George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Sherburne, 18 January 1790

From Henry Sherburne

Newport [R.I.] January 18th 1790


As the Legislature of this State did by a Resolution that passed Yesterday, direct that a Convention Should be called on the first Monday of March next, to determine on the adopting, or rejecting, the General Government of the United States;1 the former of which those of us that have been Uniformly in favour of the Constitution (nay many of the opposers) have not a doubt, but such decision will be made by the Convention that will be pleasing to every well wisher to good Government.

Having devoted much the greater part of my Life to the public Service, either in the Military, or Civil Line, and Suffered the Loss of my House & buildings, which lay in this Town by the British Troops, whereby an Aged Mother and Two Maiden Sisters were deprived of Shelter, and otherways injured by my being opposed to the Measures which this State has pursued for several Years past; are inducements with me on presuming to address your Excellency, and requesting, that when it Shall be proper to appoint the Revenue Officers for this State, that I may be Nominated for the Office of Collector for the Port of Newport, Should I be so happy as to meet Your Excellencys Patronage, in this request & be appointed, you may rest assured, that nothing on my part Shall be wanting to fulfil with punctuality the Dutys of the Office.2 I am, with the greatest Respect, Your Excellencys, most obedt Servt

Henry Sherburne


Henry Sherburne (1747-1824) retired from the Continental army as a colonel in 1781 and served as one of Newport’s deputies to the general assembly in 1782.

2Sherburne also wrote to Henry Knox, asking to be recommended to GW for the post. On 14 June 1790 GW nominated Rhode Island’s Continental loan commissioner, William Ellery (1727–1820), collector at Newport. Sherburne served as general treasurer of Rhode Island from 1792 to 1808. He received no federal appointment (Sherburne to Knox, 18 Jan. 1790, NNGL; 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 1:51).

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