George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Benjamin Stoddert, 10 July 1799

To Benjamin Stoddert

Mount Vernon July 10th 1799


When I quitted the Chair of Government it was my full determination not to apply to the Executive in behalf of any person for an appointment, knowing the trouble and inconvenience which I must experience myself as well as give to othe[r]s without forming this resolution. In some instances I have, however, been obliged to depart from this rule, where, from particular connexions or circumstances I am called upon to be the channel of application in a way that I cannot refuse, without being thought unkind or uncivil.

But as few instances of this kind occur, I shall not have occasion to trouble you often in this way.

Inclosed is a letter from General Spotswood, expressing a wish to have one of his sons appointed a Midshipman in the Navy of the U.S.1—As I am unacquainted with the regulations established in your department with respect to appointments, I am not able to judge how far the request made by Genl Spotswood for his Son can be complied with. On this you will determine; and whatever answer you may think proper to give, I will thank you to transmit to me that I may forward it accordingly.

As I have no personal knowledge of the young man, altho. a relation of mine, I cannot say how far he may be qualified for the place which is asked. I have the honor to be with due consideration Sir, Yr mo. Ob. St

G. W——n

Df, in Tobias Lear’s hand, DLC:GW.

1Alexander Spotswood’s letter asking GW to help secure for his son George an appointment as a midshipman in the U.S. navy has not been found, but see GW to Spotswood, 15 July, and Spotswood to GW, 25 July. Stoddert’s response of 15 July appears in note 2 of GW’s letter to Spotswood of that date.

Index Entries