George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Timothy Pickering, 31 December 1790

To Timothy Pickering

United States December 31st 1790


I have the pleasure to enclose for you the Report of the Secretary at War upon the papers which were referred to him, relative your transactions with the Seneka Indians in November last.

To this satisfactory Report I am happy to add my entire Approbation of your conduct in this business—and am, With very great esteem & regard, Sir, Your most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, MHi: Timothy Pickering Papers; copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

For Knox’s report on Pickering’s mission, see Pickering to GW, 23 Dec. 1790, n.2. Pickering replied to GW on the evening of 31 Dec. 1790: “I have this moment received & read your very obliging letter of this date, expressing your entire approbation of my conduct in the conference which, by your orders, I have lately held with the Seneka Indians. This explicit & pointed approbation of my proceedings is the more grateful, because they were my first essay: for till then I was an utter stranger to the manners of Indians, and to the proper mode of treating with them. But, sir, I have found that they are not difficult to please. A man must be destitute of humanity, of honesty, or of common sense, who should send them away disgusted: He must want sensibility, if he did not sympathize with them on their recital of the injuries they have experienced from white men. Impressed, therefore with such sentiments, the honourable manner in which you have manifested your approbation of my conduct in this business, is more than I expected: though, next to the approbation of my own mind, nothing could have given me more satisfaction” (DLC:GW).

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