George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Daniel Lyman, 12 March 1790

From Daniel Lyman

Newport [R.I.] March 12th 1790


For some time past I have had it in contemplation to apply to your Excellency for an appointment in the Revennue Establishment when this State shall accede to the Union. This intention has been intimated to some of my Friends, who have favored me with the enclosed letters on the subject, which would have been forwarded at an earlier date had not the conduct of this State rendered their decission respecting our Union too uncertain to justify my troubleing your Excellency in a matter which appeared so distant.1 But at this time our hopes begin to revive, & we immagin we discover the ⟨dawn⟩ of a brighter day. I therefore now take the liberty to forward the enclosed, and to offer myself a Candidate for any appointment of which your Excellency may think me deserveing. If there are other Persons whose abilities, past services & sacrefices give them a better claim to your Excellency’s notice, I chearfully resign my pretensions. But should Your Excellency judge me worthy your notice, my unremiting endeav[ors] will be exerted to discharge the trust with honor to myself, justice to my Country & your Excellencys approbation. I take the liberty to refer your Excellency for any further information to Mr Baldwin a member from Georgia. I have the honor to be with every sentiment of respect Your Excellency’s most Obedient humble Servant

Daniel Lyman


Daniel Lyman (1756–1830) served as aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. William Heath during the Revolution. For an account of his wartime career, see General Orders, 17 Oct. 1776, n.2. After the war Lyman took up the practice of law in Newport, becoming an active Federalist and a member of the Society of the Cincinnati.

1William Heath, noting that Lyman was likely to apply for a position in the customs, stated that “from my personal acquaintance with Colonel Lyman, and knowledge of his abilities, permit me to join in recommendation of him should others more immediately concerned in the State introduce him to notice. Colonel Humphries who is probably near you is acquainted with Colonel Lyman and his abilities” (Heath to GW, 5 Feb. 1790, DLC:GW). Lyman was described by Isaac Senter as “a faithful officer, a good citizen, a friend to the Constitution & on all occasions a firm supporter of the principles of a literal, enlightened and sound policy” (Senter to GW, 27 Feb. 1790, DLC:GW). In May 1790 Lyman again applied for a position, recapitulating his military service and noting that his “conduct dureing this period, and the confidential appointments I received, will evince to your Excellency how far I merited the approbation of my Country. Since the war, the expence of an encreasing family, and almost total loss by depreciation of seven years service have prevailed upon me to offer myself to your Excellencys notice. My Family, my Friends, my property are in Newport, and I believe I can say with truth that the Friends to the late decission of our Convention in this Town & that State in general would feel themselves gratifyed in seeing my wishes realized” (Lyman to GW, 31 May 1790, DLC:GW). On 14 June 1790 Lyman was appointed surveyor for the port of Newport (DHFC, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972–. description ends 2:80).

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