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McDougall, Alexander (1732-1786) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.02512 Author/Creator: McDougall, Alexander (1732-1786) Place Written: Highlands, New York Type: Manuscript letter signed Date: 14 September 1783 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 23 x 18.8 cm.

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Summary of Content: Written by General McDougall to General Knox. Says he will visit with Knox to finalize spending accounts of the officers. Says he has "written to Mr. Gaine in the most perfect secrecy, to print thirteen thousand Copies, of the Commander in Chief's circular letter, to the States, but no opportunity has yet offered, by which I could expect to receive an answer." Indicates that the circular letter's tendency toward mercy will appeal to the printer and other Loyalists. Reports the copies will be in pamphlet form because "I know that a Newspaper is read, torn or appropriated to such use, as, that most of the Newspapers are seldom to be found, after the first Reading; but this is not the case with Pamphlets." Suggests that the letters of Publicola also be printed in pamphlet form. Says the people need to be informed of the justice of their claims for proper pay and pensions for the officers. Wants the second address of Publicola sent to him by tomorrow morning. Mentions that Mr. Lawrance is going to New York and that he will arrange for the printing. Says he needs Knox's opinion on these issues by tomorrow as his health and other business requires him to go to the mountains for a week. Wants to know if Generals "Heath, Glover, &c &c &c" have paid their quota.

Full Transcript: [draft]

Highlands 14th September 1783
Gentlemen
This covers my account current with the Officers, by which it appears there is a Ballance in their favor, of, one Hundred and sixteen Dollars & 57/90: ...when I am more at leisure, Major Platt or myself, will come over with the Vouchers, in order, that you and some other principal Officers may give me some Certificate, expressive of the appropriation of the money, I have received.
As Mr. Loudon has left Fishkill, I have written to Mr. Gaine in the most perfect secrecy, to print thirteen thousand Copies, of the Commander in Chief's circular letter, to the States, but no opportunity has yet offered, by which I could expect to receive an answer. The point of view in which it is offered to him, is, that it enjoins the maintenance of public faith, as well [2] as mercy. The tendency of the latter to the Loyalists is too obvious to escape his Notice, and that of his fellow printers, and other Loyalists. If that work was done, I intimated I would circulate them: If they are done, it will be in Pamphlet Form.
Experience suggests this mode to me; for I know that a Newspaper is read, torn or appropriated to such use, as, that most of the Newspapers are seldom to be found, after the first Reading; but this is not the Case with Pamphlets. If my judgment on this subject is right, and I am confident from the best Evidence, it is, I give, as my decided opinion, that, the two Letters of Publicola, should be put in Pamphlet form, and circulated by thousands. For it is of the first consequence to us, that the peoples minds be informed, as soon as possible, of the justice of our Claims; otherwise the most of the poor officers will lose their Commutation; by necessity in being obliged to part with it. To prevent this it is my opinion, the Ballance of this Account, and what [3] is in the Hands of Major Shaw, be appropriated, for re-publishing in Pamphlet, Publicola's two Letters, and such other papers, as are or may be written, tending to establish the justice of our Claims beyond [strikeout] Question. Should this be your Opinion, and that of other Gentlemet of Consideration, at the Point; the second address of Publicola, should be sought, and sent [struck: to me], this Evening, or, to morrow morning very early; in order that I may cause their work to be expedited as soon as possible.
Mr. Lawrence goes to New York on Tuesday next, by whom, I shall make the necessary Arrangements for the work; But it is necessary I should have your Answer, early to morrow morning, as my Health and other Business, require my going above the Mountains for a week. 'Tis, [strikeout] infinitely of more importance, than to purchase medals, and I think some means should be devised, to [4] get the Ratio of the expence to Philadelphia, from the delinquent Officers of the Lines in the Delegation to Congress, represented; which might be appropriated for such uses as those I [struck: now] have mentioned: They, have the same interest in the ultimate Issue, that we have. Have generals Heath, Glover &c &c &c paid their Quota? None but my Aide knows, I have written to Mr. Gaine on that subject; and, it ought not to be [struck: extended] farther communicated, for Reasons too obvious, to be enumerated. An intolerable Head-Ach [sic], compels me to finish this hasty scrawl.
With great Truth
I am Gentlemen
Your affectionate Servant
AlexMcDougall

Major Genl. Knox and Brigr. Genl Huntington

[docket]
From Genl McDougall 14 Septr 1783
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Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Newburgh ConspiracyRevolutionary War GeneralMilitary HistoryContinental ArmyPresidentLoyalistPrintingJournalismHealth and MedicalTravelFinancePresidential Speeches and Proclamations

Sub Era: Creating a New Government

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