George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathaniel Sackett, 23 May 1789

From Nathaniel Sackett

Fishkill [N.Y.] May 23d, 1789.


Be pleased to accept my cordial, and respectful Congratulation on your arrival at the Head of the united States, an Event that gives Joy and gladness to the Hearts of all True Americans.

Esteeming you as the Father of our Country, I do take the Liberty to request, that when you come to make out your appointments, that you will think on me, and be favourably Pleased to give me one that I may be equal to.

To enable you the better to determine on the propriety of my Supplication, I now cover with this a Short Detail of some of the occurrences that happen’d to me in the Time of war and Since.1

You will be pleased to acknowledge the receipt of this Letter, by the bearer who will chearfully trans⟨mit⟩ your favour to me. I have the Honor to be Sir Your most humb⟨le and⟩ most obedient Servant

Nathl Sackett

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 78.

Nathaniel Sackett of Fishkill served in the New York provincial congress and was a member of the New York Committee for Detecting Conspiracies when he had several confidential conversations with GW in early 1777 concerning the setting up of an intelligence system in New York. In May 1782 GW appointed him sutler for the army. In August 1785 Sackett approached Congress with a plan for erecting a new state in the west on lands bounded by the Ohio, Scioto, and Muskingum rivers and Lake Erie, but nothing came of the scheme.

1Accompanying Sackett’s letter is a lengthy and sometimes incoherent account of his family and his own military activities during the Revolution. After the war, Sackett recounted, “having given the officers and men Large creadit the army were dismissed without receiving their pay, for the want of which, they could not satisfy my demands on them, and I lost all my Profits, and a part of my stock. . . . I always placed full Faith in Congress, and Public Honesty, and after the confirmation of the articles of Confederation and perpetual union by the Seperate acts of the Legislatures of the different States no man whatever could presume to dout, for by the Twelveth article the whole united states, and the Public Faith are Solomnly Pledged for the Redemption of the Continental money, under this Impresion I kept my Continental money fully expecting that our first object after the settlement of Peace would be to pay off our domestick debt in order to enable our industerous Citizens to proceed to business which in the opinion of some Judicious men appeared easy by paying our domestick debts in old Continental money, (the brightest gold that ever made its appearance in America for with it and the Blood of many of our virtuous Citizens we Purchased our Liberties) and then by Rapid Taxes call it in, and destroy it untill it was reduced to a sum only sufficient for a circulating medium, in this way the farmer, merchant and mechanick would have been possessed of it, and it would have been his interest to keep it up to its real value, but the enemies of the American Congr⟨ess⟩ become Rich through the means of this money that they hated, because it supported a c⟨ause⟩ they despised and as fast as they received in at one hand they put out with the other, and ⟨illegible⟩ virtuous Citizens must be crush’d, and our debts increased by a new magical Paper, wh⟨ich⟩ opened a Large field of profit to the broker and the Land Jober, for it has been Sold by the poss⟨illegible⟩ through necessity as Low as Two and six pence on the pound thus the honest Creditor has been requited for waiting a long time for his money” (DNA:PCC, item 78).

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