From John G. Coffin, 30 May 1799
Fort Niagara 30th May 1799.
In March 1797 I made an application to the Secretary of War for a furlough, and as this was not answered—I had occasion to renew it. On the 8th of May 1798 he wrote to Major Rivardi as follows—“Doctor Coffin’s application for a furlough will be attended to, and as soon as a Surgeon or Mate can be had to supply his place while absent, his request may be complied with.” Since this I have heard nothing further on the Subject. My inducements to make this request have been fully stated to the Secretary, they were important, and from the long expectation I have been kept in, they have much increased in number and urgency.
Doctor Davidson of the British Garrison at Fort George, has had the goodness to offer to take charge of the sick here (we have none now) during my absence—should there be any impropriety in accepting his services—I could readily obtain the same assistance from a medical friend at Newark, directly opposite, who is not in public life.
If you Sir will favor me with a reply to this application, by next post, however short, I shall feel myself infinitely obliged.
In the mean time I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient humble Servant
John G. Coffin S. Mate
1st. Regt. of Artillery.
Note—A copy of this letter, is this day transmitted to the
(ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). On a separate sheet H wrote a draft of his reply: "
To Secy of War Doctor Coffin of Detroit has applied to me for a furlough for reasons which he says have been stated to you but which are not mentioned. Let me know if these reasons appear to you sufficient & send me a Copy of the letter that I may judge— Desire Major Rivardi to grant a furlough on condition that an arrangement is made satisfactory to him for the care of the sick in absence. If the furlough is desired for any other ⟨—⟩ than ill health the ⟨—⟩ to be ⟨——————⟩."