George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Taylor Gilman, 12 September 1789

From John Taylor Gilman

Exeter New Hampshire Septr 12th 1789.


On the 12th Ulto I received a Letter from Mr Secretary Lear, wrote by your Excellency’s direction in answer to one from me of same date—By that Letter I was informed that it was Expected Mr Kean and General Irvine would be in New York in Three weeks and should have Concluded to Stay until their Arrival had not the State of my Health been Such as that I was advised by my Physician and others to make a Journey to the Northward.

The State of my Health is such that I cannot well return to New York at this time, or if I were there should not be able to pay that attention to the business which it’s Importance requires.

I have been almost the whole of my time for Thirteen Years past Employed in public Service: when I Accepted of the Appointment as One of the Board of Commissioners of which I am now a Member, I resigned the Office of Treasurer of the State of New Hampshire, which Office I had held almost Six Years.

I am in Hope that I shall be able to return to New York in few Weeks, but this must depend on my Health, no other Consideration would detain me here a day.

I could wish to hold my Appointment as One of the Board of Commissioners, if I may without Injury to the public service, but not otherwise.

If the other Commissioners are waiting for me, or any other Circumstances in your Excellency’s Judgment should make it Necessary that another person should be now Appointed in my place, be pleased Sir to Consider this as my Resignation of the Appointment as One of the Board for Settling Accounts between the United States and Individual States. I have the Honor to be With the Highest Respect Your most Obedient and most Humble Servant1

John Taylor Gilman

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 78.

For background to this letter, see Gilman to GW, 12 Aug. 1789, n.1.

1On 28 Sept. GW wrote Gilman: “I am sorry to learn, from your letter of the 12th instant, that the state of your health is such as will, in all probability, prevent your attendance on the business of your commission.

“The ordinance of the late Congress instituting the Board of which you are a member, made it necessary for all the Commissioners to be present when their business commenced—and likewise required the attendance of the whole when any final adjustment took place. As the business has already commenced agreeably to the ordinance, Genl Irvine informs me that it is progressing under his inspection, and that the presence of the whole Board will not be absolutely necessary ’till some final settlement ⟨of⟩ accounts is about to take place. I shall therefore de⟨lay⟩ making any new appointment until circumstances may render it necessary, in hopes that you will yet so far reco⟨ver⟩ your health as to be able to attend the duties of your office in time; for I should be very unwilling that a temporary illness should deprive a man of his office unless the public good rendered a new appointment absolutely necessary.

“Mr Kean has not yet arrived, but by a letter which I received from him yesterday he may be daily expected” (Df, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

By mid-December Gilman had still not arrived in New York, although the other two commissioners were in the city and ready to begin their work. At GW’s request Tobias Lear wrote Gilman on 14 Dec. that his presence could no longer be delayed. “The two Commissioners now in New York, for settling the Accounts between the United States and individual States, having informed the President of the United States that the business of their commission is now retarded, and will very shortly be at a stand without the presense of the other Commissioner; I am therefore directed by the President of the United States to give you notice thereof, and to inform you that your attendance cannot be well delayed beyond the first, and certainly not beyond the middle of January, without injury to the public. Should the state of your health be such as to prevent your being in New York by the middle of January, the President wishes you to give him immediate information thereof, that another person may be appointed and the public business not be unnecessarily retarded” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Gilman wrote GW on 28 Dec. that he had received Lear’s letter and “It is with the greatest regret I Consider that my return to New York has been so long prevented, and public business delayed on my account, although it is my misfortune not my fault. I was in full Expectation of being able to sett out for New York the last of October, but about the 25th of that Month I took Cold and was Confined to my Chamber for several Weeks. I am now so well as that I purpose to sett out on Monday Next, to proceed as fast as the State of my Health will admit and Hope I may be in New York by the Middle of the Month” (DNA:PCC, item 78).

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