Wmsburg Decr 16th 1796
The inclosed letter will acquaint you with the subject & intention of my present address, & supersedes the necessity of my being particular, if the knowledge I have of the young gentleman, in whose favour the application is made, were extensive enough to justify particularity. Altho that be not the case, yet being requested to express to you my opinion of young Mr Wm Claiborne, I can truly say, that the character, given of him in Mr Ross’s letter, perfectly co-incides with the hopes which I have ever entertained in his favour. With more respect & affection than I know how to express, I am Dear Sir, Your most obedient servant,
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Richmond 6th December 1796
Since my return from the Tenassee State I have been continually in motion and very little at this place—this & this only has prevented me from calling upon you—not as a mere matter of compliment, but to communicate to you the most gratefull information which a Father can receive—to hear that his children are rising to respect & fortune—this happiness you enjoy in both your sons in the western Country Nath. & William but ‘tis the latter with whom I am best acquainted—indeed I may say pretty well acquainted with his progress in life from his first going into that Country till this time—but when I was last in that Country I was particularly gratiffied—I found Your son greatly improved by his own good sense and application, I believe he’s as free from vice as any man of his age—he is intirely free from the two prevailing & ruinous vices drinking & gaming—he has the best practice of any man at the Bar and he’s as much respected as any practioner in that Country, ‘tis manifest that no man possesses the confidence of the people of all ranks in that Country more than your son, he might with great ease been elected a member of Congress, but his friends advised him ‘twould be injurious to his practice—Whilst I was upon Holston your son communicated to me that a Fedral Judge would soon be appointed for that State, and that he had an inclination to fill that office although not so lucrative as his practice it would be less fatiguing & afford more time for study—I am sure there is no man who can be appointed in that Country who would be more agreable to the people at large, and I am very sure he would discharge his duty with integrity & ability—I promised to mention the matter to you and I have to request that you may apply to such of your friends as can serve him without loss of time—If you think I can be usefull to him I give you liberty to refer any gentleman to me who may want information concerning him—The greatest proportion of my Landed property is in that State, and I have a common interest with the rest of the Society that those important Offices should be filled with men of honesty, firmness & talents. I am Sir Your hume Servant
P.S. I had almost forgot to inform you that since I left the Tenassee which was the first of last September there happened a vacancy of a Judge for the Superior Courts in the State, to which Office your son is appointed—but I know tis his wish to obtain the Office of Fedral Judge.