George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Moses Michael Hays, 28 September 1789

From Moses Michael Hays

Boston Septemr 28th 1789


For The Freedom I use in addressing you, I shall rely on The Friendship of General Knox to offer Such Opology, as will impress on you a favorable reception of this Letter.1 its Motive is to Solicit the appointment of the CoUectorship for the Port of New Port Rhode Island—When That State shall embrace the Feoderal Constitution and appearance Indicate Such measure not to be farr distant; It will not be improper, I presume to Inform your Excellencey, That I am a Native of this Country, Much attacht to its interests & wellfare, a Merchant and resident for many years at Rhode Island, when I should have remained untill this Moment, had it not been possessed by British Forces. When I left it, and Since their departure From thence, The Trade has been so interupted & Much lessned That I Have not as yet, Been induced to return.

I shall Leave my Friends to Say How Farr I merit attention and your Countenance, and will beg Leave to assure Your Excellencey, That any Confidence, placed in me, will Be fully justified, by a Steady Pursuit of rectitude and Integrity, with Profound Respect I am Yr Excellencey’s mos. obedient Hble Servant

M. M. Hays


Moses Michael Hays (1739–1805) was trained as a watchmaker. He moved to Newport in 1769 and became a prominent member of the Jewish community there. An active Mason, he was deputy inspector general of the Masonic lodge for North America in 1768. In Newport he founded a shipbuilding business with Myer Polock (d. 1779) and was involved in banking and the China trade. In 1782 he moved to Boston and set up an insurance business, specializing in maritime underwriting (Rosenbloom, Biographical Dictionary of Early American Jews, description begins Joseph R. Rosenbloom. A Biographical Dictionary of Early American Jews: Colonial Times through 1800. Lexington, Ky., 1960. description ends 59).

1On 12 Sept. Hays had written Knox, requesting his “recommendation and Influence for the appointment of Collector at New Port” (NNGL: Knox Papers).

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