George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Noble Cumming, 9 July 1789

From John Noble Cumming

New Ark, New Jersey July 9th 1789


Being persuaded by my Friends and many of the Citizens of this State, to offer myself as a Candidate for the Marshals Office of the District of New Jersey the establishment of which seems to be in Contemplation by the Judiciary Bill now before the Honourable the Congress of the United States.

I take the liberty of addressing you Sir on this Occasion. Having spent my Youth after leaving College, in the Service of my Country, I have been prevented from pursuing my first Design of entering into an important Profession in Life, and therefore am under a necessity of seeking more uncertain means, of supporting a rising Family.

The Representatives and Senators from New Jersey, are well acquainted with my Character & Conduct in private Life and my Abilities to fill that Office.1 If I should be so happy as to meet with your Approbation I can with certainty engage for the utmost Integrity in & application to the Duty of the office. I have the Honor to be Your most Obdt Servt

J.N. Cumming


John Noble Cumming (1752–1821), a prominent New Jersey businessman and entrepreneur, graduated from Princeton in 1774 and rose from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel in New Jersey regiments during the Revolution. Cumming settled in Newark after the war where he was active in Masonic circles and became involved in many of the turnpike, transportation, and banking enterprises that were developed in the state during the 1780s and 1790s. He was a stockholder and later one of the directors of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures and became directly involved with its plans to develop waterworks on the Passaic River.

1On 18 July 1789 Elias Boudinot wrote GW recommending Cumming as “a Man of a liberal Education, great activity and I verily believe of a most unblemished reputation—His Qualifications for that Office is not to be questioned and I have no doubt, if he should meet with Success, it would give general Satisfaction thro’ the State of New Jersey” (DLC:GW). Boudinot again wrote GW on 23 Sept. that since Cumming had furnished him “with the enclosed Letter from our Chief Justice, I take the liberty of troubling you with it, as it confirms the Idea I suggested, that his Appointment to the Marshals Office would give genuine Satisfaction to the State” (DLC:GW). Chief Justice of New Jersey David Brearley’s letter to Cumming, stating that although he had already suggested someone else for the post he considered Cumming well qualified, is in DLC:GW. Cumming did not receive the marshal’s post for New Jersey; it went instead to Thomas Lowrey.

Index Entries