George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 4 January 1794

From Henry Knox

War department January 4th 1794


I suggest to your consideration the propriety of creating by law, an Office of Commissary of Stores, the person who should be appointed thereto to have the superintendence and accountability of receiving, safekeeping and issuing all the public Stores under such regulations as the wisdom of Congress may devise.1

An Office similar to this existed and was found indespensible during the late War, but which was abolished by a resolve of Congress of the 20. July 1785.2

It is however conceived necessary and proper that under the prospect of augmenting the means of our defence that this branch of public service should be placed under the direction of a responsible Officer.3 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect sir Your obedient Servant.


1In their respective outlines to GW of November 1793 and circa 28 Nov. 1793, in which they suggested topics for GW’s fifth annual address to Congress, both Alexander Hamilton and Edmund Randolph suggested the creation of this office.

2For the abolishment of this office in 1785, see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 29: 561.

3The letter-book copy has “office.” GW recommended the establishment of this office in a letter of 7 Jan. 1794 to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

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