George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benevolence, 4 April 1794

From Benevolence

Connecticut Apr. 4th 1794


I have lately travelld through the N. England States Vermont—&c. The Generale topick was the times but principally the Sufferings of our Citizens among the Algerines—At Several places the Generale wish was that the President Would Issue his proclamation for a generale Contribution for their Relief—I heard one farmer Say he would give 5 Guinies another 2. no person said under a Dollar.1

Upon the principles of Compassion I have thus made Bold to write you I am myself an Obscure Charactor, & I would not Even wish to Dictate the President, But if I am in the Wrong, it must be imputed to my Feelings.

however I am Confident that if the President Should only Issue his proclamation Ordering it to be Read preparatory one week in all Religious Assemblys in the Union that a Prodigious Sum would be Raised Voluntarily—if any thing will touch the feelings of mankind that will—I will give 10 Guinies now sir if this Aynominus letter will be Recd & the proclamation Comes forth I will do all in my power to promote it2—I have no Relation Neither acquantance among the Prisoners. I am Sir—a True Friend & Republican


ALS, DNA: RG 59, Consular Despatches, Algiers. There is no inside address or cover for this letter.

1On the efforts of U.S. commissioner David Humphreys to relieve the suffering of the American captives in Algiers and to obtain their eventual release, see his letters to the secretary of state of 19 and 23 Nov. and 25 Dec. 1793, and 30 Jan. 1794, and the enclosures to these letters, in ASP, Foreign Relations description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:413–23.

2Although GW did not issue the desired proclamation, civic and religious groups collected money for the “relief and redemption of all American captives in Algiers” (see “Theatrical” and Samuel Haven to “Mr. Printer,” Columbian Centinel [Boston], 17 May and 11 June).

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