George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Forman, 21 January 1790

To David Forman

New York January 21st 1790.


Acknowledging the receipt of your letters of the 3rd and 18th instant,1 I desire to assure you that I have not been inattentive to your communications.

In order that the most prudential steps might be taken on the subject, to which your letters related, they were laid before the Chief-Justice of the United States,2 who thought that a reference of them to the Executive of this State was the most adviseable measure—and the accompanying letter, from Governor Clinton to you,3 expresses his opinions of what ought to be done. The Governor thinks that the papers which were transmitted by you, will be necessary in the further prosecution of this matter, and he has therefore retained them.4

This mark of your attention to public justice receives my best thanks. I am, Sir, Your most obedient Servant.


Df, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1Neither of these letters has been found, but see notes to letter-not-found entry for Forman to GW, 18 Jan. 1790.

2On 8 and 20 Jan. 1790 GW’s secretaries forwarded Forman’s letters and enclosures of 3 and 18 Jan. to John Jay for his opinion (see David Humphreys to Jay, 8 Jan., and Forman to GW, 18 Jan. [letter-not-found entry], n.1).

3George Clinton’s letter to Forman has not been located.

4Forman replied from Freehold, N.J., on 4 Feb.: “I had the Honour to receive Your Exclys letter of the 21st Ultimo, yesterday evening, Accompanyed by one from Govr Clinton. As your Excly has determined by the Advice of your Chief Justice that the business falls under the Notice of the Executive of New York, I shall follow such directions as I may receive from the Governor.

“Joh[n]ston was this Morning Committed agreeably to his wishes; I have written to the Govr, inclosed to him Copies of the Mittimuss both of Johnston and Farnham, allso lists of the Certificates that are lodged in the Hands of the Magestrates. Your Exclys polite Notice of my attention, to what as a Citizen was only my duty, I shall ever remember with gratitude” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

Index Entries