George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Brough, 20 July 1789

From Robert Brough

Hampton Virginia July 20th 1789


I have been sometime a Searcher at the port of Hampton in this State and as tis probable Congress will establish an Office something like that, as a Comptroller—a Surveyor: I beg leave to offer my Service to you in any Station of that sort either in this or some other port—the former I prefer—I have not the Honor to be known to you but Colo. Parker can give you information of me—I would say more but fear to be tiresome.1 I have the Honor to be with highest Admiration & respect Your Excellency’s Mo. Obet Sert

Robt Brough


Robert Brough, of Hampton, Va., attended the College of William and Mary in 1771 and served during the Revolution as an adjutant in the Hampton militia. In March 1786 he was appointed a notary public for Hampton, a position he held until 1791. The Virginia council appointed him searcher at Hampton in March 1788. Brough did not get a federal appointment. In October 1789 he was named a justice of the peace for Elizabeth City County by the council (Journals of the Council of State of Virginia, description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends 3:527, 4:217, 5:119, 315). By 1793 Brough was acting as a clerk at Norfolk for the Virginia treasury and in the early nineteenth century he represented Hampton in the state assembly.

1No recommendation of Brough by Josiah Parker has been found, but on 19 July 1789 Wilson Miles Cary of Ceelys wrote GW in support of Brough’s application: “Permit me to do myself the honour of solicitating you and my Country on your late appointment to the Presidency of the United States, a circumstance as honourable to your Virtues as expedient to the general good of America—Often have I lamented that I have been denied the happiness of doing this in Person, since I had the pleasure of paying my respects to you at York—A reduced fortune in consequence of the late War must plead my excuse for not waiting on you at Mount Vernon, which I have often had in contemplation to do—Allow me Sir to mention to you a young Gentleman of reputable Family among us and of good Name, who was appointed by our Executive March was twelve months as Searcher of Port Hampton, as a deserving young Man and every way qualified to fill any Office in the Customs which you might do him the honour to appoint him to in this State—His Name is Robert Brough living at present in Hampton. I think he possesses all the requisites necessary to fill Office with Credit to himself & profit to Revenue—I sincerely congratulate you on recovery from your late indisposition and beg the honour of your and Ladys acceptance of Mrs Carys and my best wishes” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries