George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Patrick Henry, 4 April 1785

From Patrick Henry

Richmond [Va.] April 4th 1785

Dear Sir.

I beg Leave to introduce to you the Bearer Mr Arnold Henry Dohrman. He is of Lisbon, but has spent a year or two in America, gratifying himself with the Sight of a Country to whose Interests he devoted himself & his Fortune in the very early Periods of the late War. Hundreds (I believe I am within bounds) of our captive Countrymen, bereft of Clothes Victuals Friends & Money, found all these in his Bounty; And this at a Time & place when the Fury & Rage of our Enemys against what they called Rebellion carry’d them to Acts of Cruelty & great Inhumanity. Congress sensible of his Merit, several years ago made him Agent for the united States in Portugal, & I beleive would have gladly given him more substantial proofs of the public Gratitude had oppertunity presented. Our Senate gave him their Thanks & I beleive the Delegates would have done so, had it not been that he arrived here just at the close of a tedious Session, in very bad Weather when every Member was anxious to get away & Business of great Extent & Magnitude was crouded into the Compass of one or two Days Discussion.

Mr Dohrman has liberal, extensive, & usefull Intentions respecting America. He has a good Deal of Business with Congress & intends to spend some time at New York. I feel myself much interested in the Reception he meets with there, sensible as I am of his great Merit & amiable Disposition. And I cannot but hope, our Country may be availed of his unbounded Zeal for her Service, joined to very respectable Abilitys, & Experience in European Business & Politics.1

In giving this worthy person your Countenance you will much oblige him who is with the sincerest Attachment Dear sir your most obedient Servant

P. Henry


1Arnold Henry Dohrman (1749–1813), a Portuguese merchant, came to the aid of American seamen captured during the war by the British and put ashore in Portugal. In 1780 he became the agent in Portugal for the United States. Dohrman at this time was in the United States to collect from Congress what was owed him. When he stopped at Mount Vernon on 9 July 1785, GW gave him supporting letters to four members of Congress. Congress settled with Dohrman in 1787, and twenty-two years later Dohrman and his family came to Ohio to live. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:163.

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