George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Abraham Lott, 7 August 1789

From Abraham Lott

New York August 7th 1789


Fully convinced that you must be almost overburthened with applications for offices, it is with the greatest reluctance I have prevailed upon myself to become a supplicant also.

The losses I have sustained in support of our glorious revolution must, in some measure, be known to your Excellency—The sufferings I have endured (whether Just or unjust, is not for me to determine) since the War, must also have reached your ears—It cannot therefore be a matter of surprise that I inform you Sir, that, by means of those two causes, I am at present so much straitned in my circumstances, that it is with the greatest difficulty I can support my family; But have the pleasing satisfaction to add that I am not without hopes of seeing better days, as I can now attend to my private affairs. It will however take some time before I can make my resources productive; and as my Son Andrew and family are altogether dependent on, and must be supported by me; and it being, as yet, out of my power to put him in a way to provide for himself & Family; It is with the greatest deference I mention that it will lay me under the deepest and most lasting obligation, if your Excellency will be pleased to confer some office on him, by means of which he may procure a Subsistence, until it shall be in my power more effectually to provide for, & assist him.

Humbly imploring pardon for this intrusion, take the liberty to subscribe myself Your Excellency’s Most obedient, and devoted humble Servant

Abrm Lott


Abraham Lott (1726–1794) fled from New York City after the British occupation in 1776 and settled at Beverwyck near Morristown, New Jersey. His house served briefly as GW’s headquarters in 1777. He returned to New York City after the war owing large sums of money to New York state and from 1786 to 1789 was incarcerated in debtor’s prison. In the summer of 1789 Lott was heavily involved in litigation over his debts. See the New York Daily Advertiser, 4, 7, 11 July 1789, and Lott’s memorial, 1 Jan. 1788, to the New York legislature in Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York, at Their Eleventh Session, description begins Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York, At their Eleventh Session, begun and holden at Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County, the ninth Day of January, 1788. Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1788. description ends 71–72. Lott received no federal appointment, and on 15 July 1793 he again wrote GW, stating that he had applied to Alexander Hamilton for the post of inspector for New York without success, and “Now take the liberty, by reason of Doctor [John] Cochran’s dangerous indisposition, to direct my application immediately to you, and to Pray, in case of his death, to be appointed his successor in office” (DLC:GW). Although Cochran remained infirm, he outlived Lott, retaining his office of commissioner of loans for New York until 1795.

Index Entries