George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Walker, 1 June 1789

From Benjamin Walker

New York June 1 1789


I flatter myself it will not be deemed improper to mention to your Excellency my having been employed these three years past as one of the Commissioners for adjusting the public Accounts, that the term of my appointment expires at the Eighth of this Month, and that the business is brought into that State as to render a renewal of the office unnecessary.

It was to your Excellencys very flattering recommendation that I owed that appointment1 and a consciousness of having performed my duty, encourages me to solicit a continuance of your protection if in the Arrangement of the Executive Department my services can in any way be made usefull to the public. With the highest respect I have the honor to be Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedient humble Servant

Ben. Walker


Benjamin Walker (1753–1818) was born in England and came to New York at an early age as the employee of a London merchant. During the Revolution he served as a lieutenant in the lst New York Regiment in 1775 and 1776 and as a captain in the 4th New York in 1776. Promoted to major, he was appointed aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Friedrich von Steuben in September 1778 and served as a lieutenant colonel and aide-de-camp to GW from January 1782 to the end of the war. After the war Walker acted as secretary to Gov. George Clinton for a short time and then went into business as a commission merchant and broker in New York City, becoming heavily involved in Baron von Steuben’s debts and grandiose financial schemes. In 1788 he became coadministrator with Alexander Hamilton of Steuben’s involved affairs. In August 1789 Walker was appointed naval officer for the port of New York. He took a year’s leave of absence from his post in September 1790 and spent the winter of 1790–91 in Europe on business for William Duer’s ill-fated Scioto Company (Hamilton to Walker, 10 Sept. 1790, Walker to Hamilton, 28 Dec. 1790, in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 7:30–31, 388–89). Walker held the post of naval officer until 1797 when he moved to Fort Schuyler (now Utica), New York.

1Walker probably is referring to GW’s comment in his address to Congress on resigning his commission, 23 Dec. 1783: “I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge in this place the peculiar Services and distinguished merits of the Gentlemen who have been attached to my person during the war. It was impossible the choice of confidential Officers to compose my family should have been more fortunate. Permit me Sir, to recommend in particular those, who have continued in Service to the present moment, as worthy of the favorable notice & patronage of Congress” (NN: Emmet Collection). See also GW to Henry Knox, 2 June 1784.

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