George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 18 December 1791

To Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Sunday 18th Decr 1791

The P——requests that Mr J——would give the letter & statement here with sent from the S——y of War a perusal,1 & return it to him in the course of the day, with his opinion as to the propriety of the manner of making the communication to Congress; and whether it ought not, at any rate, to be introduced in some such way as this (if it is to pass through him to Congress) “Pursuant to directions I submit” &ca. Or—(if it is to go immediately from the War department to that body) “I lay before Congress by direction from the P——of the U.S. the following statement” &ca.

AL, DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers; ADf, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

The draft, which is undated, was misfiled in the National Archives under 18 Dec. 1790, and it was printed in Papers, Presidential Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series. 17 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1987—. description ends , vol. 7, with the date c.1–7 Dec. 1790 on the assumption that it concerned Henry Knox’s statement about Josiah Harmar’s 1790 western campaign. GW wrote the draft on the cover of one of Jefferson’s letters and docketed it: “To Mr Jefferson & Colo. Hamilton.” The letter-book copy also is addressed to Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

For the background to this letter, see GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 12 Dec. 1791.

1The enclosure was Henry Knox’s draft of a statement to Congress concerning the events leading to Arthur St. Clair’s unsuccessful Indian campaign, which Knox expected to discuss with GW on 18 Dec. (see Knox to GW, 17, 26 December).

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