George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 26 January 1790

From Henry Knox

War Office [New York] January 26th 1790.


In consequence of the act of the United States in Congress assembled of the 29th of September 1789 for the payment of the invalid pensions,1 the Secretary of the Treasury submits it as his opinion that the persons whose names are stated on the enclosed paper would be proper persons to pay the pensions to the said invalid pensioners under the said act—All the said persons being collectors of the customs within the states respectively excepting Colonel Jeremiah Olney of Rhode-Island2 and [ ] of North Carolina.3

And the Secretary of the Treasury submits a further opinion that it would be reasonable to allow the sum of two per cent on the sums they shall pay for their trouble in making the necessary examinations and payments aforesaid.

These names and the allowance proposed are humbly submitted for your consideration and approbation.4 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Sir, Your most Obedient Servant

H. Knox

New Hampshire Portsmouth Joseph Whipple
Massachusetts Boston Benjamin Lincoln
Rhode Island Providence Jeremiah Olney
Connecticut New London Jedh Huntington
New York New York John Lamb
New Jersey Perth Amboy John Halsted
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Sharp Delany
Delaware Wilmington George Bush
Maryland Baltimore Otho H. Williams
Virginia B. Hundred William Heth
North Carolina [ ] [ ]
South Carolina Charleston George Abbott Hall
Georgia Savannah John Habersham


1“An Act providing for the payment of the Invalid Pensioners of the United States” stipulated: “That the military pensions which have been granted and paid by the states respectively, in pursuance of the acts of the United States in Congress assembled, to the invalids who were wounded and disabled during the late war, shall be continued and paid by the United States, from the fourth day of March last, for the space of one year, under such regulations as the President of the United States may direct” (1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 95).

2Alexander Hamilton notified Olney of his appointment as an invalid pensions official on 4 Feb. 1790, and Olney received further instructions from Knox before 12 February. After Rhode Island joined the Union, GW nominated Olney collector for the port of Providence on 14 June 1790, and the Senate appointed him the same day (Olney to GW, 16 Mar. 1789 and notes, 31 May 1790; Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 6:246, 263–64, 458–59; DHFC, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends 2:80).

3GW did not nominate North Carolina federal customs officials until 9 Feb. (GW to the U.S. Senate, 9 Feb. 1790).

4Lear replied to Knox on 27 Jan.: “The President of the United States has directed me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday to him; and to inform you that the persons stated on the paper enclosed in your letter, as being in the opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury, proper persons to pay the pensions to the invalid Pensioners in the several States, are such as meet his idea; but the President wishes to see you upon this subject before anything is finally determined respecting it” (DLC:GW). GW noted that he consulted the same day with Knox about “nominating persons (named in a list submitted to me) for paying the Military Pensionrs.” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:21).

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