From Henry Knox
War department April 2d 1794
I have the honor to submit to your consideration the draft of a proposed letter to General Wayne.1
It appears that Colonel Pickering would not dislike the proposal of joining him provided the arrangements consequent upon the Post Office Bill now under consideration would permit the measure which however he doubts.2
If the purport of the letter should meet your approbation it may either be forwarded immediately or wait a few days under the expectation of further information from General Wayne.3 I have the honor to be with perfect respect Your obedient servant.
H. Knox secy of war
I also submit a letter to General Wilkinson.4
LS, DLC:GW; LB,DLC:GW.
1. Knox enclosed his letter to Anthony Wayne of 31 March for GW’s approval. Because this letter is a reply to letters written by Wayne to Knox of 15 Nov. and 4 Dec. 1793, and 10 and 18 Jan. 1794, it covers a wide variety of topics, including provisions and supplies; the apparent “little service” provided by the Kentucky volunteers, desertion among their ranks, and questions about payment for their services; and the promotion of officers. It also touched upon relations with the Indians: “If . . . it should be that the Shawanese, Miamies, Delawares and Wyandots are desirous of permanent peace it would be a most acceptable event to the President of the United States and to every class of Citizens. And as it is possible that from some motives or other such a desire on their part may exist, the instructions marked A. have been matured in order to govern your conduct, if you should hold a treaty with them. At present it is a questionable point whether Colonel [Timothy] Pickering or some other person as a Commissioner may not be sent to assist you provided the proposals should have a serious aspect.” Knox informed Wayne that if the Indians prove intransigent, then the decision to move the troops forward was being left to Wayne’s judgment. He then wrote that the expeditions being planned against Spanish territory by “some restless people of the frontier settlements” mandated that Wayne “immediately order as respectable a detachment as you can to take post at Fort Massac and to erect a strong redoubt and block house with some suitable cannon from Fort Washington,” and he enclosed a copy of GW’s proclamation of 24 March to illustrate this potential problem. He also instructed Wayne that, given the current state of U.S. relations with Great Britain, “you may see the perfect propriety of abstaining from every step or measure which could by possibility be construed into any aggression on your part against either Spain or England. If a War should ensue, timely notice will be given to you. . . .” He also assured Wayne that it was “with great pleasure, Sir, that I transmit you the approbation of the President of the United States of your conduct generally since you have had the command and more particularly for the judicious and military formation and discipline of the Troops, the precautions you appear to have taken in your advance, in your fortified camps, and in your arrangements to have full and abundant supplies of provision on hand” (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 , 313–20).
2. The bill currently under discussion in Congress was “An Act to establish the Post-office and Post-roads within the United States,” which GW approved on 8 May (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:354–66). Pickering currently was serving as postmaster general under “An Act for the temporary establishment of the Post-Office,” 22 Sept. 1789 (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:70). GW nominated Timothy Pickering as postmaster general, under the terms of the 1794 act, in a letter to the U.S. Senate of 10 Dec. 1794 (copy, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations; LB, DLC:GW).
3. GW approved Knox’s draft and returned it to him this same day (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 296). Knox probably waited to post this letter until he finished his “Private and Confidential” letter to Wayne of 3 April (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 , 321).