George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jacob Richardson, 1 October 1789

From Jacob Richardson

Newport Octor 1. 1789.


By Capt. Clarke, who arived here last evening, in 50 days from Nants in France I receiv’d a number of Letters, into the Post Office, one of which was for you Sir, which I enclose, & Send by one of our Packets, which wish safe to your hands, I send it in this way that it may gett to you sooner than by Post, we have but one Post in a Week to N. york, goes from here Tuesdays, and getts to N. york on Saturday following. I am wishing you health and happiness. Your most hume Servt

Jacob Richardson

P.S. I have Just heard that Mr Osgood, is appointed, Post Master General,1 if you Sir, would be so kind as to request of him my continuance in this small Office, provided he has a good Report of my services in said Office from 1784 to this time, you will do me a particular favour.2

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

Jacob Richardson (c.1738–1818), longtime postmaster for Newport, was perhaps best known for his dispute in the late 1780s with Gov. John Collins over the payment by Rhode Islanders for postage in depreciated currency. See Polishook, Rhode Island and the Union, description begins Irwin H. Polishook. Rhode Island and the Union, 1774–1795. Evanston, Ill., 1969. description ends 175–78; Columbian Centinel (Boston), 14 Oct. 1818. Richardson retained his post under the new government. See correspondence with the postmaster general in DNA: RG 28, Letters Sent by the Postmaster General, 1789–1836, passim.

1Samuel Osgood (1748–1813) of Andover, Mass., had studied for the ministry at Harvard but after graduating in 1770 joined a business firm with his brother. During the Revolution he served as aide-de-camp to Artemas Ward. In 1781 he was elected to Congress and served until 1784; in 1785 he became a member of the Board of Treasury. Although Osgood had not supported the Constitution in the struggle for ratification, GW nevertheless appointed him to succeed Ebenezer Hazard as postmaster general in September 1789. Osgood served until the government moved to Philadelphia in the summer of 1790.

2Tobias Lear replied to this letter on the president’s behalf on 12 Oct., acknowledging Richardson’s letter and informing him that “I am directed by him to inform you, in answer to that part of your letter which relates to the Post Office, that he never interferes in the appointment of any Officers whose appointment does not by law come under his immediate cognizance. Mr Osgood must act as he pleases in the appointment of his deputies” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW). The letter-book copy of Lear’s letter was inadvertently addressed to the postmaster at Providence.

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