George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jabez Bowen, 19 June 1790

From Jabez Bowen

Providence [R.I.] June 19th 1790


By the arival of Colo. Barton from New York we are informed of the Appointments made in the Revenue Department for this State.1 I think they will give intire satisfaction to all the Friends of the General Goverment.

some of my Friends inform me that they have wrote to your Excellency Requesting that I may be appointed to the Loan Office. if agreable, should take it as a favour.2 whoever the person may be he aught to Reside in this Town, as three quarters of the Business will be with the Inhabitants of this County and from the Massachusetts & Connecticutt in this vicinity at the time the Loans was made the Inhabitants of Rhode Island were under the power of the British.

The Federalists of this State wish that Govr Bradford or Mr Merchant should be appointed District Judge they are both Gentlemen of the Law, and fully equal to the Office, they have been equally good Wiggs and Firm for the Establishing the Federal Government.3

It is wished by our Friends that Benjamin Bourne Esqr. may be appointed District Attorney. he is a Gentleman of the verry first abilities and would be the person that we shall Vote for to send as a Representative but at present he can have no chance of succeeding.4

I would also Name John S. Dexter as a verry propper Person for Marshall to this District he is well know[n] to your Excellency and cartainly would give good satisfaction to every good man.5

I should not have thus Troubled your Excellency but we are informed that Govr Fenner has and will send on the Names of those persons that he and his Friends wish may be put in Office, but the whole of their Conduct having been uniformly oposed to the General Government I cannot think that they will be anxious to promote such persons to Offices as will act for the General weale. Your task Sir is arduous I dont wish to perplex but to give you such information as will make your Administration Honourable and Happy, I Remain with sentements of the highest Esteem & Respect your most Obedient and verry Humle Servant

Jabez Bowen


1William Barton brought the news of the revenue appointments made by GW on 14 June 1790.

2Bowen was recommended for commissioner of loans by a committee of Providence merchants (Providence, R.I., Merchants to GW, 14 June 1790, DLC:GW). GW appointed Bowen commissioner of loans on 7 Aug. 1790 (see GW to the U.S. Senate [first letter], 7 Aug. 1790, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, 1789–91, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations).

3GW appointed Henry Marchant district judge for Rhode Island on 2 July 1790 (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 2 July 1790, DNA: RG 46, First Congress 1789–91, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations).

4Benjamin Bourne was elected to the House of Representatives on 31 Aug. 1790 (see Jensen and DenBoer, First Federal Elections description begins Merrill Jensen and Gordon DenBoer et al., eds. The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788–1790. 4 vols. Madison, Wis., 1976–89. description ends , 4:443).

5John Singer Dexter served as an officer with the Continental army from 1776 to 1783, rising to the rank of major. After the war he lived in Cumberland, R.I., where he was a justice of the peace. He was a member of the Rhode Island general assembly in 1782 and voted for ratification in the Rhode Island convention of May 1790. Jeremiah Olney also recommended Dexter for the post of marshal (see Memorandum from Jeremiah Olney, 19 June 1790). He did not receive a federal appointment at this time, but GW appointed him supervisor of distilled spirits in 1791 (see GW to the U.S. Senate [third letter], 4 Mar. 1791, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–93, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations).

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