George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tadeusz Kościuszko, 8 October 1797

From Tadeusz Kościuszko

Elisabeth Towne [N.J.] 8 October [1797]


I return You my warmest thanks for the Honour You have done me 1—If the situation of my health would admit my travelling so far, I would immediatly pay you my Respects and my personal Homage; it was my first intention, and I hope I shall at last accomplish it.

Your High Character, Reputation and the Goodness of Your Heart, may give me the liberty to mention a circumstance concerning me and is this—From the United States, I have not recived neither the procent for Fourteen Years nor the Sum due to me; formely I was independent, but now my only resource is in the Justice of Congress; having lost my Certificate and wyth my Country lost my All—I must Request Sir, You will be so kind to mention my situation to that August Body and entreat, that I may be paid my Just demand; without the trouble of making other Application 2—With Profound Respect I have the Honour to be Sir your most Humble and Obedient Servant


ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection.

2GW replied from Mount Vernon on 15 Oct.: “Your favour—dated Elizabeth Town October—has been duly received. I am sorry that the state of your health should deprive me of the pleasure of your company at this place—and I regret still more that the pain you feel from the wounds you have received—though glorious for your reputation—is the occasion of it.

“Whatever I can do as a private Citizen (and in no other capacity I can now act) consistently with the plan I have laid down for my future government, you may freely command. You will find however, contrary as it may be to your expectation or wishes, that all pecuniary matters must flow from the Legislature, and in a form which cannot be dispensed with. I may add I am sure, that your claim upon the justice & feelings of this country will meet with no delay; Nor do I suppose that the loss of your certificate will be any impediment. Your rank and services in the American Army are too well known to require that testimony of your claim, and the Books of the Treasury will shew that you have received nothing in discharge of it, or if any part, to what amount. With the highest esteem, regard and respect, I am Dear Sir Your Most Obedt Hble Servt Go: Washington” (ALS, Czartoryski Library, Cracow; letterpress copy, NN: Washington Papers).

Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr., reported to Congress in December 1797 that, although Kościuszko claimed that no payment of principal or interest had been made to him, it was not presently in the power of the Treasury

“to take into consideration the circumstances which have prevented General Kosciusko from receiving payment of the principal sum due to him” (ASP, Claims, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 207–8). In 1798 Congress passed a private statute authorizing the payment of interest, but not principal, to Kosciuszko (6 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 32 [20 Jan. 1788]).

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