George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Palmer, 29 September 1789

From Benjamin Palmer

[29 September 1789]

The Petition of Benjamin Palmer Most humbly Sheweth.

That your Petitioner lived on Minefords Island commonly called City Island in the State of New York in the beginning of the War between Great Britain and those States and your Petitioner with all his Family were taken Prisoners by the British who used us very Ill. And then ordered us off my Plantation which I then had on said Island down to New York where I have continued with my Family ever since—The case of their using me so ill was on Account of sending a Letter to General How the Commander of the British Army in Vindication of and setting forth the just Case of the people of this Country had to oppose the King’s orders—A copy of said Letter I wish to lay before your Excellency1 with the proceedings our people made to take away my Lands from me after they had got quiet possession of those States with several other copies of Letters of consequence, which your Petitioner has a great desire that your Excellency will take some suitable time to peruse them. And your Petitioner as in duty Bound will ever pray &c.

Benjn Palmer

LS, NHi: Palmer Papers; ADfS, NHi: Palmer Papers.

Benjamin Palmer, a locally prominent New York landowner, purchased City Island, a long, narrow strip of land of some 230 acres located in the northerly side of Eastchester Bay, in 1761. In 1756 he had led in the construction of a bridge from the island at Spuyten Devil, in the process running afoul of Col. Thomas Philippse, a local landowner who was deprived of tolls by the bridge’s location. In retaliation, Philippse had reputedly “twice caused Palmer to be impressed as a soldier for service in Canada” (Jenkins, Bronx, description begins Stephen Jenkins. The Story of the Bronx: From the Purchase Made by the Dutch from the Indians in 1639 to the Present Day. New York, 1912. description ends 190, 428).

1The enclosure has not been found.

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