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Letter to Henry Knox, June 1, 1786

TRANSCRIPT GLC 2437.53.049
George Washington. Letter signed: Mount Vernon, to Secretary at War Henry Knox, 1786 June 1. 3 p. + doc.

[inserted - different hand: Washington]
Mount Vernon June 1st 1786.

My dear Sir,

The Post of last week brougt. me (by way of New York) a letter, of which the inclosed is a Copy. I transmit it, not only for your perusal, but for information, and advice. All the papers respecting the Society of the Cincinnati being in possession of the Secretary Genl. or the Assistant Secretary, and my memory very defective, I cannot speak with precision to Mr. Jefferson, or decide on any thing which is pleasing to myself. From what I can recollect of the matter, all the Officers who chose to make use of Major L’Enfant’s Agency to obtain the badge of the Society, not only commissioned him to bring them from France, but furnished him with the means.

[2] I did this myself for 6 or 8. He brought many more. I have some reason to believe on a speculating Scheme; and demanded so much for them, as, if my Memory serves me, to disgust many Members of the Society, and induce them to apply to an Artist in Philadelphia, who, it was said, would not only execute them as well, (and without the defect which was discovered in the French ones,) but furnish them cheaper. This and L’Enfant’s misapplication of the money (if the fact is so) for those he did receive, may have been the Sources of the present difficulty. On the one hand, it will be very disagreeable to the American Officers to be freely spoken of on this occasion. On the other, it may not only be hard but distressing to comply with the demands of the Parisian [3] Artisan, as we are not only unacquainted with the extent, but in some measure with the nature of them. What is become of L’Enfant? I have not seen him since the general Meeting of the Society which was held at Philadelphia in May 1784, nor, that I recollect, have heard of him ‘till Mr. Jefferson’s Letter came to hand.

Mrs. Washington joins me in every affectionate wish for Mrs. Knox, yourself, & family. And with sentiments of the warmest friendship

I am ever
Go: Washington

Major General Knox

[in George Washington’s hand]
By fowarding the inclosed letter you are oblig’d

His Excellcy. Genl Washington
1 June 1786
[inserted - different hand: Original No 21-]

Notes: Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. The Writings of George Washington. v. 28: 447-48.