George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Andrew Bell, 24 July 1789

From Andrew Bell

Perth Amboy [N.J.] 24th July 1789

The Petition of Andrew Bell, of the City of Perth Amboy, in the State of New Jersey, Most humbly sheweth,

That your Petitioner has held the Office of Deputy Naval Officer at the Port of Perth Amboy for near two years past, and flatters himself that he has discharged the duties of it with care and fidelity, and given general satisfaction.

That altho’ numerous applications were early made to your Excellency, for the Office of Collector of the Impost in this State, yet until that Office should be instituted by Law, your Petitioner forbore troubling Your Excellency with his solicitations, and humbly hopes that his desire of acting with propriety and his consequent late application, will not operate to his prejudice or disadvantage.

That as the Law directs that the Collector shall reside at Perth Amboy, and most of the Candidates for the Office live at a distance from thence, it may reasonably be presumed that, should either of them be appointed, they would not chuse to conform to this Regulation respecting Residence, And therefore your Petitioner humbly prays that your Excellency will be pleased to put him in nomination for the Office of Collector in this District, and begs leave to refer your Excellency to the annexed testimony of his Character, given him by the unanimous voice of his Fellow Citizens. And your Petitioner as in Duty bound will ever pray.

Andrew Bell


Andrew Bell (1757–1843) of Somerset County, N.J., studied law before the Revolution and in 1776 joined the British army in New York. In December 1776 he received an appointment as secretary to Sir Henry Clinton and continued in this position when Sir Guy Carleton succeeded Clinton. After the war he remained in New Jersey where he served as a naval officer at Perth Amboy, a member of the board of proprietors of Eastern New Jersey, 1790–c.1794, recorder of Perth Amboy in 1791, and surveyor general of East Jersey, 1804–42. His sister, Cornelia (d. 1783), was married to William Paterson, United States senator from New Jersey. GW did not appoint Bell to a federal post, and the collectorship at Perth Amboy went instead to John Halsted. In March 1800 John Adams named Bell to the customs post at Perth Amboy to replace Halsted (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 1:341). In DLC:GW there is an undated testimonial signed by seven residents of Perth Amboy, recommending Bell for the office of collector.

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