George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Friderici, 15 April 1792

From Friderici

Surinan 15th April 1792


The Sieur David Nassy, a native of this place, of a family whose Ancestry were the first settlers of one part of the Colony, a man well informed, and a man who has no fault, except that of being unfortunate, if that can be called one, has begged me to have the honor of remitting by him these lines to your Excellency.1

Reiterated disappointments which he has not deserved—infirm health, and the desire of living in a Country where, without regarding the difference of Religion in Individuals, personal merit is attended to, have led him to a determination of going to reside in the United States under the government of your Excellency. If he can there find himself happy, it will give me great pleasure on account of the Interest which I take in him, and more particularly if this should be the means of obtaining the p[r]otection of your Excellency by drawing your Attention. It is at least a subject worthy of his regard that I have the honor to recommend him. I have the honor to be with as much respect as veneration Sir Your Excellency’s most Obedt & humble Servant


Translation, in Tobias Lear’s hand, DLC:GW; ALS, DLC:GW. The French text of the ALS appears in CD-ROM:GW.

Lt. Col. Juriaen François de Friderici (1751–1812) served as governor-general of Surinam from the early 1790s to 1802.

1This letter was delivered by David de Isaac Cohen Nassy (1747–1806), a descendant of the David Nassy who had founded the Sephardic Jewish community in Surinam in 1664. Nassy immigrated to the United States in 1792, and he settled in Philadelphia, where he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. A physician and a writer, Nassy involved himself in the medical controversy surrounding the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. He reluctantly returned to Surinam in 1795, claiming that its climate was more congenial to his constitution than that of Pennsylvania. Before his departure Nassy paid his respects to the president and offered GW his “Services, [i]f I can render you any at Surinam, Where I have the happiness to possess Much the Confidence of the Governor” (see Nassy to GW, 2 Mar. 1795, DLC:GW).

2Tobias Lear, who apparently translated this letter, misread the signature as “Triversie,” but he correctly docketed the translation as being “From The Governor of Surinam.”

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