, Yr mo. Affe. Obt Servt

Edmd. Pendleton


1The next vacancy on the Supreme Court did not occur until 1795, when Chief Justice John Jay of New York resigned (Jay to GW, 29 June 1795, DLC:GW). Nathaniel Pendleton never received an appointment to the Supreme Court, and the first justice from Georgia was James Moore Wayne, whom Andrew Jackson appointed in 1835.

2For previous mention of John Houstoun as a potential candidate for appointment to the Supreme Court, see James Gunn’s letters to GW of 7 March 1791 and 11 Feb. 1793. Abraham Baldwin currently was serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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