George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 19 November 1791

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

War-department [Philadelphia], Novr 19th 1791.

Dear Sir,

You mention in yours of last evening, the blanks for the commissioners to run the Cherokee line will be filled by the names agreed upon this day.1

The following characters were mentioned by me to Mr Hawkins yesterday, who seemed to think them entirely suitable for the purpose, to wit,

Judge Campbell.

Daniel Smith—the Secretary of the territory.

and, Colonel Landon Carter.

Will you be so good as to inform me whether these were the persons you alluded to?2

I submit to the President certain estimates for vessels presented to the Senate at their request.3 I am Dear Sir, Your very humble Servt

H. Knox


1On 18 Nov. Lear returned to Knox by GW’s direction “the Letter to Governor Blount which has been submitted to the President, who expresses his approbation thereof; but suggests the expediency of expunging or softening the latter part of the paragraph respecting Bowles & Genl McGillivray—which the President has marked with a pencil in the 4th page of the letter. The Blank for the Commissioners, the President observes will be filled with the names which were agreed upon this day” (DLC:GW). Neither the enclosed draft of Knox’s letter to William Blount nor its original has been found, but a partial extract, without the paragraph concerning William Bowles and Alexander McGillivray, is quoted in Carter, Territorial Papers description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends , 4:103–4 n.16. In January 1792 Cherokee chiefs dissatisfied with the provisions and implementation of the Treaty of Holston of 2 July 1791 traveled to Philadelphia to present their complaints to GW (see Knox to GW, 17 Jan. 1792).

2Lear informed Knox later on this date that GW approved as commissioners to run the Cherokee line David Campbell, Daniel Smith, and eastern Tennessee land speculator Landon Carter (1760–1800), who was treasurer and militia commander of the Washington District of the Southwest Territory (DLC:GW). Smith and Carter declined to serve as commissioners, and in their place Blount appointed Charles McClung and John McKee, who, with Campbell, made their final report on 30 Nov. 1792 (see Treaty of Holston, 2 July 1791, n.58, in Carter, Territorial Papers, description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends 4:62).

3Knox enclosed with the estimates a copy of his letter of 15 Nov. to U.S. Senator Pierce Butler: “I have the honor to submit to you and the Committee of the Senate an Estimate of building and equipping a Ship of 40 Guns, rated at 1300 Tons—and also an estimate of the ordinary expences of maintaining such a Ship for one year, stating the strength of the Crew, at three hundred and fifty men of all descriptions. I do not submit to the Committee the cost of the Frigates built during the late war in the United States; as the circumstances then and now are so widely different, as to preclude any accurate estimate of the present expence of building, from the charges during the war. I conceived it would be much more authentick, in order to ascertain the present prices, to have the principal workmen in this City consulted on the occasion, under the idea of a Commission from abroad—The estimate therefore, although not so minute as might be desired, may be in general considered as tolerably accurate, and fully adequate to the object. Nothing has been suggested as to any particular mode of construction, excepting that the Ship will have two decks for batteries, the lowest of which is stated as consisting of 24. pounders, although 18 pounders may be deemed sufficiently large—four 8 Inch Howitzers are suggested with diffidence, although with an entire conviction of their powerful effect with due management. The estimate for the Brigantine is preparing, and will be submitted to morrow” (DLC:GW). The estimates that Knox enclosed are: “Estimate of Twelve months Provisions for 350 Men, Crew of a Ship of 40 Guns,” “Estimate of the Annual Expence of One Frigate of 40 Guns,” “Indent of Sails and Sailmakers Bills of a Frigate of 140 feet Keel, 42 feet Beams,” “Inventory of Rigging of a Ship of 140 feet Keel, and 42 feet Beam,” “Pay or Wages of Officers & Crew of a Frigate of 40 Guns,” “Estimate of the Cost of a Frigate of 40 Guns, computed at 140 feet Keel and 42 feet Beam, equal to 1300 Tons,” as well as “Pay or Wages of Officers & Crew of a Brigantine of 14 Guns,” “Estimate of the Annual expence of One Brigantine of 14 Guns—200 Tons,” and “Estimate of the cost of a Brigantine of 14 Guns computed at [ ] Keel and Beam equal to 200 Tons” (all in DLC:GW).

Index Entries