George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Israel Keith, 18 July 1789

From Israel Keith

Boston July 18th 1789.


I suppose that some of my friends have written to Your Excellency in my behalf respecting the Office of Marshal for the District of Massachusetts—My wish is (in as few words as possible) to assure your Excellency that I should receive the above appointment, or any other of which I may be thought capable, with gratitude.

Applications of this kind I am very sensible must be numerous & burdensome: but they are unavoidable.

I offer for you the common prayer of Millions; that your happiness & renown may encrease. I am Sir Your Excellency’s Most Humble Servant

Israel Keith


Israel Keith (1751–1819) was a 1771 Harvard graduate. He served as Maj. Gen. William Heath’s aide-de-camp in 1776, as a major in Michael Jackson’s regiment in 1780, and from 1780 to 1783 as aide-de-camp to John Hancock. While still serving in the army he resumed the study of law and after the war acted as adjutant general in the Massachusetts militia and as justice of the peace for Suffolk County. Resigning in 1791, Keith moved to Vermont where he founded a successful iron furnace at Pittsford and continued his law practice. He did not receive a federal appointment. Keith’s application was supported by a letter, 8 July 1789, from James Bowdoin to GW characterizing Keith as “a Sensible, honest, judicious man” and by one, 12 July, from William Heath praising Keith as a “man of strict integrity, and good abilities.” Both letters are in DLC:GW.

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