George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Gabriel Peterson Van Horne, 26 August 1794

From Gabriel Peterson Van Horne

Yan Yille1 Prince Georg. [Md.] Augt 26t 1794


Urged by the impression of Duty, And That Irrisistable impulse which, Arises from the Circumstances of past, and recent Events—When Savage Hostilities have become Formidable; And the Supreme Authority Violated with impunity—To be indifferent At such a Crisis, must discover an Apparent Disrespect for the Dignity of the Laws, And that Zealous Support requisite for the Executive Arm.

Conscious ’tis a painful Alternative, that Goverment, dictated by Necessity, must Extend Examplary Instances to the refractory—And at a period so highly Interesting, ’tis the Duty of every Citizen To Evince his Gratitude, for the Blessings of a Goverment, defusing its Superior Advantages, from the Mildness of its Principles—With those impressions, permit me Sir, to indulge the hope, that the President will (Occation requiring) Accept the Tendor Of my best Services—To dispose of them in Any Degree, in which they may be instrumental in Support of the National Dignity; And the important Interest of Our Invaluable Constitution.

To those Assurances, And with due respect, the President will permit me to Observe that, Compatable with my Engagments with the State of Maryland,2 a priv<ate> Application Coud Not with propriety be made to the President—Those Engagements are Now Terminate<d> And with Anxious Zeal, Eminating from that Sacred Esteem which the Laws inspire, Trust my Solicitude will meet the Approbation of the President. With Sentiments of the Highest respect, I am Sir, Your Most Obedt Servt

Gabriel P. Van Horne

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., replied to Van Horne on 3 Sept. that GW "is not less pleased at the readiness with which you have tendered your services . . . & the laudable zeal manifested by you; than he is hurt at the cause which has induced you to make this tender," but "the appointment of officers to command the Militia which are required to hold themselves in readiness in the different States, does not belong to him, but to the Commanders in Chief of the Militia of the States from which they are called" (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

1Van Horne set aside a tract of his land in Prince George’s County, Md., for a town called Van’s Ville, which the Maryland legislature authorized commissioners to formally lay out in 1799 (Md. Laws, 1799, ch. 66).

2The exclusive right to run stages on the public road between the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers, granted to Van Horne by a 1785 Maryland law and extended by acts of 1788 and 1793, expired on 1 Aug. 1794 (Md. Laws, 1793, ch. 15).

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