From John Hurt
Philadelphia 12th April 1794
The enclosed are copies of letters, one of which I desired General Knox to present to you at the time of my resignation:1 from some circumstances, I have been led to suppose it had been omitted; and for fear this should have been the case, I have, for the satisfaction of my own mind, & that I might not stand in a worse light with you than I deserve, enclosed a certificate with them, signed by Doctor Wistar, of the same purport with one in the former letter, signed by Doctor Rush.2
I beg pardon for what may perhaps, appear to you to be an unnecessary trouble. I am Sir, with great respect your most Obedient servant
ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. The cover has a notation that reads, “Favor’d by Mr [John] Page,” who currently represented Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1. Virginia clergyman John Hurt received a chaplain’s commission in the U.S. Army in 1791 (see GW’s second letter to the U.S. Senate, 4 March 1791). According to his letter to Knox of 31 Dec. 1793, which he wrote while at Philadelphia, Hurt had been “afflicted with pain or sickness since the month of July 1791” and was unable to perform his military duties (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). In his letter to Knox of 6 Jan. 1794, also from Philadelphia, Hurt enclosed his commission, “with a declaration—that if for some time past, I have failed in the attendance required of me, it has been owing, not to want of inclination & good wishes, but to bad health & bodily infirmities” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).
2. The enclosed certificate from Philadelphia physician and professor Caspar Wistar, Jr., of 11 April certified that Hurt “is affected with the disease known by the name of Hernia, which renders it necessary for him to avoid violent exertions of every kind, & also the effects of Cold, which, by producing Coughing might be very injurious to him” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). The certificate from Dr. Benjamin Rush has not been identified.