George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Abraham Forst, 16 October 1793

From Abraham Forst

George Town 16th October 1,793


Situated as I am I cannot possibly avoid troubling Your Excellency; and to be brief,

I was brought up & Educated in a genteel Sphere of life, was allways in a State of Affluence, till within a few Years past, but thro’ many heavy losses & Sickness, I am now reduced my good Sir to Ask Aid, which I take the liberty to do of your Excellency.

I have rec’d from many worthy Bretheren in this respectable town, & Bladensburg Some Aid, as you will perceive by the enclosed Subscription List, & Your distinguish’d name to it Shatter’d as it has become (by handing about) will be the means of Saving an unfortunate man from total ruin.1

It was my intention to proceed to the Northward, but meeting with encouragement to open a Lottery office; I have concluded to remain in this quarter to be Support to the present Laudable One, as I have had thoro’ experience in that Line in Europe & America.2

Yet your Excellency will be pleased to Observe that a plan of that nature, cannot be put into execution without the usual means, as it is attended with great expence, but mutual advantage eventually.

Give me leave also to observe respectable Sir, that it’ll still produce the means, to enable those Worthy Gentn who are heavy ticket holders to Sell more Speedily to Such advantage as to reimburse themselves for the Losses they have Already Sustained.

There are also many more plans I can point out for general benefit.

I take the liberty to inclose to your Excellency a Certificate, which permit me to request you to have the goodness to cause to be Sealed up, together with the amo. of whatever Your humanity & generosity may dictate & left with Mr Suter.3

I write this respectable Sir in haste, as it is but a Short While Since I heard of your arrival in town. You will be good enough therefore to pardon all incorrectness with your usual Known & much experienced indulgence; for I leave town immediately & Shall not return till Friday next please God.4

That the Grand Architect of the Universe may be Your Constant Support & protector in all your undertakings, & Grant You long life, not only for your own & Connections Sake, but as a real blessing to these United States of North America, will be the unremitted prayer of one who is with most profound respect Your Excellencys ever most Faithfull, obedt Humble Servt

Abrm Forst.

If you will have the goodness to cause the additional trouble of an application to Mr Robertson, it may be an additional Satisfaction to your Excellency.

past 3 oC: On finding that you have returned to your Seat permit me to entreat you to return the inclosed &c. for me at Mr Jno. Suter Senr



Abraham Forst was a former Masonic officer, having been appointed deputy inspector general for Virginia in 1781. His appointment describes him as a merchant lately from London, and he probably is the man who took the oath of allegiance at Philadelphia in August 1780 as a merchant lately arrived from Eustatia. Forst petitioned the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for assistance in September 1791, and at that time offered his services as an accountant or bookkeeper. In 1792 he was employed as a clerk in the Treasury Department (Baynard, History of the Supreme Council description begins Samuel Harrison Baynard, Jr. History of The Supreme Council, 33̊: Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America, and Its Antecedents. 2 vols. Boston, 1938. description ends , 1:72–73; Wolf and Whiteman, Jews of Philadelphia description begins Edwin Wolf II and Maxwell Whiteman. The History of the Jews of Philadelphia from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson. Philadelphia, 1957. description ends , 100–101, 156, 410; Builder: The National Magazine of Freemasonry, 2 [1916]:319; ASP, Miscellaneous Affairs, 1:57).

1The enclosed list has not been identified.

2Forst was referring to the Federal City hotel lottery (see GW to Tobias Lear, 25 Sept., n.1).

3John Suter (d. 1794) kept Suter’s Tavern in Georgetown.

4The following Friday was 18 October.

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