George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Miller, 25 June 1789

From John Miller

[Philadelphia] June 25th 1789.

The Memorial of John Miller of the City of Philadelphia, Humbly Sheweth

That your Memorialist having many Years served his Country, is now out of any Employment, and finding that some persons will be appointed to carry into Execution Sundry Laws now under Consideration befor the honorable Congress, and having met of late with many heavy Losses by failures—

Your Memorialist therefore humbly Offers himself, as a Candidate to your Excellency for some place in any Department in this City that your Excellency may think him Worthy of: Your Memorialist has the honour to be Acquainted with their Honours the Senators of this State, and the Members of Congress from this City.1 Your Memorialist most humbly begs this favour for his Support in this time of Life, and as in duty bound Shall Pray

John Miller


John Miller was appointed a judge of the Philadelphia city court in 1779. It is probable that he is the same John Miller of Chester County, Pa., who operated a mill and served as a justice of the peace for the county before the Revolution (see Marcus and Perry, Documentary History of the Supreme Court, description begins Maeva Marcus et al., eds. The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800. 8 vols. New York, 1985-2007. description ends 1:633).

1On 13 July 1789 Miller repeated his application: “I make bold to address you, Just to remind your Excellency of a Memorial I took the liberty to forward on the 25th ultimo: I was not of ability to go into the Field in time of our Struggle for liberty, however Sir, I contributed all in my power by placeing Money in the Funds for the Support of our Armey, the Interest of which, (and other heavy Losses since) not being paid of late, render me an object of your Excellencies great Compassion and Indulgance.

“I have many Years been a Servant to the Publick, and am now out of all Employ; would therefore most humbly beseech your Excellency would graciously be pleased to Appoint me one of the Assistant Justices, or an Officer in the Revenue. My abilities are but small, but I trust shall ever be faithful and honest.

“I have the happyness to be acquainted with the honorable Frederick A. Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Worthy and Revd John C. Kunsie Minister of the German Lutherian Church in New York &ca and with your Excellency too if I was present” (DLC:GW).

On 27 July Miller sent a third, and increasingly desperate, letter to GW: “Give me leave to put you in Mind of my humble Memorial of the 25th Ulto—I am in real need of your kind Indulgance; am much Straightned by Obliging my Friends & Others, & now am Obliged to beg for God’s Sake you will grant me some Small Pittance to procure Bread in this Time of Life—can yet do Business of many kinds. . . . Should your Excellency reject me, my God, I trust will provide some Other Way for my sustenance. may the Almighty bless you, & I beg your Pardon for troubling you So often” (DLC:GW).

On 9 Mar. 1791 Miller again applied for a position in the revenue service. On 1 Feb. 1792 he asked to “be appointed Auditor in the Bill now before Congress for the establishing of a Mint in this City,” and he followed the application with a second, undated memorial. He renewed his application on 31 Mar. 1792, stipulating that “I have been long Acquainted with Accounts, having Served thirty Years & upwards in Chester County, and Seven Year in this City as one of the Magistrates, and at this Time am as Capable to do Business as at any period of my Life. As I am quite out of any Employment, and an old Servant quite Neglected—would beg your Excellency would be pleased to Consider my Case and grant my prayer which shall be gratefully Remember’d.” All of these letters are in DLC:GW. Miller received no federal appointment.

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