George Washington to the Senate and the House of Representatives
[28 Nov. 1792]
|Gentlemen of the||Senate|
|H. of Representatives|
I now lay before you, for your further information, some additional advices lately received, on the subject of the hostilities committed by the Chuckamogga towns, or under their name and guidance.
The importance of preventing this hostile spirit from spreading to other tribes, or other parts of the same tribe of Indians, a considerable military force actually embodied in their neighborhood, and the advanced state of the season, are circumstances which render it interesting that this subject should obtain your earliest attention.
The Question of War, being placed by the Constitution with the legislature alone, respect to that made it my duty to restrain the operations of our militia to those merely defensive: and considerations involving the public satisfaction, and peculiarly my own, require that the decision of that Question, whichever way it be, should be pronounced definitively by the legislature themselves.
PrC of Dft (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand, but partly overwritten in a later hand; undated; recorded in SJPL under 28 Nov. 1792: “draught of Message to Congr. on Chuckamogga aggressions.”
TJ must have drafted this message for the President in connection with the receipt by Secretary of War Henry Knox of two letters and several enclosures from Governor William Blount describing numerous attacks on American settlers in the Southwest Territory by the Chickamauga Cherokees and their Creek and Shawnee allies. Washington submitted these documents to Congress on 7 Dec. 1792 with a covering letter that reflected the substance but not the wording of TJ’s draft (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Indian Affairs, i, 325–33). The President had previously called attention to Chickamauga hostilities against the United States in his annual message to Congress of 6 Nov. 1792 (Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends , xxxii, 206–8).