George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Comfort Sage, 12 May 1794

From Comfort Sage

Middletown [Conn.] May 12th 1794


I am told that Congress have it in Contemplation, to Establish a Port of Entry at this place or on Connecticut river, Should that take place, I am under great Obligations to the President for past appointments, and Should feel myself under much greater, Should I be So Happy as to recive his appointment as Collector, of the Prepos’d district, as I am the only officer, appointed by your Excellency in the prepos’d district, and no Objections against me in Executeing the duties of my present office, May I not with Propriety Expect that my present application will be granted.1

I have Spent much time in makeing my self aquainted with the Collection Law, and flatter myself I am Competent to the duties of that Office.

As its not Long Since the President was acquainted with my abilitys to Execute the duties of office in the Customs, by such recomendations as the President thought Sufficint, to give me the Surveyors office at this port, prehaps it may not be Necessary for me to procure any more to Surport my present application, however, its probable the President will recive Soon, Such as he may Judge Sufficint.2 with all due Submission, I am with the Highest Esteem & respect your Exceellencys Most Obedient & Most Hbe Servt

Comfort Sage


1On 31 March 1794 the House of Representatives had received and referred to a committee a memorial from sundry Connecticut citizens "praying that a port of entry may be established at Middletown" (U.S. House Journal, Washington Administration, 6:227). The port was finally established by an act of 26 Feb. 1795 (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:420-23). Sage was surveyor and inspector at Middletown.

2The only recommendation on file from Sage’s application to become surveyor is a letter from Samuel Huntington to GW, 19 Nov. 1789 (DLC:GW). Huntington again wrote to GW on 1 Nov. 1794, noting Sage’s service as naval officer and surveyor and endorsing him as "a Gentleman of good reputation and respectable connections" whose "conduct in Office hath been unexceptionable" and whose appointment as collector "would give Satisfaction both to the public, & to the Citizens" (ALS, DLC:GW). Sage renewed his application with a letter to GW of 9 Jan. 1795 and obtained various recommendations addressed to Connecticut congressmen and to then-treasury secretary Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (all DLC:GW), but on 12 June 1795 GW nominated George Phillips for the post (Senate Executive Journal, 180).

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