Tobias Lear to “John A. Dingwell”
New York August 18th 1790
9 O’clock A.M.
The letter which you addressed to General Knox and myself, enclosing one for the President, came to hand this morning;1 and as the President is not expected to return from Rhode Island in less than 6 or 8 days from this time, we have, so far as is in our power, complied with your wishes, as you will see by the enclosed engagement.2 I will now add, that Colo. McGillivary and the Indians leave this place today,3 so that whatever you may have to communicate respecting them must be done at the House of the President by 12 ’O Clock.4
If the public welfare is so much interested in your information as you say it is, ⟨I⟩ think there needs no further argument to induce a communication from a good Citizen. I am Sir yr mo. Ob. St
Secry to the Presdt of the U.S.
ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.
2. Lear’s retained copy of the enclosed document, the original of which was signed by him and Knox, reads: “Know all men to whom these presents shall come
“That the President of the United States being now absent from New York, ⟨an⟩d is not expected to return within six or eight days from this date, when the information to be obtained in consequence of his signing the within engagement may be of no avail to the public—We the underwritten do therefore, on behalf of the President of the United States, so far as our power or influence may extend, promise to comply with the within engagement. Done at New York on the Eighteenth day of August one thousand, seven Hundred & ninety” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). The “within engagement” was the promise of safety for McGillivray that “Dingwell” had sent to GW in his second letter to the president of 16 Aug. 1790 (see “Dingwell” to Knox or Lear, 17 Aug. 1790, n.2).
3. Either Lear was mistaken or their departure was delayed, for, according to the 21 Aug. 1790 issue of the Gazette of the United States (New York), McGillivray and the Creek chiefs did not set sail from New York for St. Marys River until 19 Aug. 1790.