George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 23 December 1794

To Henry Knox

Philadelphia Decr 23d 1794


The letter of which the enclosed is a copy, was received yesterday.1

The information wch it contains being of a serious nature I request that strict enquiry may be instituted into the matter and a report thereupon made to me.2

G. Washington


2Knox referred the question to Alexander Hamilton, who in turn referred it to Tench Coxe. Noting that this was a “case of a new, very expensive, and highly important operation of the Government, wherein a suggestion of great evil, very strong indeed in its terms, and indefinite as to its objects must have created an anxiety of some duration,” Coxe provided a detailed report on the timber procurement in Georgia, after which he concluded that although “several things in the execution of the arrangements do not appear to have been as they were to be desired,” corrections had been applied. There was little “which could have been done by the Treasury upon more favorable terms. Nor do I know any thing at this time wh. can increase the expectation of œconomy & dispatch except the employment of a person in that character proposed for Col. Jos. Cowperthwaite, the determination on wh. I strongly recommend” (Coxe to Hamilton, 25–27 Dec., Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 17:466–75).

Hamilton transmitted Coxe’s report with his third letter to GW of 21 Jan. 1795.

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