George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Tucker, 15 July 1793

From Joseph Tucker

York District of Maine July 15 1793


The Honble Mr Thatcher, a few days since requested me to take the Appointment of Collector for the Port of York, in case of the death of Mr Trevett, who was then thought by his Physicians to be beyond recovery, and has since Expired1—And your Excellency should see fit to Appoint me.

Mr Thatcher said, that there would be no other person recomended, and in order to remove every Objection, I sold what Small Navigation I had, it is a Small Port, the income very small; but my situation such that I could Attend to it without much inconvenience; from the Assurance I had from Mr Thatcher, a letter he left with me for the Secretary of the Treasury which I have forwarded:2 I made every Arrangement Necessary.

This day I am informed that Mr Sewall, is recommended by his kinsman Mr Sewall, keeps the County Goal, some distance from the water3—I had the honour to serve through the War under your Excellency was Paymaster to Colo. Brooks[’]s 7th Massachusetts Regiment, was wounded at the Battle of Bemises heights in October 1777 I have never thought of making application for a Pension,4 this Office was at my door, I was in hopes of Obtaining it; If your Excellency should think proper to Appoint me I shall Esteem it a favour.5 I am with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys most Obedient & Very Humble Servant

Joseph Tucker

ALS, DLC:GW. This letter is erroneously filed under the name of Ebenezer Tucker. The stamped postmarks on the cover read “PORTSMOUTH July 1⟨5⟩” and “FREE.”

Joseph Tucker (c.1753–1804) was an ensign, lieutenant, and paymaster in the Continental Army, 1777–83. He served in the Massachusetts General Court, 1791–93, and as the town clerk of York, 1795–1801 (Charles E. Banks, History of York, Maine [Baltimore, 1967], 2:354, 359).

1In 1789, Massachusetts congressman George Thatcher (later changed to Thacher) had recommended Richard Trevett (1721–1793) to GW in an undated letter as a man who “has been Naval Officer, at the Port of York more than Twenty years—He is a man of Integrity & may be depended upon to discharge faithfully the Duties of Collector” (DLC:GW). For his appointment as the collector of customs at York, in the District of Maine, see GW to U.S. Senate, 3 Aug. 1789. At the time of his death, Trevett also held an appointment as the inspector for that same port (GW to U.S. Senate, 6 Mar. 1792 [third letter]).

2Thatcher’s letter to Alexander Hamilton has not been identified.

3Neither the Sewall family member whom U.S. District Judge David Sewall may have recommended nor a letter of recommendation has been identified.

4Lt. Col. John Brooks commanded the 7th Massachusetts Regiment from 11 Nov. 1778 until 12 June 1783. The Battle of Bemis Heights, N.Y., on 7 Oct. 1777 was the second of two battles fought at Freeman’s Farm near Saratoga that resulted in the surrender of the British troops under Gen. John Burgoyne on 17 Oct. 1777.

5GW forwarded this letter to Alexander Hamilton on 23 July and asked him “to make enquiry” into Tucker’s character (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 205). For Tucker’s appointment, see GW to U.S. Senate, 27 Dec. 1793. Tucker retained this position until 1803, when as “a federal republican” he was “among the persons removed from office by the present [Jefferson] administration” (19 Sept. 1804, Columbian Centinel [Boston]).

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