George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 25 June 1794

To Henry Knox


Dear SirMount Vernon 25th June 1794.

Your letter of the 18th instt came to me by the Post wch arrived in Alexandria on Monday evening.1 It is not more unusual than it is difficult to account for the motives wch induce Gov. M——’s either to antedate or to detain after they are written the letters which I receive from him.2 That there is design in it, admits of little doubt in my mind.

The publication respecting Genl Wayne, which you will find in the enclosed Paper taken from the Martinsburgh gazette is very unpleasant; it is said to be the production of one Glen, or Lynn a resigned Officer; but which, or whether either, of these is the name Doctr Craik who gave it to me, was not sure.3 I am at a loss to decide what notice ought to be taken of such a publication—something however, on public & private acct seems to require that he should not be left ignorant of the accusations4 charged—You will consider the case well and act accordingly.

Going from the Federal City (on Sunday morning) to view the Locks, & Canal at the little Falls of Potomac5 my horse, whose feet had got very tender from the journey blundered & continued blundering until by violent exertions on my part to save him & myself from falling among the Rocks, I got such a wrench in my back as to prevent m<e> from mounting a horse without pain, of course it has deprived me, in a great degree, of the accomplishment of the purpos. of my visit to this place—Whether it will retard my return a few days longer than I had allotted is more than I am able, at this moment, to decide; it shall not if I can avoid it without injuring myself. I am—Your Affecte

Go: Washington

ADfS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1The preceding Monday was 23 June.

2In his letter Knox mentioned that Thomas Mifflin’s letter to GW of 14 June had not been received until 17 June.

3The enclosure has not been identified, but it may well have been the article critical of Gen. Anthony Wayne published in the Potowmac Guardian (Martinsburg, Va. [now W.Va.]) of 16 June and later reprinted in the New-York Daily Gazette, 24 June. The article reports that "a gentleman from General Wayne’s camp" has stated that after a deputation of Indians had arrived at headquarters in January "with overtures of peace," Wayne, "alarmed at the prospect of peace," in February ordered a detachment to construct a wagon road towards the Indian settlements and began to assemble troops for an expedition against them, only to find after wasteful expense, "that the season of the year was improper for the purpose, and that the country was under water." The informant also claimed "that the discontent, the drinking, gambling, quarreling, fighting, and licentiousness of almost all ranks, exceeded all example. He adds, that these melancholy truths have been produced in great measure by the conduct and example of the General, whose manners are despotic, whose judgment is feeble, infirm, and full of prejudice; whose temper is erasible and violent, whose language is indecent and abusive, and whose conduct to his officers is capricious and irregular, being at one time childishly familiar, and at another tyrannical and over-bearing." The man charged Wayne with favoring "his tools, spies, and toadeaters" above "meritorious officers"; of assigning "extraordinary fatigues" on the Sabbath; of overturning or suppressing "without reason" the proceedings of a court-martial; and of arresting "men of rank and worth on vexatious pretences," keeping them in confinement without trial for months.

James Craik may have been referring to James Glenn (d. 1832), a Revolutionary War veteran who was appointed an ensign in the levies of 1791 and promoted to lieutenant in 1792. Glenn, who resided near present-day Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., was serving in the 4th sublegion when he resigned in March 1794.

4On the ADfS, GW struck out "with wch he is" at this point, but those words remain on the letter-book copy.

5For the Potowmack Company’s plan to construct a system of canals and locks on the Potomac River to facilitate inland navigation, see GW to John Fitzgerald and George Gilpin, 27 Jan. 1789, source note. For reports of the progress and ultimate completion of the three locks at the Little Falls of the Potomac River, see William Deakins, Jr., to GW, 19 Feb. 1793; John Fitzgerald to GW, 3 Aug. 1793; and Tobias Lear to GW, 5 Dec. 1794, 13 Feb. 1795, 23 Feb. 1795, and 18 March 1795 (all DLC:GW).

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