George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Rice, 2 January 1791

From John Rice

Boston January 2nd 1791


Perceiving by the public Papers, that Congress are about laying an Excise in the several States & being desirous of offering myself to your consideration as a Candidate for Office in that Department, I beg leave to submit to your Notice a few particulars in support of this measure. In the year 1774 I compleated my academic Studies in the Colledge at Cambridge, the then unsettled Affairs of this Country puting it out of my power to engage in any regular pursuit; untill the breaking out of the War in 1775; in July of which year I engaged in the service of my Country, & continued therein, excepting about one year, untill the conclusion of Hostilities; my Employments were in the line of the Army, in the Commissary Department, in the military Staff, in General Heath’s Family as his secretary, & lastly in the Quarter Masters Department.

Upon the expiration of the war I connected myself with the Commissioner for setling accounts between the State of Massachusetts & the Continent; in this Situation was my time employed, when Mr Lovell (who at that period was appointed Naval Officer in this District) offered me the place of Deputy Naval Officer, of which I accepted, upon his appointment as Collector of Impost & Excise, he continued me as his Deputy: in that line was my time engaged, when the appointment of General Lincoln as Collector for this District took place the General was pleased to appoint me his Deputy, I have continued with him from that period to the present.

Thus Sir have I laid open my several Employments, from the Age of twenty one untill this moment. I plead no merit from them, my only Intention is to submit to you the long Course of my employments on the public Service, & to mention the impractacability of my pursuing any other mode of business with any probability of success: How far I may be entitled Sir to your protection & notice I beg leave to submit; for my Knowledge in business, Integrity & Industry, I also beg leave to refer to the several Gentlemen with whom I have been connected; more particularly to General Lincoln, with whom I have the Honor now to be. with the most perfect Respect I have the Honor to be Sir your most Obedt Servant

John Rice


John Rice (c.1753–1803) graduated from Harvard in 1774 and served as a captain in the Continental army from 1 Jan. to 31 Dec. 1776. After the war he served as an assistant to the commissioner for settling accounts and as deputy naval officer and then deputy collector under James Lovell. In August 1789 he was appointed deputy collector for the port of Boston by the newly appointed federal customs collector, Benjamin Lincoln (see Lincoln to GW, 16 Aug. 1789). He received no appointment from GW.

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