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Letter to Henry Knox, October 23, 1783

TRANSCRIPT GLC 2437.53.058
George Washington. Autograph letter signed: Rocky Hill, to Henry Knox, 1783 October 23. 4 p. + doc.
[Duplicate]

Rocky Hill Octr. 23d 1783

My dear Sir

Since the return of Genl. Lincoln I have taken occasion, notwithstanding other matters have kept the Peace Establishment entirely out of view to move a little on the subject of your letter of the 17th. of last Month. – I suppose, at least I so hope, it will now be entered upon with a determination to go through with it, without more delay. –

Upon enquiry I perceive no intention to abolish the Office of Secretary at War, but to place it upon a more Œconomical plan. – I find that General Lincoln (before he went to the Eastward, I believe) was called upon to aid in this business – and that a Committee, in consequence, have actually Reported to the effect of the enclosed Paper * [inserted at bottom of page: see the last Page.] which I obtained from Genl. Lincoln and have since found accourdant to the report, which I have seen.

By [2] what I can learn, there is a great diversity of Sentiment among the Members of Congress respecting a Peace Establishment; and great opposition will be given to the measure whenever it is brought forward – It may be well therefore for you to consider, whether upon the footing, and with the emoluments as agreed to by the Comee. the Office of Secretary at War which I presume will very soon be acted upon would meet your views – If it should, and you will let me know it by the return of the Post, I will mention your name to more Gentlemen of my acquaintance in Congress than I have already done, and should be happy if any endeavors of mine can serve you.

General Lincoln is of opinion that a capable, and confidential assistant may be had for, say between 500 & a 1000 Dollars; But when to this Travelling Expences, Wood, Paper, Candles, & ca. are added I should think it would sink pretty deep into the residue; [3] He, conceives otherwise, unless the Secretary, whoever he may be, chuses to travel with a retinue and incur more expense than is necessary. –

Whether the acceptance of this office would open a door to anything more than appears upon the face of the report is not for me to say, nor would it do I think to depend much upon. – The uncertainty of what appointmts. may take place in [strike-out]case of a Peace Establsihment, or whether there will be a Continental one, or not is too hazardous for me to deliver any opinion upon; tho’ I shall neglect no oppertunity of making myself acquainted with the views of Congress in all the stages of this business, and I will drop you a line on the subject

My best wishes attend Mrs. Knox, & I am with the greatest truth & sincerity

Dr Sir,
Yr. Most Affecte. & Obt Serv
Go: Washington
Majr. Genl. Knox
[4]The Salary annexed to the Office of Secretary at War, by the Comee, if my Memy. serves me, is 3500 Dolrs. – With this, he is to keep a Clerk, or assistant, always at the place where Congress resides & to bear the whole Expence of the Office in Wood, Candle & Paper. – He himself is to visit the Magazines twice (I think) every year & to attend Congress occasionally. –
[docket]
from his Excellency
Genl Washington
23 October 1783

Notes: