George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Carleton, 12 February 1790

From Samuel Carleton

Salem: Mass: 12th February 1790

May it Please your Highness

It was my great Misfortune, not to be in a Condition to see you when you honourd this our town with a Visit.1

My Situation is, & has been for upwards of Twelve months, Confined to my bed, having lost the use of my Limbs, all which the Honorable B: Goodhue Esqr. can Verify; who I Expect will be Kind Enough to hand this to your Highness.

The purport hereof is to lay my Grievances & present unhappy Circumstances before you—Vizt—

At the time I quited the Army in April 1779, I was Intitled to a years pay as a Supernumery officer, my being confined by Sickness in an Hospital, put it out of my power to Claim or demand it at the proper time, & therefore the Commissr for Setling the Army Accots wrote me that he Could not pay me, but by being Subject to a Depreciation during the time it lay in the paymasters hands & before he returnd it back to the Millitary Chest.

At the time I was ordered to March with the troops & Bagage from this Town to Ticonderoga, to Suport the army under General Montgomery, I paid & Expended on the army, & Transporting the Bagage, the Sum of £150.16, besides Sundry Stores, Such as rum, Suggar, Coffee &c. which were Consumed on our March, & which Cost me £45.3.02d. out of which Colo. Brewer paid me £120—so that the remainder is Still due to me.

when I set out with the army for Ticonderoga I suplyd myself with all necessary Clothing, Implements of War &c., to fit me for the Service, which Cost me £106.1.2, all which were taken by the Enemy at Ticonderoga—all these demands put together would now under my dismal Circumstances, relieve myself, wife and Seven Children.

I have no Connections or Acquaintance with the Gentlemen in Public Service, and therefore hope your Highness will be pleased to take my Situation into Consideration, & order such relief as to your Highness Shall Seem meet.

with these hopes I ventured to address myself to your Highness with all Due Defference to your Exalted Station, Humbly to Implore your Condesention to notice me thus far as to order me payment or So much thereof as may afford me Some Support.

May God long preserve you Highness a Saviour to this Country in as Illustrious a manner as you have been its Deliverer is the prayer, of your Highnesses most, Obedient & most Humble Servant2

Saml Carleton

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

Samuel Carleton (Carlton; 1731–1804) was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 12th Massachusetts Regiment on 6 Nov. 1776. According to Francis Heitman’s Register, he was “deranged” from the army in September 1778 (Heitman, 116). After the war Carleton returned to Salem where he spent the remainder of his life as a semi-invalid.

1GW visited Salem on 28 and 29 Oct. 1789 during his New England tour. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:483, 484–85.

2Lear replied to Carleton on 6 Mar. 1790: “The President of the United States has received your letter of the 12th of February; and in obedience to his command I have to inform you that it is out of the line of his official duty to take any part in the settlement of Accounts—and altho’ he sympathizes with those who still feel the distresses occasioned by the late War; particularly where they were brought on by their exertions in behalf of their Country—and would experience a singular happiness in knowing that their losses were retrieved & sufferings were at an end—yet the impropriety of his interfering in any degree with the claims of Individuals upon the public is too obvious to escape observation, to say nothing of the impractacability of his attending to all the applications which would appear equally meritorious” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

On 17 Mar. 1790 a petition from Carleton was presented in the House of Representatives “Praying relief in consideration of losses or injuries sustained in the service of the United States during the late war.” The House referred the petition to Secretary of War Henry Knox who reported on 18 May. The House ordered the report to “lie on the table” (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 3:333, 415).

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