To the United States Senate
United States [Philadelphia]
February 22d 1793
Gentlemen of the Senate.
The nomination of the following persons to fill up the existing vacancies of Ensigns are made provisionally, to be employed, or not, as the prospect of peace, by the proposed treaty, may render it expedient.
If upon a further view of the subject, it should appear probable, that the proposed treaty would issue in a peace the services of these provisional Ensigns would not be required, and of consequence the expences attending their employment would be saved—But, if the war must progress, their services may be necessary, at a time when the Senate may not be in session, to advise and consent to their appointment;1 under these circumstances, I nominate the following persons to be Ensigns.
|John Lamson||New Hampshire.|
|Francis Johnson4||New York|
|Garret Voorhees||New Jersey|
|Charles Lewis||do Some of these|
|Levi McLane5||do acting as|
|Richard Butler||do Cadets.|
|Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne||Virginia.|
|George Lee Davidson||North Carolina.|
|John Bradshaw||Acting as|
|John Brick6||Serjeant Major: 1st Sub Legion.|
LS, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Senate Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations; LB, DLC:GW.
1. The provisional nature of these appointments was likely due to recent unsuccessful efforts in Congress to reduce the size of the army (Journal of the House description begins The Journal of the House of Representatives: George Washington Administration 1789–1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. 9 vols. Wilmington, Del., 1977. description ends , 5:63, 72–73). In a letter to Gen. Anthony Wayne of 9 Mar. 1793, Henry Knox warned the general that “The provisional Ensigns are not to be called into service until further orders, the manner of their nomination and consent of the Senate render that this measure should be rigidly adhered to” (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 202). In a letter to Wayne of 16 Mar., Knox suggested that “perhaps a month, or two will make a difference upon this subject” (ibid., 204). However, when Wayne complained that many companies lacked commissioned officers of any kind, including ensigns, Knox promised to appeal to the president, which he did on 8 April (Knox to Wayne, 30 Mar., ibid., 207; Knox to GW, 8 April, and note 2). For GW’s decision and opinion on commissioning the provisional ensigns, see GW to Knox, 12 April 1793. On 23 Feb. the U.S. Senate approved all of the appointees on this list, and Knox sent “the copies of the nominations” to GW’s secretary Tobias Lear (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:134; Knox to Lear, 23 Feb. 1793, DLC:GW).
2. Probably meant to be Levi Howe (Burton, “General Wayne’s Orderly Book,” description begins C. M. Burton, ed. “General Wayne’s Orderly Book.” Collections and Researches Made by the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, 34 (1904): 341–733. description ends 483).
3. The letter-book copy correctly lists this name as “Nathan” (see also ibid.).
4. Perhaps more commonly known as Francis Johnston (ibid., 415).
5. Levi McLean’s name was spelled in a variety of ways, including McClane, McClain, and McClean (ibid., 481, 484, 522).
6. More commonly known as John Breck (ibid., 460, 584).