George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 8 August 1794

To Henry Knox


Dear SirGerman Town [Pa.]
Friday 8 Oclock P.M. [8 Aug. 1794]

Mr Bradfords letter (which I presume you have seen, and) which was sent to me by Express,1 conveyed to my mind a different idea than it is now impressed with, from the Secretary of States account of the conversation he has had with Colo. Nevill & Major Lenox. I concluded from the first (combined with the articles in the morning Gazettes)2 that the Insurrection West of the mountains was not only general, but that the Insurgents were on the point of embodying; & would receive no mission. Under these circumstances I could see no propriety in the absence of the Officers of the government; nor how I could stand justified in permitting the measure. But as I do not perceive that the Accts of the Inspector & Marshall place matters in a worse light than they stood before—I consent to your pursuing your plan—& wish you a good journey & a safe & speedy return. Yours always

Go: Washington

ALS, NNGL: Knox Papers; ALS (letterpress copy), DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1For William Bradford’s letter, see Randolph to GW, this date, n.1.

2Two reports from Pittsburgh appeared in the Philadelphia General Advertiser of this date. One concerned a meeting of the inhabitants on 31 July at which it was reported that "in consequence of certain letters sent by the last mail, certain persons were discovered as advocates of the excise law, and enemies to the interests of the country," and three were ordered to be "dismissed from the town without delay." A committee of twenty-one was appointed to carry that resolution into effect. The meeting also resolved "That the inhabitants of the town, shall march out" to join a meeting on 1 Aug. at Braddock’s Field called "to carry into effect measures that may seem to them adviseable with respect to the excise law and the advocates of it." Arrangements also were made to elect delegates to attend another general meeting, to be held at Parkinson’s Ferry on 14 August. The second article reported news of the burning of the house and barn of "Benjamin Wells, an excise officer, and those of some others," and that at the Braddock’s Field meeting "between 5 and 6000 men, we understand, assembled in arms" and appointed a committee to decide on further measures. "The opposers of the excise are so decided in their measures that none of a contrary opinion dare express it."

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