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Letter to the Secretaries of State, Treasurey, and War, April 4, 1791

TRANSCRIPT GLC 2437.52.135
George Washington. Circular: Mount Vernon, to the Secretaries of the Departments of State, Treasury, and War, Henry Knox recipient, 1791 April 4. 4 p

Mount Vernon
April 4th. 1791


As the public service may require that communications should be made to me, during my absence from the seat of government, by the most direct conveyances – and as in the event of any very extraordinary occurrence, it will be necessary to know at what time I may be found in any particular place, I have to inform you that, unless the progress of my journey to Savannah is retarded by unforeseen [2] interruptions, it will be regulated (including days of halt) in the following manner.

I shall be
on the 8th. of April at Fredericksburg
11th Richmond
14th Petersburg
16th Halifax
18th Tarborough
20th Newbern
24th Wilmington
29th Georgetown, South Carolina
2d of May Charleston, halting five days. Savannah, halting two days.

Thence, leaving the line of the mail, I shall proceed to Augusta, and, according to the information which I may receive there, my return, by an upper road will be regulated – The route of my return is at present uncertain, but, in all probability, it will be through Columbia, Camden, Charlotte, Salisbury, Salem, Guilford, Hillsborough, Harrisburg,[3] Williamsburg to Taylor’s ferry on the Roanoke, and thence to Fredericksburg by the nearest and best road.

After thus explaining to you, as far as I am able at present, the direction and probable progress of my journey, I have to express my wish, if an serious and important cases should arise during my absence, (of which the probability is but too strong) that the Secretaries for the Departments of State, Treasury and War may hold consultations thereon to detrmine whether they are of such a nature as to demand my personal attendance at the seat of government - and, if they should be so considered, I will return immediately from any place at which the information may reach me – Or should they determine that measures, relevant to the case, may be legally and properly [4] pursued without the immediate agency of the President, I will approve and ratify the measures, which may be conformed to such determination –

Presuming that the Vice-President will have left the seat of government for Boston, I have not requested his opinion to be taken on the supposed emergency – should it be otherwise I wish him also to be consulted.

I am Gentlemen,
Your most obedient Servant
(signed) Go: Washington
Thomas Jefferson – Alexander Hamilton and Henry Knox Esquires
Secretaries of the United States for the Departments of State, Treasury and War –

Washington’s Circular to his Ministry

Notes: Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. The Writings of George Washington. v. 31, pp.272-3.