George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Spotswood, 15 March 1794

To Alexander Spotswood

Philadelphia March 15th 1794

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 9th instt is at hand.1 Notwithstanding I have the best disposition to oblige you, & to promote the interest of your son John, yet it is impossible he can be contemplated by me as commander of one of the frigates (should the Bill now pending in Congress pass into a Law) because a number of the old Officers who served with great reputation through the whole of last war, thereby acquiring much experience, are tendering their services; & grounding their pretensions upon merit & the losses they have sustained.2

The most that can be done for your Son, would be to make him a second or third Lieutt—and even here I would not, at this time, be under any engagement until the matter is more unfolded than it is at present.

Mr Brooke, your Son in law, being one, among a great many others, who recommended in very strong terms Mr Lawrence Muse as Successor to Hudson Muse, it was thought best to appoint him to the Collectorship of Rappahannock.3

My love in which Mrs Washington unites is offered to Mrs Spotswood & the family. I am—Dear Sir Your Affecte & Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PHi: Dreer Collection; ALS (letterpress copy), ViMtvL; LB, DLC:GW.

1Spotswood’s letter to GW of 9 March has not been found.

2Spotswood was married to Elizabeth Washington, the eldest daughter of GW’s half-brother Augustine Washington, and he was seeking a federal appointment for his son John Augustine Spotswood in the soon-to-be-established U.S. Navy. For the bill pending in Congress, see “An Act to provide a Naval Armament,” 27 March 1794 (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 . 1:350). For previous letters to GW seeking assistance in finding employment for his son, see Alexander Spotswood to GW, 27 Aug. 1793, and n.1 to that document. John A. Spotswood did not receive a federal appointment until President John Adams nominated him on 4 Feb. 1800 “to be Master Commandant in the Navy,” which the Senate approved 10 Feb. (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 , 337–38).

3Any letter of recommendation from Francis T. Brooke to GW has not been found, but for Alexander Spotswood’s recommendation of Brooke for a federal appointment, see his letter to GW of 15 Sept. 1793. For GW’s recent appointment of Laurence Muse to the position of customs collector for the District of Tappahannock, Va., see GW to U.S. Senate, 5 March.

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