George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Walter Livingston, 31 May 1789

From Walter Livingston

New York May 31. 1789


From the late Resolution of the House of Representatives relative to the Department of the Treasury, the Presumption is that the Commission under which I have the honor to Act will soon terminate.1

Under this impression I beg leave to state that I should Esteem myself honored, under your Auspices, in Executing any Office, which may be thought adequate to my Qualifications, and the Rank I have held in private and Public life.2 I have the honor to be with the highest Respect your Most Obedt Hume Servt

Walter Livingston


Walter Livingston (1740–1797) was the son of Robert Livingston, third lord of Livingston Manor. From 1775 to 1776 he was deputy commissary general of the northern department. In 1775 he served in the New York provincial congress and from 1777 to 1779 in the New York assembly. In 1784 and 1785 Livingston was a member of the Continental Congress. At the time this letter was written Livingston was one of the three commissioners of the Board ofTreasury.

1In making provision for the major departments of government the House of Representatives had, on 21 May, resolved that a treasury department should be established, “at the head of which shall be an officer, to be called secretary to the United States, for the treasury department, removable by the President” (De Pauw, Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972–. description ends 3:68).

2On 3 Sept. Livingston again wrote to GW: “Should a change be in contemplation by you Sir in the appointment of a Treasurer for the United States—I beg leave to offer my Services to the Public in that Line. . . . Permit me to ask your Indulgence for again Expressing my wish to continue in a public line” (DLC:GW). Like the other members of his family, Livingston received no federal preferment.

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