East Chester April 17th. 1797—
Being informed by my friends in New York that Mr. Lamb the Collector of the Customs retires from office, I take the liberty of presenting myself as a candidate for that office, If any Gentleman in the State, has superior pretensions, to the notice of Government, it is probable they will be stated for myself it will be almost superfluous to detail mine, they are known to The President and to every officer in the high departments of Government—If a zealous and active discharge of many important military trusts thro the course of the last war, should entitle a Gentleman to the notice of Government in Peace, there is no officer in the state, who on the score of pretension’s I should blush to contend with, If the exertions of my whole family and the losses experienced in consequence of the war merit any attention, they will without doubt be recollected, if, in part—the having spent Eighteen years of my life in Military & Civil employments to the satisfaction of Government and the approbation of the late President and of my Country will have any weight in Justifying my pretensions, I must take the liberty of calling The Presidents attention to those services—
In addition to ye [thorn] preceeding I may be excused in observing, that, by my individual exertions, of Industry and ability, I have raised, educated and supported a very numerous family, who still look to me for aid and protection, which in consequence of heavy mercantile losses, I am not so competent to give as I have formerly been, upon these Grounds I solicit the appointment & flatter myself If The President honors me with, the duties of it will be discharged with Industry and Integrity—
I have the honor to be The Presidents / most Obedt. / and very Humble Sert.
W,, S,, Smith