George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Spotswood Moore, 25 February 1789

From John Spotswood Moore

West point Virginia Feb. 25th 1789

Dr sir,

I take the Liberty of addressing Yr Excellency in order to Sollicit Yr Interest in continuing me in a post which I have for some time enjoyed under the present Constitution of Government, but which, I am now informed, devolves on Yr honourable Body to conferr1—namely the office of Searcher at the Port of West point—Tho’ the Sallary annexed thereto is but small being £50 per Annum, Yet to a person of a Small fortune, & a growing family, it becomes an Object with worthy attention.

If an honest attention & unremitted to the various & often irksome duties of this office can entitle me to Yr Excellency’s Suffrage, as I am Sure they will, I have a confidence that this application will not be fruitless—Shou’d however the Post here be discontinued I shall think myself happy on any other appointment which Yr Excellency shall please to confer; and in every Event I hope Yr Excellency will believe me to be with sentiments of the highest Esteem Yr Obt Hble

John Spotswood Moore2


John Spotswood Moore was the son of John and Anne Dandridge Moore of King William County, Va., and related to Martha Washington’s family. He was the great-grandson of Gov. Alexander Spotswood. In 1788 Moore had succeeded Corbin Braxton as searcher for the port of West Point under the state’s customs establishment.

1Moore addressed his letter to “His Excellency George Washington President of the Congress of the United States.”

2In a letter to GW of 20 April 1789, Moore renewed his application for the post of searcher (DLC:GW). On 4 Aug. 1789 he received an appointment as surveyor of the port (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 1:14).

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