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Special Message

August 06, 1789

Gentlemen of the Senate:

My nomination of Benjamin Fishbourn for the place of naval officer of the port of Savannah not having met with your concurrence, I now nominate Lachlan McIntosh for that office.

Whatever may have been the reasons which induced your dissent, I am persuaded they were such as you deemed sufficient. Permit me to submit to your consideration whether on occasions where the propriety of nominations appear questionable to you it would not be expedient to communicate that circumstance to me, and thereby avail yourselves of the information which led me to make them, and which I would with pleasure lay before you. Probably my reasons for nominating Mr. Fishbourn may tend to show that such a mode of proceeding in such cases might be useful. I will therefore detail them.

First. While Colonel Fishbourn was an officer in actual service and chiefly under my own eye, his conduct appeared to me irreproachable; nor did I ever hear anything injurious to his reputation as an officer or a gentleman. At the storm of Stony Point his behavior was represented to have been active and brave, and he was charged by his general to bring the account of that success to the headquarters of the Army.

Secondly. Since his residence in Georgia he has been repeatedly elected to the assembly as a representative of the county of Chatham, in which the port of Savannah is situated, and sometimes of the counties of Glynn and Camden; he has been chosen a member of the executive council of the State and has lately been president of the same; he has been elected by the officers of the militia in the county of Chatham lieutenant-colonel of the militia in that district, and on a very recent occasion, to wit, in the month of May last, he has been appointed by the council (on the suspension of the late collector) to an office in the port of Savannah nearly similar to that for which I nominated him, which office he actually holds at this time. To these reasons for nominating Mr. Fishbourn I might add that I received private letters of recommendation and oral testimonials in his favor from some of the most respectable characters in that State; but as they were secondary considerations with me, I do not think it necessary to communicate them to you.

It appeared, therefore, to me that Mr. Fishbourn must have enjoyed the confidence of the militia officers in order to have been elected to a military rank; the confidence of the freemen to have been elected to the assembly; the confidence of the assembly to have been selected for the council, and the confidence of the council to have been appointed collector of the port of Savannah.


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

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