George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 14 February 1793

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

War department February 14th 1793

Dear Sir

As every thing explanatory of the disposition of the Northern and Western Indians is of importance at this moment, I submit to the President Colonel Louis’s speech,1 and also Hendricks information to Colonel Pickering and the opinion of the Colonel thereon.2

I also submit to the President Brigadier General Putnams resignation.3 I am Dear Sir Your humble servant

H. Knox
secy of War.


1On American peace efforts among the Northwest Indians, see Knox to GW, 6 Dec. 1792. In his speech to Timothy Pickering, Louis Cook, a Caughnawaga Indian working as a mediator between the United States and Indian nations in the Northwest, accused Mohawk leader Joseph Brant of undermining peace and disrupting “the Mohawks of Grand River.” Cook complained also about GW: “My father has struck me—he has struck the Cauhnawagas by raising Brant so high, and employing him to make peace who is the enemy of peace. He counteracted . . . all the efforts of the Cauhnawagas, the Senekas & the Stockbridge Indians to make peace. This will discourage me & the Cauhnawagas from trying further to make peace” (Pickering to Knox, 13 Feb. 1793, MHi, Pickering Papers). For Brant’s failure to attend the Indian council at Glaize in September and October 1792, see Knox to GW, 15 Sept., n.6, and 6 Dec. 1792.

2For the unsuccessful peace mission of Stockbridge chief Hendrick Aupaumut to the Northwest Indians, see Knox to GW, 16 Aug. 1792, note 4. Pickering, after questioning Aupaumut as to his “conduct at the Westward,” concluded that “upon the whole, I am induced to beleive that he has acted usefully as well as honestley; and that in the negociations of the ensuing Summer, it is important that Hendrick should be employed; and that by kind and grateful treatment his friendship & services should be secured. It should be remembred, that the Senekas with a friendship for the United States, are attached to the British, and under their influence; and that the report of the Senekas concerning Hendrick must have been grounded on the information of the British agents in the Indian department—And in Hendrick’s journal it appears (what it is natural to suppose) that those agents, as well as Brant, endeavored by vilifying Hendrick, to prevent & destroy his influence among the Western Indians” (Pickering to Knox, 13 Feb. 1793, MHi, Pickering Papers; see also Aupaumut, “Narrative” description begins “A Narrative of an Embassy to the Western Indians, from the Original Manuscript of Hendrick Aupaumut.” Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania 2 (1827): 61–131. description ends ).

3Rufus Putnam attributed his resignation to “age and infermeties especially Sence my long Sickness the last year” (Buell, Memoirs of Putnam, description begins Rowena Buell, ed. The Memoirs of Rufus Putnam and Certain Official Papers and Correspondence. Boston and New York, 1903. description ends 384). On 15 Feb., at the behest of GW, Knox replied to Putnam (ibid., 120–21; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 54–55).

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