George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Clement Biddle, 1 August 1790

From Clement Biddle

Philada Aug: 1. 1790.


I am informed by the Friends of Mr Adam Gilchrist1 of his Application to your Excellency for the Appointment of Commissioner of Loans for the State of South Carolina and Conceive it my Duty to bear testimony to you of his long & faithful Services in my Department during the late War.

This Gentleman was a Lieutenant in Colo. Hartleys Regiment and on the reduction of that Regiment accepted of an Appointment under me and Acted as my Assistant until I left the Army—He was not only my principal Cashier & Accountant but was Employed frequently On difficult Cases & was made prisoner while on service in procuring & forwarding forage for the Army at the time of Colo. Bailors Regiment being ⟨surprized⟩ & remained a Prisoner for some time until Exchanged2—Since the War he married a Daughter of Dr Budd One of the Members of Assembly for Charleston & has been settled there in Trade for some Years—He is a perfect Accountant and I should not have presumed to say this much in his favour but from the high opinion I have of his Integrity & Industry And his services in my Department will apologize for the liberty I have taken in his behalf. I have the honour to be With the greatest Respect Your Mo. Obeidt & Very hume serv.


LB, PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book.

1Adam Gilchrist (1760–1816) settled in Charleston, S.C., after the Revolutionary War, where he became a successful merchant, land speculator, and locally prominent civic leader. In June 1784 he married Hester Budd, youngest daughter of Dr. John Shivers Budd (1732–1791) who was a medical partner of the historian David Ramsay and a member of the South Carolina general assembly from 1783 to 1790. Gilchrist and his brother Robert of New York invested heavily in the South Carolina state debt. GW appointed Charlestonian John NeufVille, not Gilchrist, to the office of commissioner of loans for the state of South Carolina on 6 Aug. 1790. Gilchrist served as director of the Charleston branch of the United States Bank from 1792 to 1812 and in the lower house of the state legislature (Bio. Dir. of the S.C. House of Representatives, description begins Joan Schreiner Reynolds Faunt et al., eds. Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives. 4 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1974–84. description ends 4:232; Bailey, Bio. Dir. of the S.C. Senate, description begins N. Louise Bailey et al., eds. Biographical Directory of the South Carolina Senate, 1776–1985. 3 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1986. description ends 2:1332; Rogers and Chesnutt, Laurens Papers description begins Philip M. Hamer et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Laurens. 16 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003. description ends , 10:434, n.3; S.C. Historical Mag., 38 [1937], 144).

2British troops under Gen. Charles Grey surprised Col. George Baylor’s 3d Continental Dragoons sleeping in the house and barns of Cornelius Haring of Old Tappan, N.J., early in the morning of 28 Sept. 1778. Only a dozen of the cavalrymen escaped; 39 were taken prisoner, and 67 Americans were killed and wounded. Baylor later died of his wounds, and Gilchrist was still a prisoner of the British on Long Island in February 1779 (GW to Henry Laurens, 29 Sept. 1778, LS, DNA:PCC, item 152; GW to Charles Scott, 29 Sept. 1778, Df, DLC:GW; American Prisoners of War to the Continental Congress, 17 Feb. 1779, DNA:PCC, item 41).

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