George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Nourse, 16 June 1789

From Joseph Nourse

New York the 16th June 1789.


It being understood by the proposed arrangement for the Treasury Department that a continuation of the Office of Register is intended, I hope I shall be held excusable in your Excellency’s esteem in expressing my wishes to be continued in that Office, and in thus early offering myself to your Notice whenever the nomination and appointment to that Office may come in Form before your Excellency.

Permit me Sir, to acquaint You that it is ten years since the keeping of the Books of the Treasury were committed to me; first as Assistant Auditer General; and lastly as Register (to which I had the honor of being appointed by Congress,) under the administration of the late Superintendant of Finance; and since his resignation, under the present acting Commissioners of the Board of Treasury—To every of my superiors in Office I cou’d refer your Excellency for information with what Zeal, diligence and to the extent of my Abilities I have endeavoured to fill my station.

I feel myself peculiarly happy in thus addressing myself; because I believe there is no one more sincere in his professions of rendering Your Excellency his best services, nor any one who will with more pleasure than myself, zealously diligently, and with the best of his Ability contribute his mite to the public welfare under the New Government over which You preside. I have the Honor to be Your Excellency’s most respectful obedient & devoted servant

Joseph Nourse


Joseph Nourse (1754–1841) emigrated from England to America with his parents in 1769 and settled on a plantation near Charles Town in what is now Berkeley County, West Virginia. During the Revolution Nourse served as aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Charles Lee in 1776 and as clerk of the Board of War from 1777 to 1781. From 1781 to 1789 he was successively auditor and register of the Board of Treasury. On 11 Sept. 1789 Nourse was appointed register of the newly established Treasury Department, a post he held until May 1829 when he was removed from office by Andrew Jackson. Nourse’s letter to GW, 20 Oct. 1789, expressing his appreciation for “this real Benefit and Honor conferr’d upon me,” is in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

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