Providence Sepr 30th 1796
By the Decease of Henry Marchant Esqr. the place of Judge for the District of Rhode Island has become Vacant.
Being perswaded that you wish to fill all the Offices with such persons as are well qualify’d to execute the same as well as to gratify the Reasonable Desires of the Citizens in general in the Appointments so far as shall consist with propriety. I therefore presume to communicate to you Sir, that the general wish of the people in this District was that the Honble William Bradford might have the Appointment. But on being informed that he was not Eligable by Reason that the Emoluments of the Office had been Raised during the Time that he held a Seat in the Senate. our Eyes are now turnd on Benjamin Bourn Esqr. he is so good & usefull a Man in Congress at present and may be yet made more so that tis with much Reluctance that I mention him. He certainly is every way qualifyed for the Office and his Appointment will give verry general satisfaction to the Citizens of the State.
I have seen your Address Sir, notifying your wish that you may not be considerd as a Candidate for the Office of President in future. I can with Truth say that the people of New England are Universally desirous of your continuing in Office, but knowing the very great sacrafice that you must make if you continue, and that all things are subject to Change and we with them. we cannot object to your Detirmenation. There seems one Thing yet left undone which if you could Effect would spread a general Joy thro’ this part of the Union. That is the Liberation of our worthy Friend General Le Fiette.
Perhaps by representing to the Directory To the Emperor, &c. that Genl Le Fiette with his Family will immediately come to America on his being restored to Liberty it may at this particular Time have the Desired effect. Wishing you length of Days with much Tranquility & Happiness I Remain Sir with the highest Esteeme, your Excellencies Most Obedient Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.