George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Ezekiel Forman, 9 April 1789

From Ezekiel Forman

Auburn Pennsylvania 9th April 1789


Altho’ my time during the late War was much employed in the business of it, I have no confidence that your Excellency will recollect me, from my signature, and this is no time to urge upon any subject more than becomes absolutely necessary: for this, and other reasons, I must beg to refer your Excellency to others, for information respecting my character, and such requisites as you may be pleased to inform your self about, in consequence of my present application.1 Presuming the establishment of a Court of Law, under our Federal Government, must of necessity take effect, and expecting such establishment will require a Sheriff, or some Officer to act in that capacity: my present intention in giving your Excellency the trouble of this letter is, to solicit the favor of being appointed to that Office, under what-ever title or description it may assume. This favor I should have solicited in person, but from an apprehension and fear, that it might for a few moments have called your Excellencies attention from more important matters, which I wish not to interrupt.

If your Excellency will be pleased to keep me in mind, respecting this appointment, it will lay me under very great obligations; and if you shall judge this my request consistant with the public interest, which I am sure will govern all your determinations, upon this, and similar applications, I will hope for your Excellencies favourable decision. I have the Honor to be, with the greatest defference and respect, your Excellency’s most obedient, And most Humble Servant,

Ezekl Forman


During the Revolution Ezekiel Forman (1736–1795) served as paymaster of militia for the Eastern Shore of Maryland and a member of the Maryland council of safety. In November 1779 he was elected a commissioner of the Board of Treasury, from which he resigned in May 1781 after charges were brought against the board concerning its methods of conducting business (JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 20:458, 508, 509–10).

1On 18 July Elias Boudinot wrote to GW that Forman “was bred a Merchant but for 20 Years past has led the Life of an industrious active Farmer. His Knowledge & great decision in Business, added to his gentlemanly Behaviour, rendered him an able Sheriff in Maryland for some Years, before the late War, and I have the utmost Confidence, that he will fill the Office of Marshal of Pennsylvania with Integrity & Reputation, if it should be thought proper to favor him with it” (DLC:GW). Forman again wrote to GW, on 23 July, saying “in consequence of a letter I have received from New York, intimating to me, that I had not in my letter to your Excellency . . . said in what State I resided, or for what State I wished the appointment of Marshal . . . I formerly resided in Maryland . . . in 1779 I was called from that State to fill a seat at the Board of Treasury . . . since then I have resided in the City and neighbourhood of Philada in Pennsylvania, for which State I wish the appointment of Marshal” (DLC:GW).

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