From Jeremiah Nicols
Chester Town Maryland July 1st 1789
I have taken the Liberty of addressing You, without the honor of a personal Acquaintance; If there is any Impropriety, the Information I have recieved of this being the usual Mode pursued by those who apply for Office, must make my Apology. I have ventured to flatter Myself, that if no better Person offered, I might hope for an Appointment to the Naval Office for the District of Chester Eastern Shore of Maryland. It would be unbecoming in Me to say any Thing of my own Character, I have only therefore after asking Pardon for the Trouble already given You, to add that I am not unknown to the Gentlemen sent by Maryland to the federal Legislature, and if You should think it worth while to make the Enquiry, I hope You will not meet with an unfavorable Report.1 I am with the greatest Respect Sir your most obt Servt
Jeremiah Nicols (Nichols; 1748–1806), a Maryland planter who was related to a number of prominent Maryland families, was a native of Talbot County, moved to Kent County around 1770, and by 1787 had settled at Chester. He held a number of local offices and in 1787 and 1788 represented Kent County in the Maryland legislature.
1. Nicols received no federal appointment in 1789, but in December 1790 the post of collector of customs at Chester became open because of the death of John Scott, the incumbent. On 13 Dec. Nicols wrote to GW concerning the post and submitted a letter from James Tilghman, one of his relatives and an influential Maryland lawyer and planter, attesting to Nicols’s respectable character and noting that his appointment would “be very agreeable to an extensive circle of people” (DLC:GW). GW named him to the post and in 1792 appointed him inspector of the revenue for 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 1:64, 104). When Otho H. Williams, the collector at Baltimore, died in 1794, Nicols, in a letter to GW of 25 July, applied for the post “if no Applicant for the Office more worthy” should appear (DLC:GW). The Baltimore collectorship, however, went to Robert Purviance, the port’s naval officer (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 1:164–65).