George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Duane, 8 April 1794

From James Duane

New York 8th April 1794


Be pleased to accept my most thankful acknowledgments for the honor done me by your favor of the twenty third of March, the concern you are pleased to express for my ill State of health, and your benevolent wishes for my recovery—They are fresh proofs of the Attention with which you have always had the goodness to distinguish me, and which I shall not cease to remember with the utmost gratitude and sensibility.1

I now sir after a conference with Judge Willson (with respect to the manner most proper) beg leave to present to you an Act of Surrender of my office as Judge of this district.2 It would have been transmitted at an earlier day, had not the state of the business of the Court prevented it.3

I flatter myself that if I regain my health, I shall soon be placed in a situation to extend my usefulness as a Citizen, and steadfast friend, to the general Government, on which the dignity, safety and prosperity of our Country evidently depends.4

Permit me to assure you that amongst a People so eminently benefited by your military atcheivements, and civil administration, there is no man who prays with more sincerity, and ardor, that you may uninteruptedly, enjoy every honor and every blessing which an indulgent heaven can bestow, than him who is—with the utmost attachment respect and esteem Sir your most obliged most faithful and most obedient Servant

Jas Duane

LS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; ADfS, NHi: Duane Papers.

1Duane had mentioned his ill health in a letter to GW of 10 March.

2The enclosed signed resignation of this date, which was written at New York, reads: “To all People who shall see these presents I James Duane Judge of the United States of America for the New York district send greeting: Whereas the President of the said United States, by Letters patent bearing date the twenty Sixth day of September in the year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and eighty nine sealed with the seal of the United States, did by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint me Judge of the district court, in and for the New York district, authorizing me to execute and fulfil the duties of that office, and to hold the same with the powers, previledges, And emoluments thereunto appertaining during my good behaviour, as fully appears by the said Letters patent: Now know ye that I do by these presents freely, voluntarily, and absolutely, resign, relinquish, and surrender the said office of Judge of the New York district with all the powers, previledges, and emoluments, to the same appertaining.” The resignation was “Sealed and delivered in the presence” of his son, James Chatham Duane, and John M. Bowers, and was attested by James Wilson, an associate justice of the Supreme Court (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

3Duane struck out the remainder of this paragraph on the draft: “We thought it necessary that the original Commission should be retained as evidence of the Authority by which I have hitherto officicated: Nor did I wish if it could be dispensed with unnecesserily to part with so flattering a testimonial of your Attention to me. Least however a different opinion might prevail To prevent all difficulty I have delivered to the Judge the Commission itself to be ⟨illegible⟩ed or.”

4At this point the draft has “will be enlarged.”

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