George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Christopher Leffingwell, 15 July 1789

From Christopher Leffingwell

Norwich [Conn.] July 15 1789.

The Petition of Christopher Leffingwell humbly sheweth—That your Petitioner took a decided part at the commencement of the late War; a circumstance in evidence. He was one of Six Gentlemen who furnished Money, planned & gave Orders to the Officers who went from Hartford the 25th of May 1775 to raise Men at Pittsfield Bennington &C. to take possession of Ticonderoga & Crown Point & secure the military Stores there—Your Petitioner was in the mercantile line before the War, & was in easy circumstances; was appointed a purchaser for the State of Connecticut; and served under Colo. Trumbull Commissary General during his continuance—also served in the quarter master department under General Mifflin during his continuance in that department. In which time he advanced large Sums of his own money for Provisions &C. for which he now has Loan office Certificates for several thousand Pounds, the Interest of which for many years has been of little use for support of a large family—He has been the Officer for the Port of Norwich ever since it was first established; which since he quitted merchantile business has given him considerable towards support. Your Petitioner is the senior Naval Officer in Connecticut east of New Haven; had, and presumes still has the confidence of his fellow citizens, is known by all the Gentlemen in Congress from this State—Mr Huntington from this Town Colo. Wadsworth, Colo. Trumbull, & Mr Sturges he is intimately acquainted with—The Honourable members in Senate know him & can give his character—He therefore humbly prays for the appointment of Collecter for the District of New London—being advised by some of the members to solicit; presuming he has no competitor who has a better right to solicit with hope; & your petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray

Chrisr Leffingwell


Christopher Leffingwell (1734–1810) was a Norwich businessman and manufacturer, who in 1766 established the first paper mill in Connecticut. In 1770 he established a fulling mill, a gristmill, and a chocolate mill in partnership with his brother Elisha Leffingwell. During the Revolution Leffingwell served as a colonel in the Norwich light infantry brigade, and in 1784 he was appointed naval officer for the port of Norwich. By 31 July 1789 Leffingwell had apparently learned that the main port of entry for district no. 1 in Connecticut was to be New Haven, not Norwich, and he again wrote GW: “It being Suggested to me by my worthy friend Colo. Trumbull that General Huntington was one of my competitors for the office of Collector at the district of New London whose character is high in my estimation. should your Excellency after comparing our claims qualifications & Cituation appoint him to that office I earnestly solicit that I may not be wholly unnoticed but be appointed Suveyor for that district” (DLC:GW). When the customs appointments were made in August 1789, the post of surveyor for New London went to Nathaniel Richards, not Leffingwell. Jedediah Huntington was named to the collector’s post (DHFC, 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 2:14, 18).

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