George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Caleb Gibbs, 6 March 1797

To Caleb Gibbs

Philadelphia 6th March 1797.

Dear Sir,

I will turn over your letter of the 13th instant to the President of the United States.1 You may be assured that I have not been wanting in disposition to serve you in anything that was consistent with my duty as a public Officer; but permit me to add that you seem to have lost sight of three things. 1st that there are a number of very deserving men to be provided for, whose situation during the war, was, by no comparison, harder than yours. 2d that offices cannot be created for men. and 3d that you have estimated the emoluments of the one you have had at two low a rate. Eight hundred dollars, or £240 lawful money pr ann., added to the private resources of a man without adding a fraction, necessarily, to his expences is by no means a dispisable thing 2—but as it is no longer in my power to nominate men to offices these observations might have been spared. I heartily thank you for your good wishes, and reciprocate them sincerely to you, & yours—being Dear Sir Your obedient Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1The letter of 13 Feb. from GW’s former aide Caleb Gibbs (c.1748–1818) in Boston reads: “Placed as I am in a situation of live not the most agreable and feeling a conciousness of deserving a better fate I am once more induced before you resign the important station you now fill to address myself to you. I will not presume Sir to trespass too long upon your patience nor recapitulate my former request but beg of you before the last hour of your administration ceaces not to forget one of your Old Servants who for five successive years fought by your side filled Offices of trust and confidence under your immediate Inspection which met and obtained your approbation and who for nine years of the prime of his life devoted himself to the service of his country. If aught of that life claims your attention let me flatter myself that there will be found a situation which will give me a decent Competency (more I do not ask) adequate to the comfort and support of an amiable wife and increasing family. If nothing should present previous to your taking leave of the Government let me be persuaded that a favourable Idea may be conveyed of me to your successor. And may the God of all mercies have you in his holy keeping through the evening of your days and when the period shall arrive when you must bid adieu to this transitory life may you be received into the blissfull mansions above to reap the rewards of a good and faithful servant” (DLC:GW).

2For reference to the persistent appeals for public office of GW’s former aide, see Gibbs to GW, 11 Mar. 1789, and notes.

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