George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 20 May 1796

From Timothy Pickering

May 20. 1796.

The Secretary of State respectfully returns the papers from Newbern, with the draught of an answer which seemed to him pertinent to the occasion.1

Mr Smith thinks it would by no means suit Mr Izard to undertake the St Croix business.2 In conversing afterwards on the subject with Mr King, Mr Cabot & Mr Ames, and looking over all the States eastward of Pennsylvania, no character appeared so eligible as David Howell of Providence, Rhode-Island.3 He was some years a member of the old Congress—has been a judge of the supreme court of Rhode Island, and is now a practising lawyer. Govr Bradford & Mr Bourne have no doubt of his readiness to accept the trust.4 And all agree in opinion of Mr Howells integrity, abilities, great learning & perseverance in whatever he undertakes.

The doubt I suggested to Mr Strong, he communicated to Mr King, who is decidedly of opinion that the Agent to manage the St Croix business must also be nominated to the Senate.5 The candidates who are thought best qualified are Theophilus Parsons of Newburyport, & James Sullivan, now the Atty Genl of Massachusetts.6

T. Pickering

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, GW’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.

1New Bern, N.C., residents had favored GW’s handling of the Jay Treaty (see Joseph Leech to GW, 19 April, and n.3 to that document).

2Pickering probably alludes to South Carolina congressman William Loughton Smith and Ralph Izard, U.S. senator from that state.

3Pickering consulted with U.S. senators Rufus King of New York and George Cabot of Massachusetts as well as Massachusetts congressman Fisher Ames. The congressman had spoken in the House of Representatives on 28 April arguing for full implementation of the Jay Treaty (see GW to Thomas Pinckney, 22 May, and n.2 to that document).

4Pickering refers to William Bradford, U.S. senator from Rhode Island, and Benjamin Bourne, a congressman from that state.

5Pickering presumably contacted U.S. senator Caleb Strong of Massachusetts.

6Article V of the 1794 Jay Treaty with Great Britain required commissioners to determine “what River was truly intended under the name” St. Croix River in the 1783 treaty of peace. The article called for these commissioners to deliver their records to agents who would “manage the business on behalf of the respective Governments” and reach a “final and conclusive” decision (Miller, Treaties, description begins Hunter Miller, ed. Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Vol. 2, 1776-1818. Washington, D.C., 1931. description ends 249). For nominations under this article, see GW to the U.S. Senate, this date (first letter).

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