George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Ewing, 15 January 1790

From James Ewing

Trenton [N.J.] Jany 15th 1790


Having had the honor of serving the State of New Jersey in different Appointments from the commencement of the late War until within the four last years in which I have served the United States as Commissioner of the Loan Office and Receiver of Continental Taxes in the State aforesaid, the Duties of which Offices are at present suspended. your Excellency will permit me to lay before you the inclosed Copies of Testimonials of my Conduct, and to solicit your favorable Remembrance of me when a reappointment to those offices shall take place, or to similar offices which may be created to supply their place.1

Presuming that the Weight of my Recommendation will not rest so much on Numbers as Respectability, I have not been solicitous to obtain a long list of Subscribers.

The Original I hope to have the honor of presenting in Person to your Excellency before the appointments shall take place. With Sentiments of the most perfect Respect and Esteem I have the honor to be Your Excellency’s most obedient humble servt

James Ewing


James Ewing (1744–1824) served as a lieutenant and captain in the New Jersey militia during the Revolutionary War and in the New Jersey legislature in 1774 and 1778. He was New Jersey’s commissioner of loans under the Confederation government from 1786 to 1789. In another letter, undated but probably written in the early summer of 1790, Ewing reminded GW of his earlier solicitation and his service as New Jersey commissioner of loans. “As I was obliged by the Regulations of the Office to give up my other business when I first accepted it and am in consequence out of employment it is to me an object of importance in my present situation” (DLC:GW). On 6 Aug. 1790 GW appointed him to the same position under the new government (DHFC description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends , 2:89). In April 1791, upon the death of Nicholas Eveleigh, the comptroller of the treasury, Oliver Wolcott was appointed to the position, leaving vacant Wolcott’s old post as auditor. On 14 July 1791 Ewing wrote GW applying for the position. “Col. Hamilton as he passed through this place this morning informed me that no appointment to the Office of Auditor of the Treasury of the United States had yet taken place; I presume there is no want of good Men offering themselves to fill that appointment yet as it will not probably be given to any person who does not apply, I have ventured to offer myself a Candidate—I have no extraordinary merit or services to boast of to entitle me to Notice—such services as have been in my Power the public have commanded from the commencement of the late War, and in such situations as the public favor has placed me I have the satisfaction to believe I have given general satisfaction—the examination and arrangement of accounts has always given me particular pleasure, and I have served the State of Jersey as their Auditor of Accounts for a number of Years with much satisfaction so that the employment is not new to me.

“With great Interest or warm Patronage I cannot pretend to come forward, yet with the Sentiments of the best Men in this State on the Subject of my conduct and abilities as an Officer your Excellency must be acquainted when you recollect the Testimonials given me in my application for my present appointment. I shall only say further that if you shall think proper to confer this second favor upon me, I shall endeavor so to act that no Person shall have reason to think less favorably than at present of that prudence and judgment which the whole World admits has governed the past appointments to Offices” (DLC:GW). Ewing did not receive the appointment.

1In his letter of 15 Jan. Ewing enclosed copies of testimonials signed by William Livingston, Robert L. Hooper, and other New Jersey citizens (DLC:GW).

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