George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Irvine, 6 October 1788

From William Irvine

New York Octr 6th 1788


I do myself the honor to enclose a sketch of the waters of the Alleghany,1 which approach near to Lake Erie it is taken from an actual survey made by the persons who ran the line between the states of New York & Pennsylvania—These gentleman say that the main branch of the Alleghany falls in Pennsylvania and that there is only seven or eight miles land carriage between it and the heads of a branch of Susquehanna called Tioga which is navigable for large boats at most seasons. The navigation of Carriages I know is much prefarable to French Creek. I have the honor to be with the highest respect—Sir Your Excellency’s Most obedient and Humble Servant

Wm Irving

Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

William Irvine (1741–1804), a native of Ireland and a graduate of Dublin University, immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1763 and settled in Carlisle. He served as a brigadier general during the Revolution and was a member of the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788. In 1785 Irvine was appointed by Pennsylvania to supervise the distribution of bounty lands to Revolutionary War veterans. In 1788 he became one of the commissioners appointed by the Continental Congress to settle state accounts with Congress. On 11 Jan. and 18 Feb. 1788 GW wrote to Irvine seeking information on western navigation. In acknowledging the information sent by Irvine, GW stated that his object in “wishing a solution of the Quæries proposed to you, was that I might be enabled to return Answers, in some degree satisfactory, to several Gentlemen of distinction in foreign Countries who have applied to me for information on the subject in behalf of others who [wish] to engage in the fur trade, and at the same time to gratify my own curiosity and assist me in forming a Judgement of the practicability of opening a communication should it ever be seriously in contemplation” (GW to Irvine, 18 Feb. 1788).

1This sketch is in DLC:GW.

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