George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Lindsay, 30 April 1789

From William Lindsay

New York April 30th 1789


If you are not already fatigued with the Numerous similar Applications that have already been made, I will with Permission make known to you it is my wish to be continued Naval Officer of Norfolk. for circumstances, I refur you to Col. Parker, who was present at my Appointment. having served in the Army—the Executive thought my pretentions equal to any that offer’d. Should you think that my past services, merit the attention of your Excellency, I will faithfully devote my best ability & endeavors to the public Service. I have the honor to be with every sentiment of gratitude & Respect Your Excellencys most Obt & very Humbe Servt

Wm Lindsay


William Lindsay (1743–1797), a Norfolk merchant, had served in various dragoon battalions during the Revolution. In February 1789 Lindsay was appointed naval officer for the district of Elizabeth River under the state revenue system to succeed Josiah Parker, who had just been elected to Congress (Journals of the Council of State of Virginia, description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends 5:52–54). In June 1789 Lindsay, still in New York, reminded GW of his earlier wish “to be Continued in the Office, I now hold under the Appointment of the State. There is a propability of a different arrangement being made in the naval department, from the bill now depending. I therefore beg leave, to submit to you, my wish on that subject, before I leave this City—It is Sir—should more Offices be branched out from the one which I now have the honour of filling to be appointed to the one, in that department, which shall appear to be the most permanent, & profitable. Or in other words, that which shall ⟨be⟩ deemed the Head of the department in that ⟨par⟩ticular district” (DLC:GW). Lindsay’s application was supported by Joseph Jones in a letter to GW of 21 April 1789 (DLC:GW). For the conflict over the Norfolk appointments, see Benjamin Harrison to GW, 26 Feb. 1789, n.1. In August 1789 GW appointed Lindsay collector of the customs for Norfolk and Portsmouth (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:11, 14).

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