George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Denny, 21 July 1794

From Robert Denny

Annapolis July 21st 1794


By the Death of General Williams the office of Collector at Baltimore is become vacant, and as your Excellency sometime ago honored me with an Appointment, I have the greater confidence to h<o>pe for your patronage at this time.1

I hope your Excellency will not think it an improper request, it is an obligation owing to my Family which prompts me, to solicit your Excellency, for the appointment to succeed General Williams, conceiving myself fully competent to the duties required, for it will always be my study to conduct myself so, as, to reflect no discredit to the appointment, this I take to be the best and most acceptable acknowledgement.

The testimonials transmitted to your Excellency on a former occasion in my behalf,2 I flatter myself will appear satisfactory, and my appointment in this State will entitle me without presumption to become a Candidate & to your Excellencys attention,3 I have the honor to be with much respect your Excellencys Obedt Hble Servt

Robt Denny


1In November 1793 GW had commissioned Denny to be collector at Annapolis, but Denny had declined that position as insufficiently lucrative (Denny to GW, 6 Dec. 1793).

2Denny may be referring to the recommendations given to GW by John Eager Howard, 21 June 1790, and William Smallwood, 15 July 1790, in connection with Denny’s candidacy to become federal commissioner of loans for Maryland.

3Denny was the Maryland state auditor at this time. He did not receive the appointment as collector at Baltimore, which went to Baltimore naval officer Robert Purviance. On 22 Aug., Denny again wrote GW, seeking "to fill the vacancy occasioned by the promotion of Mr Purviance." In support of that application, Denny claimed, "I acted four years under General Williams as Deputy, under the laws of this state, and during that time, the duties of Naval Officer were almost solely executed by me, if a knowledge of the business gives any preference, I should hope in this instance to meet with your Excellency’s approbation.

"In receiving an appointment, I expect to dedicate my time and abilities to the execution thereof, and it is no unreasonable expectation that an emolument should be received adequate to the support of my family" (DLC:GW).

The position of naval officer at Baltimore went, however, to Nathaniel Ramsay (Senate Executive Journal, 165).

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