George Washington Papers
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Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 11 January 1793

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

[Philadelphia] Jany 11. 1793.

My dear Sir.

Will you please to submit to the President of the United States the enclosed letters from major general Wayne, and to inform him that as the paymaster has arrived at head quarters, pay, to complete the army for the last year, will be prepared, and forwarded instantly.1 I am, dear Sir, Yours sincerely—

H. Knox

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

1An entry in GW’s executive journal for 11 Jan. 1793 indicates GW’s receipt of two letters that Anthony Wayne had written to Knox earlier this month. One was “a private Letter, dated Legionville, Jany. 1st. 1793 on the subject of the Address, from the Officers” (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 9). This letter has not been found, but its substance appears in Wayne’s letter to Knox of 12 Dec. 1792, in which Wayne enclosed “a copy of an address of the Officers of the Legion of the United States, at this place upon a subject that has patriotism experience & humanity for it’s basis: i e the inadequacy of the ration allowed the soldiery—which is by no means sufficient for their comfort or support, unaided by either root or vegetable, & from which the situation & nature of the service, can not possibly be procured;—nor is it to be expected that the meat or bread kind (after being drove & carried so great a distance thro’ a Wilderness) can be equal in quality to what cou’d be obtained in a highly cultivated country.” After observing that the American ration was “far short” of that allowed British troops, Wayne wrote: “From a full conviction in my own mind that this is a business which merits the serious and early attention of Congress—I have to request, that you will be so good as to submit that address to the President of the U S, who I am persuaded will recommend to the immediate consideration of the Federal Legislature, such addition to the ration as he may deem proper and adequate for the comfort & support of the soldiery” (Knopf, Wayne, description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends 150–51). Knox replied to Wayne in a private letter of 22 Dec. that “the memorial of the officers, is considered by the President and your other friends, as an extremely improper measure, and tending to produce insubordination and every military evil consequent thereon. . . . You will understand, that it is the manner, more than the matter, which is considered as exceptionable. Although it is difficult to conceive, why the ration should be less sufficient now, than for fifteen years past—few or no complaints having been made against its sufficiency, it being nearly the same as that of the late war—The subject will however be duly considered” (ibid., 152).

The second enclosed letter, according to GW’s executive journal, was “an Official one, date Legionville Jany. 5th. 1793,” which “mentions the arrival of the Paymaster [Caleb Swan] at Pittsburg” (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 9). This letter, which is in Knopf, Wayne, description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends 162–64, under the date of 4 Jan. 1793, begins: “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 22nd. Ultimo, & sincerely regret that the Address of the Officers upon the subject of rations has been consider’d ‘as prejudicial to order & discipline’ but as I have already explain’d that business in my private letter of the 1 st. Instant, I hold it unnecessary to enlarge upon a subject that has been totally misconstrued both as to design & tendency, nor will it effect either order or discipline both of which have been introduced, into the Legion with a rapidity & promptitude, not often experienced equalled or excelled in any period of the late War, nor will it be relaxed as long as I have the honor to continue in Command.” Wayne also reported “that from Appearances the Indians are watching an Oppertunity to make an other stroke at the Convoy’s,” that he has “Order’d the Dragoons about thirty in Number to descend the Ohio tomorrow from Fort Washington,” and that he has “found it Necessary” to make several “promotions in the Cavalry until the pleasure of the Pre[siden]t is known there being a real want of Officers.”

Lear replied to Knox later this date: “By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to return to the Secretary of War the Letters from Maj. Genl Wayne which have been submitted to the President” (DLC:GW).

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