George Washington Papers

To George Washington from David Cook, 30 June 1789

From David Cook

New York 30th June 1789.

The Memorial of David Cook late Captain of Artillery in the Armies of the United States. Most respectfully sheweth

That your Memorialist was early actuated from Principle of Patriotism to take an active part in the defence of these States, being determin’d to support them at the risk of life, and domestic ease, in which service he continued until the dangerours wound he received at the Memorable Action of Monmouth, obliged him to retire from a service he had the greatest predilection for.

Your Memorialist having made application to the Legislature of Massachusetts for half pay agreeable to the recommendation of Congress, and is sorry to add, without effect, he cannot forbear relating his distressing situation to the Illustrious General, whose orders was his greatest honor to obey.1

Your Memorialist being deprived of any resource, obliges him (however painful) to Make application to your Excellency, with the assurance that his small abilities, will be exerted to meet the approbation of the great chief whose virtues are proclaimed by all.2 And your Memorialist as in duty bound will ever pray.

David Cook


David Cook (c.1751–1823) of Massachusetts was commissioned as a first lieutenant in Henry Knox’s regiment of Continental artillery in December 1775 and moved, with the same rank, to the 3d Continental Artillery in February 1777. He was made a captain in May 1778 and held that rank to the end of the war.

1For the congressional resolution of 22 Mar. 1783, commuting half-pay for life for officers of the Continental army to five years’ full pay, see 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 24:207–9. See also Anna Welsh to GW, 12 Nov. 1788, n.3.

2Cook received compensation in 1791 when Congress passed “An Act for the relief of David Cook and Thomas Campbell,” providing “that David Cook, a captain of artillery in the late war, and who, being shot through the body at the battle of Monmouth, is rendered incapable to obtain his livelihood by labor, shall be placed on the pension list of the United States, and shall be entitled to one-third of his monthly pay, as a captain of artillery: Provided, That he return into the treasury-office, a sum equivalent to two-thirds of his commutation of half pay, being the proportion of his pension to the amount of his commutation” (6 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 6 [16 Dec. 1791]). See also DHFC, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends 3:305, 306, 333, 342, 713, 729, 745.

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