George Washington Papers
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Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 25 July 1793

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

[Philadelphia] July 25th 1793.

Dear Sir.

Please to submit to the President of the United States, the enclosed Letter from the Governor of Virginia dated 17th inst: together with Col. Steele’s report to the Executive of Virginia, on his return from a visit to the district of Kenawa—&c.—and some letters from Norfolk, relatively to a request from the British Consul for the passport from the French Admiral, to several British vessels ready for sailing.1 Yours Sincerely

H. Knox

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW received this letter and its enclosures on 25 July. Henry Lee wrote Knox on 17 July requesting that money due the state of Virginia for the militia levies of 1792 be paid as soon as possible. Lee also wrote: “Every information from the South portends general war. Should this happen our Southwestern force will be entirely inadequate—I pray your earliest information touching this subject, that we may be prepared for every vicissitude which may occur.” Lee enclosed a letter to him from Col. John Steele of 2 July, with its enclosed reports on the Virginia frontier and the various measures taken to defend it from Indian depredations (Calendar of Virginia State Papers description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends 6:421–28).

Lee also sent “some letters from Norfolk for the information of the President” (Vi: Executive Letter-Book). These letters were from Norfolk mayor Robert Taylor and merchant Thomas Newton, Jr., to Lee, both dated 13 July, and one from Newton to Lee of 30 June (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 207). The first letter covered an application from John Hamilton, the British consul at Norfolk, “requesting us to apply to the French Admiral for a protection or passport to several British Vessels ready for sailing. We consider such an application exceeds any power invested in us” (Calendar of Virginia State Papers description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends , 6:447). On the recent arrival in Norfolk of contre-admiral Cambis (Joseph, vicomte de; 1748–1825), see his letter to the mayor and citizens of Norfolk of 17 July that appears in the 31 July issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia); see also Jonquière, Les Marins Français description begins Christian de La Jonquière, Les Marins Français sous Louis XVI: Guerre d’Indépendance Américaine. Issy-les-Moulineaux, 1996. description ends , 49, and Henrat, Fonds Marine Campagnes description begins Philippe Henrat. Fonds Marine Campagnes (Opérations; Divisions et Stations navales; Missions Diverses). Inventaire de la sous-série Marine BB. Paris, 2000. description ends , 53–54. Newton’s letter to Lee of 30 June reported on the progress made in strengthening the defense of the harbor at Norfolk (Calendar of Virginia State Papers description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends , 6:419–20).

GW returned Lee’s letters and enclosures to Knox with instructions to give Lee “the information desired respecting the Southern Indians,” and he observed that he would “take no agency in the business mentioned in the letter from the British Consul” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 208).

In his reply to Lee of 25 July, Knox promised imminent payment of the money owed the state. He wrote that recent “cruel and unprovoked” murders of friendly Cherokees “renders the continuance of peace problematical,” and that Andrew Pickens was in Philadelphia to consult with GW about “impending hostilities of the Creeks.” Knox did not mention the defense of the Virginia frontier (Calendar of Virginia State Papers description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends , 6:459–60). On the unprovoked attack, see Knox to GW, 13, 16 July 1793, and note 1 of both letters.

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