George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nicholas Fish, 12 February 1791

From Nicholas Fish

Philadelphia February 12th 1791


Under a wish not to intrude, I presume to express my desire to be employed under the Government which You preside over. Should You judge me qualified Sir, to execute the Office of Inspector for the District of New York, created by the Revenue Bill now before Congress, I take the liberty Sir to lay my pretensions before You. I have the honor to be Sir with the greatest respect and esteem your most obedient and very humble Servant

Nichos Fish


Nicholas Fish (1758–1833) attended the College of New Jersey and studied law with John Morin Scott in New York City. After serving as an officer in Malcolm’s New York Regiment in 1775–76, he was commissioned a major in the Continental army and distinguished himself at Bemis Heights, at Monmouth, in Sullivan’s expedition, and at Yorktown, where he served as second-in-command to Hamilton. He resigned his commission in 1784 and was appointed adjutant general of New York. Despite a close friendship with Hamilton dating from before the war, Fish did not receive an appointment from GW at this time. The appointment as supervisor of the revenue for New York went instead to William Stephens Smith (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 4 Mar. 1791), but in late 1793 GW appointed Fish to succeed Smith; the Senate confirmed the appointment on 30 Dec. 1793 (GW to the U.S. Senate, 27 Dec. 1793; 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 142–43, 144). Fish served until 1801, when he was removed by Jefferson.

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