George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Oliver Pollock, 11 May 1788

From Oliver Pollock

Philad[elphi]a 11th May 1788.


The late Conflagration of the Town of New Orleans (which was the place of my residence during the Grand Contest with Great Britain) I hope will in some measure appoligize for troubling your Excellency’s repose on this Occasion.

I have bussiness of importance to settle in that Country and have now to request from you a letter of introduction to His Excellency Governor Stephen Miro Commander in Chief of Louissiana to wch place I purpose to set out by the first favourable Opportunity.1 I have the honor to be with the most profound respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient & Most Humble Servant

Or Pollock

ALS, DLC:GW. The letter was forwarded to GW from Richmond by Robert Morris on 26 May.

Oliver Pollock (1737–1823) left Ireland and settled in New Orleans before the American Revolution. During the war he served as a commercial agent in Louisiana for both the United States and Virginia. For the continuing disputes over Pollock’s accounts, see Beauregard & Bourgeois to GW, 14 Oct. 1789, and the notes of that document.

1Esteban Rodríguez Miró y Sabater (1744–1795) was made acting governor of Spanish Louisiana in 1782, governor in 1785, and intendant as well on 10 May 1788. He pushed forward on the reconstruction of New Orleans after the devastating fire of 1788, until he left office at the end of 1791. GW responded to Pollock from Mount Vernon on 8 June: “Sir, I received your letter of the 11th of May at the moment when I was setting out for a pre-concerted journey to meet the Directors of the Potomack Company on business of importance at the Shenandoah falls—that circumstance has necessitated me to defer giving an acknowledgment until this time.

“It would be with particular pleasure that I should write to his Excellency the Governor of Louisiana on your behalf if I did not think that there would be a glaring impropriety in my assuming that liberty with that representative of the Spanish King—especially as I have never had the honor of a personal acquaintance or any corrispondence with the Governor—I do not feel myself authorised to take a greater latitude of freedom in this respect than any other unknown private citizen these motives of delicacy on my part I hope will be considered in the same point ⟨of light, and of the same weight by you as they have appeared to me. With sentiments of consideration & respect I am Sir Your Most Obed. & Most Hble Servant Go. Washington⟩” (ALS, in private hands; LB DLC:GW). The portion in angle brackets is taken from the letter-book copy.

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