George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Gabriel Peterson Van Horne, 22 April 1792

From Gabriel Peterson Van Horne

Baltimore 22nd April 1792


Sensable of the important Conerns, which Surround the President, I feel a diffidence in Offering this Address; But impression which Arise, from a regard for the General welfare, are the motives which dictate, And will I trust, plead an Appology.

Facility, and dispatch of Public intelligence, being an Object of Considerable importance; I beg leave To Suggest the propriety of such Arrangements, as will at least Effect a more speedy, and Competant establishment On the Great soarce of Communication, between the City of Philadelphia, and Richmond.1

The System now in practice require 5 days to Compleat a Tour—the Same returning Admitts of 10 Days for Answering Letters, or dispatches—Enclosd therefore, is Submitted, principles perfectly practicable, which will Accomplish the Distance in 4 Days—Answers in Eight.

Objections may Arise from the habits of indulgence with The Citizens of Philadelphia—the detention of the Public Mails In that City Twenty One Hours, (and confind to a late Hour in the Morning) greatly Embarrass Expedition—This Circumstance of Detention, admits Expresses to Anticipate, the intelligence of the Public Mails, to the Disadvantage of the Community; & the Injury of the Revanue, and its requisite recoursces.2 Permit me Sir, to Subscribe myself, Your Most Obedient, and Obliged Servt

Gabriel P. Van Horne

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

GW often relied on the services of Baltimore stagecoach owner Gabriel Peterson Van Horne (see GW to Tobias Lear, 31 Oct. 1790, note 2).

1Van Horne enclosed an undated document containing the propositions: “For Conveying the Mails from Philadelphia to Richmond in 4 Days—To arrive in Philadelphia at 5 Oclock P.M. and Closd at 12 Oclock P.M. the same Evening—Arriving in Richmond at 5 Oclk P.M. and Closd at 10 the same Evening.

“Mails Leaving Philadelphia and Richmond on Mondays Wednesdays and Frydays

“Returning Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays


“The first Days Stage will Start from Philadelphia, and Richmond; and arrive the same Day at Bush Town and Fredericksburgh. the Second Day to the City of Washington—The third, to Bush Town and Fredericksburgh—the fourth to Philadelphia & Richmond—Making the City of Washington and George Town The Centre Post between Philad. and Richmd.

“This Establishmt to Continue from Ap[ri]l 1t to December 1t in Each Year” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

2Tobias Lear replied to Van Horne for the president on 17 June, writing that the proposed arrangement “is now under consideration, and that, if, on a view of all circumstances attending it, it shall be thought practicable & conducive to the public good, it will be carried into effect” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

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