George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Putnam, 30 December 1790

From Benjamin Putnam

Savannah Georgia Decr 30th 1790

Most honorable Sir,

The best Apology I am able to offer your Excellency for this Intrusion on your invaluable Moments, is a Belief of its having been the undoubted Intention of our early Congresses to hold in favorable Memory the Merits of those, who in time of Danger voluntarily stept forward in Sacrifices of Fortune & Wealth in the Defence of this Country—On the Principles of these Intentions shoud Your Excellency in your great Condescention adjudge it reasonable to note my constant Services as Surgeon of Hospitals & Regiments in the Continental Army, of the Latter Commd by Colo. Jno. Nixon of Massachusetts, Phillip B. Bradley of Connecticut, & Josiah Parker of Virginia, it would enlargen my Hopes of being bro’t forward on an equal footing with other Candidates at a time when your Excellency shall distribute such honorary Places in this State as, may at any time be created by the hon. the Congress.

I beg leave with great Submission to suggest the Probability of an immediate establishment of an Excise-Officer & a Surgeon of the Seamens Hospital the latter being Professional wou’d claim a bare Preference—the hon[orab]le Genl Jackson & ⟨mutilated⟩ Gun from this Place, the honble Rufus ⟨illegible1 Fisher Ames from Massachusetts & the ho⟨illegible⟩ Col. Josiah Parker from Virginia being present with your Excellency which Gentlemen I have the honor of Acquantance I pray may be recd as a sufficient Apology for not bringing forward a List of Recommendations. I beg leave, ever to be most unfeignedly

Benj. Putnam


Benjamin Putnam (1751–c.1801) was born in Danvers, Massachusetts. He served as a regimental and hospital surgeon in the Continental army during the Revolution (see Regimental Surgeons at New York to GW, 31 July 1776) and settled near Savannah after the war (Essex Institute Historical Collections, description begins Historical Collections of the Essex Institute. 8 vols. Salem, Mass., 1859–66. description ends 84:278). Putnam wrote a similar letter to John Adams on 30 Dec., soliciting his aid in obtaining the appointment (MHi: Adams Papers). He received no appointment from GW.

1The MS is damaged where the seal was broken at this point, obscuring what are almost certainly references to senators James Gunn of Georgia and Rufus King of New York.

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