George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Remsen, 17 October 1779

To Henry Remsen

Hd Qrs West point 17 Octbr 1779


I have been favored with your letter of the 10th inst. with its inclosure from Governor Livingston.1

It would give me a great deal of pleasure to comply with your application, could it be done without breaking in upon that line of conduct, which I have uniformly observed in like cases. For a variety of reasons I have refered all requests of this kind made to me to the Goverment of which the applicants were subjects. You will readily see the propriety of persevering in the same line of conduct.

I should hope that a letter to some of your former connections in the City and the precautions of your Mother may be able to accomplish what you have so greatly at heart. I shall very cheerfully give every assistance in this case which may be necessary.2

I am much obliged to you for the intelligence contained in the Governors letter. It is of a very interesting nature at this crisis. I am Sir Your most obt ser.

Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Henry Remsen (1736–1792), owner of a New York mercantile firm before the war, had served as a colonel in the New York militia in 1775, and in 1776 he served as chairman of the city committee of New York. After the British occupation of New York in 1776, Remsen took his family to live in Morristown, New Jersey. He returned to New York after the war, but as he explained to GW in an application for office, “On the return of peace I found my situation so embarrassed by the calamitous events of the War, as rendered me incapable to recommence mercantile pursuits” (Remsen to GW, 11 May 1789, Papers, Presidential Series, description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series. 17 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1987—. description ends 2:271–74).

1Remsen’s letter to GW of 10 Oct. has not been found. The enclosure from New Jersey governor William Livingston has not been identified.

2On 27 Oct., Livingston wrote to Remsen enclosing him a pass for his mother to come into New Jersey (see Prince, Livingston Papers, description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends 3:182).

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