George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Elias Dayton, 5 May 1789

From Elias Dayton

Elizth Town [N.J.] 5th May 1789


I take the liberty of introducing to the knowledge and notice of your Excellency, my son, who will have the honor of presenting this. He wishes to be so happy as to obtain the approbation & nomination of your Excellency to the appointment of Collector of imposts or duties for New Jersey.1

Motives of delicacy prevented my mentioning this matter either by letter or in person in the course of your Excellency’s passage thro’ this state and as the solicitation of an office, even for a friend, is a truly disagreeable undertaking I should, even now, have declined it could there have been any other less exceptionable method of making his wishes known to your Excellency whose province it is to nominate.

I trust I shall be pardoned if I have failed in the style of my address as I have not yet hear’d what title has been annexed by Congress to the office of President General. With the highest respect and esteem I have the honor to be Your Excellency’s Very Humbe Servt

Elias Dayton


Elias Dayton (1737–1807) saw active service during the Revolution as colonel of the 3d New Jersey Battalion and ended the war as brigadier general. GW and Dayton had frequent military contacts during the war. After the war he returned to his mercantile firm—Elias Dayton & Son—in Elizabeth, N.J., and during the Confederation years served in the local militia and in the Continental Congress in 1787–88. He was president of the New Jersey Society of the Cincinnati.

1Elias B. Dayton, one of Elias Dayton’s eight children, wrote GW on 22 July 1789 concerning his father’s application on his behalf: “Having learned that it will be required of the naval officer or Collector for the eastern district of New Jersey to hold his residence at Perth Amboy, I take the liberty of requesting your Excellency’s permission to withdraw my name from the list of candidates for that appointment” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries