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Washington, George (1732-1799) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.09404 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Mount Vernon, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 February 1784 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 33.1 x 20.4 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.09404 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Mount Vernon, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 February 1784 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 33.1 x 20.4 cm.

Summary of Content: General Washington writes to Knox, who had been Chief of the Continental Artillery during the Revolutionary War. Recently visited his "aged Mother," Mary Ball Washington. Thanks Knox for so diligently reporting the state of the garrison and stores at West Point while he was there (1782-1783). Discusses payment of the Office of Secretary at War. Relates that the Society of Cincinnati will meet in Philadelphia on the first Monday in May, and that he named Philadelphia as the location to comply with the wishes of South Carolina. Writes, "I am just beginning to experience that ease, and freedom from public cares which, however desirable, takes some time to realize..." Sends his and Martha's best wishes to Henry and his wife Lucy. In a post script, expresses his wish that General Greene (Nathanael) will be on the Rhode Island delegation at the meeting of the Cincinnati. Docketed in Knox's hand.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Full Transcript: Mount Vernon Feby. 20th.1784.
My dear Sir,
The bad weather, and great care which the Post Riders take of themselves, prevented your letters of the 3d. & 9th. of last Month ...from getting to my hands till the 10th. of this. - Setting of next Morning for Fredericksburgh to pay my duty to an aged Mother, and not returning till yesterday, will be admitted I hope, as a sufficient apology for my silence 'till now.
I am much obliged by the trouble you have taken to report the state of the Garrison & Stores, together with the disposition of the Troops at West-Point, to me. - and think the allowance of Rations, or subsistence money to such Officers as could not retire at that inclement season, was not only perfectly humane, but perfectly just. - and that it must appear so to Congress.
It would seem to me, without having recourse to calculation, that the allowance of a Majr. General in a seperate department, to the person who shall discharge the duties of Secretary at War, Master of Ordnance, & Commanding Officer of the Forces which may be retained, or Raised for a Peace Establishment is [strikeout] [inserted: as low as it well can be]. - I expect the President & some Members of Congress here in a day or two, & will tell them so. -
It was amongst my first Acts after I got home, to write to the President of each state Society, appointing Philadelphia (& the first Monday in May) for the general meeting for the Cincinnati. - Colo. Walker took with him all the Letters for those Eastward of this before New Years day; the others for the Southward I dispatched by the Post [2] Post [strikeout] about the sametime - I have even sent duplicates for fear of miscarriage; yet, 'though it is the most eligable method, it is to be feared it will not prove so effectual a communication, as [struck: would] a general notification in the public Gazettes [inserted: would have been] - And, in case of failure, I shall be exceedingly concerned for not having adopted the most certain as it would give me pleasure to have the first general meeting, a very full one. -
I have named Philadelphia (contrary to my own judgment, as it is not Central) to comply with the wishes of South Carolina, who, being the most Southern State, have desired it. - North Carolina I have not heard a tittle from, nor any thing official from New Hampshire. - all the other States have acceded very unanimously to the propositions which were sent from the Army. -
I am just beginning to experience that ease, and freedom from public cares which, however desirable, takes some time to realize; for strange as it may tell, it is nevertheless true, that it was not 'till lately I could get the better of my usual custom of ruminating as soon as I waked in the morning, on the business of the ensuing day; - and of my surprize, after having revolved many things in my mind, to find that I was no longer a public man, or had any thing to do with public transactions. - I feel now, however, as I conceive a wearied Traveller must do, who, after treading many a painful step, with a heavy burden on his shoulders, is eased of the latter, having reached the Goal to which all the former were directed - & from his House top is looking back, & tracing with a [strikeout] [inserted: grateful] eye the Meanders by which he escaped the quicksand and Mires [3] Mires which lay in his way; and into which none but the All-powerful guide, & great disposer of human Events could have prevented his falling.
I shall be very happy, and I hope shall not be disappointed, in seeing you at the proposed meeting in Philadelphia. - The friendship I have conceived for you will not be impaired by absence, but it may be no unpleasing circumstance to brighten the Chain, by a renewal of the Covenant. - My best wishes attend Mrs. Knox & the little folks, in which Mrs. Washington most heartily joins me. - With every sentiment of the purest esteem, regard and affection
I am, My dear Sir,
Yr. Most Obedt. & Obliged
Hble Servant
Go: Washington
PS. I hope Genl Greene will be in the Delegation from Rhode Island - and that we shall see him at the Genl. Meeting of the Cincinnati - will you intimate this to him

Majr. Genl Knox.

from his Excellency Genl.
Washington 20 Feby 1784
No 8 -
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786
Washington, Mary Ball, 1708-1789
Washington, Martha, 1731-1802
Knox, Lucy Flucker, 1756-1824

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War GeneralChildren and FamilyWest Point (US Military Academy)Military HistoryGovernment and CivicsFinanceSociety of the CincinnatiFraternal OrganizationMount VernonPresidentFirst Lady

Sub Era: Creating a New Government

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