George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Read, 23 December 1789

From James Read

Wilmington North Carolina Decr 23rd 1789


The Politeness with which you were always pleased to treat me in the Army, when I had occasion to wait on you, imboldens me to take the liberty of addressing you at present, and soliciting a continuance in the Office that I now hold, which is Collector of Port Brunswick; the General Assembly of this State appointed me to the Office in eightyfour (the first time that Duties were laid since the Revolution) and to continue Collector of the Continental Impost when the rest of the State adopted the measure, recommended by the late ⟨mutilated⟩ I have continued in the Office since that time, and beg ⟨mutilated⟩ to refer to a Certificate from the Treasurer (enclosed) ⟨mutilated⟩ the punctuality of my Settlements.

I served as an Officer in the Army from the Year seventyfive to the end of the War, and after the Defeat of General Gates, when there were no Continental Troops belonging to this State, I offered my Service to the Assembly who gave me the Command of a Regiment of Militia, with which I joined General Greene, and had the Honor of presenting that worthy and respectable Officer’s aprobation of my Conduct, to the General Assembly, on my return from the Campaign. I hope Sir you will not think that I mean any thing more by this than that I have been a faithful Servant to the Public. I am Sir with the greatest Respect your obedient and very humble Servant

James Read


James Read (d. 1803) of Wilmington, N.C., rose from ensign to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the North Carolina militia during the American Revolution. GW appointed him collector of the customs for the port of Wilmington in February 1790 and in March 1791 expanded his duties to include the inspectorship of North Carolina survey no. 1. He held the collectorship until he was removed by John Adams in the fall of 1797, apparently under some suspicion of dereliction of duty (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 , 2:57; John Steele to James Read, 2 July 1798, in Wagstaff, Steele Papers, description begins H. M. Wagstaff, ed. The Papers of John Steele. 2 vols. Raleigh, N.C., 1924. description ends 1:157–58).

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