Pickering, Timothy (1745-1829) to Henry Knox
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.02481 Author/Creator: Pickering, Timothy (1745-1829) Place Written: Newburgh, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 8 September 1783 Pagination: 2 p. : address : docket ; 23.4 x 19.2 cm.
Discusses the maintenance of "the great chain" and whether the military should sell it, as they are in need of funds at the moment.
The great chain was a chain stretching from West Point to Constitution Island to prevent the British navy from sailing up the Hudson River.
Newburgh Septr. 8. 1783.
I lately wrote the commander in chief respecting the great chain, mentioning that it had been Suggested that if the rust were knocked off and the links painted & housed, it might be preserved in perfect order; and requesting his opinion whether to keep or Sell it. His answer is contained in the inclosed extract of his letter of the 4th inst. which arrived last evening.
Major Boyd was here this morning. I asked his opinion of the loss the chain would Sustain by rust if it were housed & not painted: he replied - not 2 Â½ pcent. in Seven years: painted, it would doubtless lose little or nothing.
Nevertheless, I should be of opinion that  that it Should be Sold: because the probability is that it will never be wanted again. But money is at the present moment in the highest demand, for public uses: the chain would [strikeout] doubtless Sell for a thousand or twelve hundred pounds; which Sum, with the interest accruing in a Short period, would be equal to the purchase of a new chain, Should one ever be wanted. The housing it will be a heavy jobb; and it must be lodged on a dry floor Strongly Supported for the purpose.
Be pleased to Favour me with your Sentiments on the Subject.
I am dear Sir
your most obed.t Serv.t
T Pickering Q. M.G.
P.S. I have directed the forage accounts of officers remaining in Service to be settled when presented.
M. Gen.l Knox
Major Gen.l Knox
From [text loss] Pickering [illegible]
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