George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 28 February 1793

To Henry Knox


Dr Sir.[Philadelphia] Thursday Morning Feby 28th 1793

It is much to be regretted that the subject of Rations (encreased) had not been thought of and considered at an earlier period! It is to be feared a proposition at this time would be received with an ill grace. probably no attention paid to it. At the meeting you are about to have it might be well to mention the matter and know what the Gentlemen there would think of bringing the matter forward at a time so Mal a propos.1 Yrs

Go. Washington

Copy, in Tobias Lear’s writing, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1On Gen. Anthony Wayne’s complaint that the rations for his soldiers were inadequate, see Knox to Tobias Lear, 23 Nov., n.1, 1 Dec. 1792 (second letter), n.1, and “Washington’s Observations on General Wayne’s Letters,” enclosed in Lear to Knox, 23 Nov. 1792. On 12 Dec., Wayne had sent to Knox a memorial, signed by his officers, requesting a response from the president and Congress. Both GW and Knox objected to the memorial as improper (see Knox to Lear, 11 Jan. 1793, note 1). The subject was discussed at the cabinet meeting on 28 Feb., and Thomas Jefferson, Knox, and Edmund Randolph signed a document written by Randolph on that date that reads: “Having considered the note of the President of the U.S. to General Knox, on the subject of increased rations; we are of opinion, that a proposition to congress at this time concerning such increase would be inexpedient, even if the question were more free from difficulty, than it is. But liable as it is to objections, the inexpediency of such a proposition now, acquires double force” (DLC:GW). They apparently believed, along with GW, that bringing up the topic on 28 Feb., the same date GW planned to sign a large appropriation bill and only two days before the Second Congress was planning to adjourn, might be useless (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 325–29).

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