17 April 1783
Knox, Henry (1750-1806)
Title: [Suggestions to George Washington regarding maintenance and expansion of the United States military]
Knox offers his opinions regarding military matters and national security following the anticipated peace between the United States and Great Britain. Suggests maintaining a strong militia, noting "Every method should be devised to make the profession of arms honorable..." Recommends annual exhibitions of war to be attended by "first men of the community," stating that, "To an enlightened people arguments are unnecessary to enforce a truth so obvious. This is the moment to form habits which shall give a lustre to the American character." Advocates universal distribution of arms in America, as well as fully stocked arsenals in each state. Discusses fortification of western frontier land, including the post at Detroit, a national army, and the importance of keeping West Point ("the key to America") safe. Declares, "A perfect knowledge of the principles of war by land and sea is absolutely incumbent on a people, circumstanced as we are and determined to be free and independent." Advocates "... a complete system of military education... The education for the Sea and land offices being different in their natures, will require different institutions." Covers terms of enlistment for soldiers, establishment of military academies, pay, foundries, the organization of military posts, and inspections, among other topics. Written in the hand of, and signed for Knox by, Samuel Shaw, Knox's aide de camp. Docketed by Henry Knox.