George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Rufus Putnam, 15 July 1789

From Rufus Putnam

New york July 15th 1789


It is now almost two years Sence the object which I have ben So long in pursuit of has ben obtaind I mean the purchase of lands between the ohio and Lake Erie, and it is eighteen months Sence I led the first Settlers into that quarter.1 I am now on my way to Massachusetts in order to dispose of my property there, and remove my family to Muskingum.

By the death of General Varnum, there is a vacancy of one of the Judges in the Teritory; and I have to request that if consistent with the public good I may recive an appointment to that office.2

it may be an objection with Some that I never Studied law as a Science; but when it is considered that the right of property in that country is very Simple, that the business at present is more of a Legislative than of an executive kind, and that during my day the number of Great Law qustions if any, will be very few, perhaps the objection will bear little weight: however I Shall rest perfectly Satisfied in your decision3—but Should it be against Such appointment I have one more request to make, which is the office of Surveyor for the United States—Sence the peace took place untill I Set out for Muskingum as before Stated I had the office of Surveyor in Massachusetts in respect to their land in the Province of Main and in what maner I executed that business for Several years, I beg leve to refer your Exceleny (if you please to enquire) to Mr Strong, Mr Dalton and other Gentalmen now in Congress from that state.

I have only to add my earnest wish for your better health, that I leave town to morrow for Rutland in Massachusetts, and expect to be in Town again in a few weeks: that the first mentioned appointment would be my choise, but either of them will be recived with gratitude by your Excellencys most obedient humble Servant

Rufus Putnam


3In September 1789 the vacant appointment went to George Turner, but in March 1790 GW named Putnam to a judgeship in the Northwest Territory.

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