George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Lamb, 22 May 1789

From John Lamb

New York 22nd May 1789


Presuming on your kind attention to me, in the course of the late War; I am emboldened to solicit your Patronage, at this time. and to express a wish, to serve the United States, as Collector of the Customs, for the Port of New York. Should my application meet your approbation, it will be my constant study, to merit the confidence, which you may be pleased to place in me by a strict attention to my duty and the Public Interest. Permit me to assure your Excellency, that nothing could have induced me to trouble you, on this occasion, but, an apprehension, that my silence might (possibly) be construed into a want of respect. With every sentiment of Gratitude, I have the honor to be Most Respectfully, Your Excellency’s Obliged and Obedient Humble Servant

John Lamb


John Lamb (1735–1800) was a wine merchant and land speculator in New York City before the Revolution and in 1765 became an active leader in the Sons of Liberty. When war broke out in 1775 Lamb served as an artillery captain with Richard Montgomery’s forces in the invasion of Canada, where he was captured by the British. After he was exchanged in January 1777, he commanded the 2d Continental Artillery and was brevetted brigadier general at the end of the war. In 1784 the New York legislature appointed him collector of customs at New York. Lamb was strongly opposed to the ratification of the Constitution and carried on extensive correspondence at the time with other antifederalists. In August 1789 GW appointed Lamb collector of the customs at New York under the new government, a post he held until 1797 when a shortage of funds in the customs office led to his resignation.

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