George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 4 December 1794

From Henry Knox

Dec. 4. 1794.


Upon further reflection, and examination of the charges exhibited by Brigadier General Wilkinson, against Major General Wayne, and consulting Colonel Hamilton thereon, it has been conceived proper to submit the letter to General Wilkinson in the shape it now has, for your consideration.1 I have the honor to be Sir, with perfect Respect, Your obedt Servt

H. Knox


1Knox wrote Gen. James Wilkinson on 5 Dec. explaining the circumstances for his delayed reply to Wilkinson’s letters of 30 June and 18 July, and continuing: “Your letter and the enclosures have been submitted to the President of the United States. He directs me to assure you that it is his desire that in all cases the most impartial justice shall be administered in the Army.

“That upon a repetition of your desire to Major General Wayne he will direct a court of inquiry to be formed for the purposes of investigating any circumstances relatively to you, which you shall suggest.

“That as to the five charges which you exhibit against Major General Wayne, they appear to be too indefinite at present to ground thereon any proceedings. The President requests that if you adhere to those charges, that you will please to specify the particular cases and instances intended to be included in each of them Upon the receipt of this specification he will be enabled better to judge than at present what steps further he ought to take upon the subject.

“The President would readily comply with your request to repair to this City, were, it not that a direct permission from him would in his opinion tend to the prejudice of the discipline of the Army as he judges that all leave of absence ought to be granted by the Commander in chief, who is the public agent to judge whether such permission be compatible with the public service.

“As your letters of the 30th of June and 18 of July and the depositions of Robert Elliott are public and materially interest Major General Wayne copies thereof are transmitted to him by this opportunity and also a Copy of this letter” (PHi: Wayne Papers).

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