George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James McHenry, 6 February 1799

To James McHenry

Mount Vernon Feby 6th 1799

Dear Sir

Enclosed are sundry letters which have come to my hands, requesting Appointments in the Army of the United States.

You will observe that all these letters, excepting one, are from foreigners; and as I presume it is a principle pretty well established, that it would be improper to admit persons of this description into our Army, unless it is a few Characters well skilled as Engineers or Artilleriests, I have sent those to your Office that may go into the proper channel for applications, and not rest in my hands.1

The name of John Cooper, the writer of one of the enclosed letters, was not among those handed on to me from your office—You will see what he says on the subject of an appointt and will know whether the recommendations he mentions have been sent to you, and how far he may have a chance for an appointt from any vacancy, if he shd be found deserving.2 With due consider[atio]n &c. I have the Honor &c.

Go. W.

Df, in Tobias Lear’s hand, DLC:GW.

1On a separate page Tobias Lear lists these letters: “one from Monsr Deseassies—dated Kingston, Jamaica, Sepr 5th 1798 . . . from Francis de Horacke—dated Amsterdam Sepr 6th 1798 . . . from Le Marquis de Vienne—dated Mainbernheyn Sept. 11th 1798 . . . from M. Beaujeau, dated Martinique Septr 15th 1798 . . . from Le Chr de Grimoldi—dated Martinique Octr 15th 1798 . . . from J. Kessler—dated Rotenburg in Hessin Octr 26th 1798[,] All desireing appointments in the Armies of the United States—Also one from John Cooper of Boston to the same effect and one from Major P. C. LEnfant, dated New York Novr 19th 1798.” None of the letters has been found.

2In the list of Massachusetts candidates for army commissions, prepared by GW and the two major generals in December 1798, “John Cooper Boston Lt last war of Artillery” is listed among the captains, and opposite his name is the notation: “says his circumstances are same—unsteady” (DLC:GW; Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 22:328).

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