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“You cannot doubt my wishes to see you appointed to any office of honor or emolument in the new government, to the duties of which you are competent—but however deserving you may be of the one you have suggested, your standing at the bar would not justify my nomination of you as attorney to the Federal district Court in preference of some of the oldest, and most esteemed General Court Lawyers in your own State, who are desirous of this appointment. My political conduct in nominations, even if I was uninfluenced by principle, must be exceedingly circumspect and proof against just criticism, for the eyes of Argus are upon me, and no slip will pass unnoticed that can be improved into a supposed partiality for friends or relations.”

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WHO? George Washington to his nephew Bushrod Washington, dated 27 July 1789, three months after GW was sworn in as President. The letter is in response to a job application.

AND? As a postscript, Bushrod Washington at the age of thirty-six was nominated by John Adams to the Supreme Court in 1798, where he served for thirty years until his death in 1829.

posted at 2:00 am
on Oct. 4, 2005

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