George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate, 3 June 1794

To the United States Senate

United States 3d June 1794.

Gentlemen of the Senate

I nominate the following persons to be Captains of the Ships to be procured in pursuance of the "Act to provide a naval armament."1 The assistance of these officers will be necessary in the building of the said Ships, but the other officers will not be required until the Ships shall be nearly completed.

John Barry,

Samuel Nicholson,

Silas Talbot,2

Joshua Barney,

Richard Dale, and

Thomas Truxton.

Go: Washington

LS, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793-95, Senate Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations.

These nominations were confirmed by the Senate on 4 June (Senate Executive Journal, 161). On 5 June, Secretary of War Henry Knox sent letters to the six men announcing the appointments (DNA: RG 45: Letters Sent by the War Department Relating to Naval Matters, 1794-1798). The captains are listed in order of rank.

1This act, approved on 27 March, authorized GW "to provide, by purchase or otherwise, equip and employ four ships to carry forty-four guns each, and two ships to carry thirty-six guns" (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 . 1:350-51).

2Silas Talbot (1751-1813), who served in the Continental army, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, and was commissioned a captain in the Continental navy in 1779, was at this time a New York congressman. He accepted the appointment on 9 June and submitted his resignation from Congress on 13 June. On 8 Aug., Knox ordered Talbot to New York City to superintend the construction of a frigate (CtMyMHi). He resigned from the navy in 1801.

It appears that at least once during Talbot’s congressional term he was invited to dine with GW. On the cover of an unrelated document of 2 Feb. 1794, Talbot drafted a brief note to decline such an invitation and then revised it to read: "Mr & Mrs Talbot will do themselves the Pleasure to Dine with the President & Mrs Washinton on Saturday next" (ADf, CtMyMHi).

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