Adams Papers

To John Adams from William Ellery, 30 March 1789

Newport March 30th 1789


I wrote a letter to Mr. Dana sometime ago, in which I desired him to request your influence, that I and my son might be appointed to offices under the New Government. In his answer he informed me, that he had spoken to you upon the subject;—that you was pleased to express yourself handsomely of me, and <the> desired that I would write to you, least a multiplicity of business might prevent your thinking of us in season.

I wish, Sir, to hold some office under the New Government, the income of which, with what remains of the wreck of my fortune by the war, and own paper emission, might render me comfortable,—and such an office my past services and loses entitle me to hope for.

As this State has not yet acceded to the New Constitution, it is not probable that any new offices will at present be erected in it.—The Loan-Office, which I now hold, may be continued because it may be thought eligible to pursue the present mode of paying the interest of the public securities with indents, and it may be necessary to have an officer here to receive the monies due from this state to the United States.

What arrangment will be made of the federal Judiciary I know not. If Judges should be appointed to districts I should be glad to be a member of the Eastern Bench;—and if that should take place that my Lord William Ellery should succede me in the Loan-Office.

If the having been a Chief Justice of the Superior Court in this State, in better times, could be any recommendation to a seat in the federal Judiciary it might be mentioned that I have sustained that office;—and my son, who has long assisted me in the Loan-Office, has shown such fidelity, attention, accuracy, and such a turn for business as will render him a good Loan-Officer; and I will venture to affirm that he is qualified at least for an assistant in any of the principal public departments.—

As this State hath adopted the Impost, it may admit officers to collect the duties, if Congress should think proper to appoint them.—

It is impossible for me to know what appointments will be in the contemplation of Congress, and therefore I cannot point out particularly what offices to solicit for.—If it were proper for a solicitor to be a chuser, I would prefer the place of a Judge for myself, and the Loan-Office for my son. If I should not attain to a Judges seat, and the Loan-Office should be continued, I could wish to remain in that office, and that he might be appointed an Impost Officer, if such officers should be appointed; otherwise that he might be an assistant in one of the capital departments.—The President will doubtless come supplied with a Secretary.—

The desire you was pleased to express that I would write to you, and the acquaintance which formerly subsisted between us in Congress, have encouraged me to request more directly, that you would use your influence with the President and Senate that I and my son might obtain offices under the New Government, a favor which I had before requested through our mutual friend.

I have written to Mr. Ellsworth, and Mr. R. H. Lee on this subject, and should write to the Senators from your State if I was acquainted with them.—I have also written to Father Sherman, Mr. B. Huntington, and Col. Partridge, and propose to write to Mr. Gerry.

I sincerely congratulate you, Sir, and my Country on your being elected Vice President, and wishing you health and every blessing, / I am, / with great respect and esteem / Your most obedient Servant

William Ellery

P.S. If you should wish to be informed of any thing respecting this State I will readily give you any information in my power


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