George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathaniel Smith, 10 July 1789

From Nathaniel Smith

Baltimore July 10th 1789


I am informed there will be a Gauger of all Spiritous Liquors & Melasses Appointed in Each State. as I am acquainted with this Bussiness and was the first Appointed, by the Assembly of this State, to execute it, Shall be thankfull for the office at this time—If an appointment has taken place before this goes to you, and the Surveyor of this port Should be Vacant, Shall be Verry Thankfull to Accept it.

As to my Charecter, in private, or Publick Capacity, must beg your Excellence to enquire of William Smith Esquire, or Mr Robert Purviance, who have known me in booth, for Twenty five years past. If your Excellence (on enquire,) thinks me worthy of either of these offices, hope one of them will be given me.1 I am your Excellence’s mo. obediant Huble Servant

Nathl Smith


Nathaniel Smith served as a captain in the Independent Company of Baltimore Artillery in 1776.

1On 2 Aug. Smith again wrote to GW: “I now beg leave to Repeat my Appli[c]ation for the Survayors, Weighers or Gaugers Office the first I Should prefer. In my last I desired you to enquire into my Charceter, of Wm Smith Esquire and Mr Robt Purviance who have known me for more then Twenty years past, I entred into the Service of my Country with the first in this State. my fourtune has ben Such, as to be placed whare No Enemy have not Attacked Us—therefore I am Sensible, you can know little of me, in the Miletary department. I have Inclosed to your Excellence a letter from Govener Howard, and a Charceter from a few of my frinds in this place” (DLC:GW). Supporting Smith’s application is a letter to GW from Gov. John Eager Howard, 1 Aug. 1789, stating that Smith “served some time in the artillery of this State with reputation, and since the peace has been appointed an inspector of Salt Provisions. I belive him to be well qualifyed to discharge the duties of that appointment, and as a Guager—and have a high opinion of his integrity and honesty” (DLC:GW). In addition to the letter from Howard, Smith enclosed an undated certificate signed by William Spear and thirteen other Baltimore residents recommending him “as a person well quallified to fill any office that may be appointed him in Baltimore Under the General Goverment” (DLC:GW).

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