George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 5 April 1793

To Henry Knox

Mount Vernon 5th April 1793.


In addition to the several matters contained in my circular Letter to you before I left Philada1 which you were desired to take into consideration, I now submit to you (& the other Gentlemen to whom the above mentioned Letter was directed, and who you will now also consult) a request of the Society of Quakers to be permitted to make presents to the Indians at the proposed Treaty at Sandusky.

You will determine among yourselves as to the propriety of granting ⟨t⟩his request at all—& to what amount & of what kind of Articles they may present the Indians. The result of your united deliberations (as I am satisfied it will meet my approbation) you may communicate to the Society, as they may want to make some arrangements, in case their request should be granted, before the Commissioners depart for Sandusky.2

On my way to this place I saw Capt. Barney at Baltimore who had just arrived from the Havanna—& says the day before he left that place, which I believe was the 10th ulto, advice had been received & generally believed, that our friend McGillivray was dead—& that Bowles who was sent to Spain had been hanged. Whether this news is true or not I am not authorised to say—tho’ Capt. Barney seems to entertain no doubt of the facts.3 Genl Posey, who is now with me, informs me he is ready to receive any instruction you may wish to give him, & desires to know how he is to be disposed of—I expected he had received your orders before this time to join the Main Army but as it is not the case, I hope you will without delay do this, or inform him what particular service he is destined, if any thing more advantageous was in contemplatn for him.4 I am &c.

George Washington

P.S. If Genl Posey is ordered to join the Main Army, he desires to be permitted to take Philadelphia in his way, in order to provide himself—with some necessaries, which he cannot conveniently procure elsewhere.

George Washington

Df, in Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr.’s writing, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1See GW to Cabinet, 21 Mar. 1793. GW departed Philadelphia on 27 Mar. (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 107).


2For Quaker efforts to attend the proposed treaty at Lower Sandusky, see Knox to GW, 12 Mar., GW to Cabinet, 21 Mar. 1793. A delegation of Quakers had met with GW on 23 Mar. and requested that they be allowed to accompany the commissioners to the treaty site. Approving of the Quakers’ desire to encourage a peaceful settlement, GW promised at that time to consult others about the propriety of nongovernment parties offering presents to the Indians (see JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 101–2). In April, GW held two more meetings with the Quaker delegation before their departure for Lower Sandusky (ibid., 117, 123). The Quakers in attendance at the treaty were John Parrish, William Savery, John Elliott, Jacob Lindley, Joseph Moore, and William Hartshorne (Lindley et al., “Expedition to Detroit,” description begins Jacob Lindley, Joseph Moore, and Oliver Paxson. “Expedition to Detroit, 1793. The Quakers, the United States Commissioners, and the Proposed Treaty of Peace with the Northwestern Indian Tribes.” Collections and Researches Made by the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society 17 (1890): 565–671. description ends 566). Knox included guidelines for the Quakers in his final instructions to the peace commissioners (ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:340–42).

3Capt. Joshua Barney was correct in his report of Creek chief Alexander McGillivray’s death, which occurred on 17 Feb., but wrong about the fate of William Augustus Bowles, who finally managed to escape his Spanish imprisonment in 1797. For the intrigues among the Creeks by Bowles, McGillivray, and the Spanish, see Secret Article of the Treaty with the Creeks, 4 Aug. 1790, source note, enclosed in GW to U.S. Senate, 4 Aug. 1790, Knox to GW, 14 Nov. 1791, n.1, GW to Knox, 19 Aug. 1792, and notes 2, 5, and James Seagrove to GW, 17 Mar. 1793.

4GW included Thomas Posey’s nomination as brigadier general in his second letter to the Senate of 22 Feb., and the Senate approved the appointment the next day (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:134).

Index Entries