George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 22 January 1792

To Henry Knox

[Philadelphia] Sunday morning 22d Jany [17]92

My dear Sir,

Upon reflection, I think it best that no mention should be made of the probability that the characters we run over yesterday will be nominated as General Officers (in case the Bill shall pass)—and, if you have disclosed the matter to Mr M——or any one else, that secrecy may be enjoined as to the Men, not the numr.1

In the embryo state of this business it might (especially as it respects the first in command) and more than probably wd, excite jealousy & discontent; and possibly opposition from quarters that, at present, give it support. In truth, there are so many combinations necessary, and so many circumstances to be attended to, that it will be better, I conceive, to hear the opinion of others than to disclose our own, until the Bill shall pass & the hour for it is come.2 Yours sincerely

Go: Washington

ALS, NNGL: Henry Knox Papers.

1Tobias Lear informed Knox on 20 Jan. 1792 that GW wished to see him about the Senate resolution on the new Cherokee annuity (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 18 Jan., n.2). When the president and secretary of war met the next day, they also apparently discussed candidates for appointment as general officers in the enlarged army. “Mr M——” was probably James Madison.

2For the debate in the House of Representatives on the bill “for making further and more effectual provision for the protection of the frontiers of the United States,” see GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 11 Jan., n.2. For GW’s deliberations on general officers to command the new expedition against the hostile Indian nations on the northwest frontier, see Memorandum on General Officers, 9 March.

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