George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Michael Payne, 2 March 1790

From Michael Payne

Edenton [N.C.] March 2d 1790


Having ever since the year 1777 been Naval officer of Port Roanoke and being the oldest officer by many years standing in the Custom House department, in which I trust I have executed my duty in a manner irreproachable, but being by the late arrangement (in which it has been Judged expedient to abolish the Naval office) thrown out of an employment in which I in a great measure depended for the support of my family, I hope sir you will, from the necessity which compells me. excuse the liberty I take of troubling you with this address, to sollicit you to take the hardness of my situation into your consideration. fully confiding, that, from your Excellencys well known humanity and inviolable regard to Justice, you will please to grant me such Relief as the Necessity of my case requires, And as it is most probable there will be an Inspector of the Duties, appointed for the District, I entreat your Excellency to pardon the liberty I take of Requesting the appointment to that office or any other you may be pleased to bestow on me. should your Excellency entertain any doubts of my character or my conduct in my former office, I beg leave to refer your Excellency to the Representatives of this State. I have the Honor to be most Respectfully your Excellencys most Obedient Hume Servt

Michl Payne


Michael Payne served as an officer in the 2d North Carolina Regiment during the Revolution. He was appointed naval officer at Edenton in 1777 and in addition held several local offices. Payne did not immediately receive an appointment under the new government, but when John Skinner, the marshal for North Carolina, declined reappointment in late 1794, he recommended Payne in a letter of 9 July, unaddressed but probably sent to GW, as a “Gentleman of this Town Who has for some time acted under me as a Deputy with whose Conduct I have found no fault. . . . I think Colo. Payne fully equal to the Task & wou’d transact the business of the Office as well as any person with whom I have an acquaintance” (DLC:GW). GW appointed Payne to the office on 10 December. Payne’s letter of acceptance, 19 Aug. 1794, is in DLC:GW.

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