George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Johnson, 3 January 1796

From Thomas Johnson

Frederick [Md.] 3d January 1796.


A pretty general Opinion prevails amongst us that Congress will this Session open a Land Office for the Northwestern Territory and the published proceedings in a degree confirm it.1 Colo. John Lynn, who has heretofore enjoyed your favorable Opinion in another Line, is desirous on the Event taking place that you should extend your Confidence to him in this new Department: I believe him competent to fill any Rank in it and on a long Acquaintance with him he has proved himself a man of probity and Honor—I have had the pleasure to remark that he is exact in the discharge of public Duties, far from being greedy and has patience with the ignorant to whom he seems disinterestedly inclined to point out the Way.2 I am sir Your most obedt humble Servant

Th. Johnson


1On 17 Dec. 1795 the U.S. House appointed a committee “to prepare and bring in a bill or bills for establishing offices for the purpose of granting lands within the territories of the United States.” Subsequently, several petitions seeking grants within the Northwest Territory were referred to that committee, which reported on 26 Jan. 1796 a bill establishing offices for the sale of lands within that territory. After much debate, during which the bill was recommitted to committee and rewritten, “An Act providing for the Sale of the Lands of the United States, in the territory northwest of the river Ohio, and above the mouth of Kentucky river” was approved on 18 May (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 8:38, 52, 54, 56, 128, 166–67, 170, 172, 175–76, 178, 196–97, 231, 287, 309–12, 453; 1 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 464–69).

2John Lynn (1760–1813) served as an officer of the Maryland line during the Revolutionary War and was wounded at the Battle of Eutaw Springs in 1781. A surveyor, he represented Washington County in the Maryland House in 1788 and 1789, and he was at this time Allegany County court clerk and a justice of the peace.

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