Grover Cleveland

Special Message

December 21, 1886

To the Senate of the United States:

I nominate James C. Matthews, of New York, to be recorder of deeds in the District of Columbia, in the place of Frederick Douglass, resigned.

This nomination was submitted to the Senate at its last session, upon the retirement of the previous incumbent, who for a number of years had held the office to which it refers. In the last days of the session the Senate declined to confirm the nomination.

Opposition to the appointment of Mr. Matthews to the office for which he was named was developed among the citizens of the District of Columbia, ostensibly upon the ground that the nominee was not a resident of the District; and it is supposed that such opposition, to some extent at least, influenced the determination of the question of his confirmation.

Mr. Matthews has now been in occupancy of the office to which he was nominated for more than four months, and he has in the performance of the duties thereof won the approval of all those having business to transact with such office, and has rendered important service in rescuing the records of the District from loss and illegibility.

I am informed that his management of this office has removed much of the opposition to his appointment which heretofore existed.

I have ventured, therefore, in view of the demonstrated fitness of this nominee, and with the understanding that the objections heretofore urged against his selection have to a great extent subsided, and confessing a desire to cooperate in tendering to our colored fellow-citizens just recognition and the utmost good faith, to again submit this nomination to the Senate for confirmation, at the same time disclaiming any intention to question its previous action in the premises.


Grover Cleveland, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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