George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Marshall, 26 August 1795

To John Marshall


Philadelphia 26th Augt 1795

Dear Sir,

The Office of Attorney genl of the United States has become vacant, by the death of Willm Bradford Esqr.1

I take the earliest opportunity of asking if you will accept the appointment? The salary annexed thereto, and the prospect of a lucrative practice in this city—the present seat of the generl government, must be as well known to you—better perhaps— than they are to me; and therefore I shall say nothing concerning them.

If your answer is in the affirmative, it will readily occur to you that no unnecessary time should be lost in repairing to this place. If on the contrary, it should be in the negative (which would give me concern) it might be as well to say nothing of this offer. But in either case, I pray you to give me an answer as promptly as you can. With esteem & regard I am—Dear Sir—Yr very Hble servt

Go: Washington

ALS, in private hands; ADfS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1William Bradford died of yellow fever on 23 Aug. at his home near Frankford, Pennsylvania. He had informed Treasury Secretary Oliver Wolcott, Jr., of his illness on Monday, 17 Aug.: “Shortly after I left You on friday morning, I was thrown on my back by a severe billious remitting fever. I attacked it vigorously & by the aid of the Doctor have reduced my system very low, but the fever is not yet removed. From my extreme weakness, I do not perceive any chance of my being in town this week, but my head-achs have left me & if there be any pressing business that can be transacted in writing, I hope I shall be able to transact it, although at present I am obliged to employ another person to be my amanuensis—Will You be pleased to mention to the President my situation & explain to him the reasons of my absense” (CtHi: Oliver Wolcott, Jr., Papers).

According to an account by his physician, Benjamin Rush, “Such was his dread of the lancet, that he refused to be bled in the early stage of his disease, in consequence of which he died … in the 39th year of his age, amidst the tears of numerous friends, and the lamentations of his country” (Medical Inquiries and Observations, 2d ed., 4 vols. [Philadelphia, 1805], 3:437).

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