George Washington Papers

To George Washington from David Austin, 23 July 1789

From David Austin

New Haven [Conn.] July 23d 1789


From the Information which I have received respecting the plan of collecting the federal Impost, I am induced to imagine that a Collector and Surveyor will be appointed at this Port—The first of these Offices I should be very willing to execute; of my reputation in point of Accuracy, Punctuality, Industry, Decision, & Probity, it is more proper my acquaintance should speak than I, As I have the honor to be known to our Senators & Representatives, to them I refer for Information on the Subject, and shall not trouble your Excellency with a List of Subscribers—If my qualifications are such, as in the Opinion of your Excellency are adapted to the discharge of the duties of the office, I have my sufferings by the late War to inforce my present application—My whole Stock in Trade, amounting to several Thousands, the fruit of a long Series of Diligence and prudent Economy, was early lent to the United States and is now in their hands; Have served the United States in several Continental employments, and in common with other servants of the public, received no compensation, These and the facts relative to my State are also well known to some of our Representatives—Should your Excellency be of opinion that my appointment to the office of Collector will consist with the Public good, it is my wish to be honored with the appointment—with the greatest respect and most unfeigned Regard I am Your most Obedient and very humble Servant

David Austin


David Austin (1732–1801) may be the same David Austin who before the Revolution operated a gristmill in Winstead, Connecticut. Austin was an alderman in New Haven after the war and in 1795 became president of the Bank of New Haven. He did not immediately receive a federal appointment, and in the autumn of 1793 he again applied for the post of collector at New Haven. A letter of support for him as “a Gentleman of unblemished character [who] possesses the confidence & Esteem of his fellow Citizens, & acquaintance throughout this State” was written to GW by Samuel Huntington, 14 Oct. 1793 (DLC:GW). GW appointed him to the post on 27 Dec. 1793 (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 1:143).

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