Philadelphia 8th June 1796
I am sorry, that without being accused, you should think it necessary to go into a lengthy justification of your conduct & principles.
What the entire design of your letter of the 23d Ulto may be, I am at a loss to conceive; and pressed as I have been, and still am, on all sides, in the discharge of my public functions, I have no leizure to enquire. If the object of it (among other things) is to intimate that you have been overlooked in some recent appointments, I can only say, that nominations are made from the best view I am able to take of the cases which come before me. in doing which I have often, if not always, where the appointments are not of a local nature, found it necessary to combine a variety of considerations—none of which, however, has originated from a desire to serve a friend or relation; or a wish to oblige this, or that man—or set of men; but from the best information I can obtain (where I have no personal knowledge) of the fitness of characters to Offices.
That I may have erred, and in many instances made injudicious nominations, is highly probable: wonderful indeed would it be, if the case was otherwise; but numerous, and chagreening as disappointments may have been to individuals (and abundant they are) I can defy malignancy itself to ascribe partiality, or interested motives to any of my nominations; or omissions, to prejudice or dislike. I have naught therefore, on this score to reproach myself with.
For the attachment you have professed for my person & administration, I pray you to accept my best thanks, and the assurances of the esteem & regard with which I am—Sir Your Most Obedt Servt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.