George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lydia Watkins, 5 May 1789

From Lydia Watkins

New York May 5th 1789. Broad Way No. 10


permit me among the multitude who rejoice at your appointment, to Congratulate you as president of the United States of America, and to assure your Excellency that I enjoy an heartfelt Satisfaction at any event tending to promote your happiness or exaltation. May I hope you have some recollection of one who had the honor of being known to you some years back at Paramus New Jersey? I have indeed no claim to your particular attention—but presume on your distinguished humanity, and benevolence to distress. The late American war has in its consequences proved ruinous to My family, darkened My prospects of providing for my fatherless Children, and Marked Me the Child of Misfortune. My Second Son Charles aged twenty one years, a youth of Spirit, Sobriety and honesty, writes a legible hand, and good accountant qualified for a Clerk in an office—or in the Military line being acquainted with Tacticks. I am destitute of the requisite to push him forward in life, and humbly request that in the arraignment of appointments your Excellency would cast a thought on him, which would relieve my anxious breast, and confer a lasting obligation on a Lad of good morals and Character who looks up to you. I should be at a loss how to Apologize for my addresssing you on this Occasion—were I not convinced of your great Sensibility and inclination to do good. for this purpose may your valuable life be long preserved, and the choistest Gifts of heaven be your reward, prays your Excellencys petitioner and Most Obedient respectful Humble Servant1

Lydia Watkins


1On 31 May GW replied to Mrs. Watkins: “You will have the goodness to impute the delay of acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 15th inst., to the multiplicity of business in which I have been engaged, and not to the want of a proper consideration for yourself.

“I must beg you to accept my best thanks for your good wishes and kind gratulations, and at the same time to beleive that I do not act a singular part with respect to you, when I decline giving any decisive answer to the application in behalf of your Son, for I assure you that I have kept myself totally free from every engagement of this nature, and shall continue to do so ’till offices are created by Law, when I shall endeavor to nominate those persons to fill them who, upon every consideration, are the best entitled to do it” (DLC:GW).

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