George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Henry Knox, 30 January 1793

Tobias Lear to Henry Knox

United States [Philadelphia], January 30th 1793

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to return to the Secretary of War the letters from the Executives of Maryland and Virginia which have been submitted to the President; together with a draft of the Secretary’s answer to the Governor of Maryland, which meets the President’s approbation. The President desires however that matters may not be carried to extremity against Richardson.1

T. Lear has likewise the honor to transmit to the Secretary of War a letter from Arthur Campbell to the President, which was brought here this morning by the Postmaster, it having been found, broken open, among other letters in the mail that was robbed near Baltimore. The President wishes the Secretary to take this letter into consideration and report to him his opinion thereon, particularly respecting a Treasurer, Quarter Master, or some Character of that kind, which is there mentioned, and which it has been some time in contemplation to provide.2

Tobias Lear.
Secretary to the president of the United States.

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1The letter from Maryland governor Thomas Sim Lee to Henry Knox of 21 Jan. 1793 has not been identified. It was enclosed in John Stagg, Jr.’s letter to Tobias Lear of 30 Jan. 1793 (DLC:GW). An entry for this date in GW’s executive journal described Lee’s letter as “interceding for the discharge of J[oseph]. Richardson who had enlisted in Captn. [William] Buchannan’s Compy. & deserted” (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 39). Knox wrote Gen. Anthony Wayne on 2 Feb. 1793 that Lee’s letter had concerned Richardson, “a Son of respectable parents in Maryland who had foolishly inlisted” and who “is now accused of being a sort of ideot.” Knox advised Wayne: “If he should be apprehended and you can embrace any favorable mean to satisfy the laws without condemning him to die it will prevent the misery of his worthy parents. . . . Governor Lee has proposed a good man in his place, but it has been declined while the young man remains in the predicament of a deserter” (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 182). Knox’s reply to Thomas Sim Lee has not been identified.

The letter from Virginia governor Henry Lee to Knox was that of 22 Jan. 1793, which also was enclosed in Stagg’s letter to Lear. Lee wrote, “In consequence of your letter of the 24th of November conveying fully the president’s opinions respecting the mode of defence of the frontiers of this Commonwealth, the Executive have reduced their force, heretofore directed to two companies of Rangers and a reasonable number of active intelligent Hunters to be employed as Scouts” (Vi: Executive Letter Book, 1791–1794). For Knox’s letter to Lee of 24 Nov. 1792, see Lear to Knox, 21 Nov. 1792, note 3.

2Arthur Campbell’s letter to GW of 1 Jan. 1793 from Washington County, Va., has not been found, but its receipt was noted in GW’s executive journal on 30 January. According to this entry, this letter “states, that the war with the Indians in the S. W. Territory seems to be a job. The force necessary to check the Indians need not be near so large as is employed. The principal Rulers there concerned in speculation & Traffick in the business. Remedy. Volunteer Militia from Virginia & Kentuckey to be employed. Proposed establishment of certain Posts. A Treasurer, Pay Master or Quarter Mast. to be sent into the Territory. No Officer shd. be allowed to meddle in any shape with the Soldiers pay—purchases &c. &c. Recruiting business badly managed” (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 39). Any written report from Knox to GW on the issues raised in Campbell’s letter has not been found. For the robbery of the mail, see the 2 Feb. 1793 issue of the Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia).

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