George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 29 April 1793

From Thomas Mifflin

Philadelphia, 29th April 1793.


I have the honour to inclose for your Excellency’s information, a copy of a Proclamation, which I have issued, respecting the proposed Treaty to be held with the hostile Indians at Lower Sandusky; a copy of a Circular letter, which I have written, upon the same subject, to the Judiciary and Militia Officers of the Western frontier counties of Pennsylvania;1 and a copy of a Proclamation, which I have issued, in consequence of the Secretary of State’s communication of your desire, that my aid should be given to promote, among the Citizens of Pennsylvania, a general and strict observance of that conduct, in relation to the Belligerent Nations of Europe, which is prescribed in your Proclamation of the 22d instant.2 I am, with perfect respect, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedt & Most humble servt

Tho. Mifflin

LS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1Mifflin’s proclamation of 29 April respecting the pending treaty reads: “Whereas I have received information from the President of the United States, that a Treaty with the hostile Indians north of the Ohio will be held at Lower Sandusky, on or about the 1st day of June next; and it is essential, as well to promote the important objects of the said Treaty, as to secure the personal safety of the Commissioners who shall be employed to negociate the same on the part of the United States, that, during such negociation, no hostile incursion shall be made by the Citizens of this Commonwealth into or near the Indian Country north of the Ohio: Now, therefore, I have thought it expedient and proper, to issue this Proclamation hereby exhorting and requiring the good People of Pennsylvania⟨a⟩ as they value the blessing of peace, and are desirous of cherishing the means of attaining it, to avoid all hostile incursions into the said Indian Country, until the effect of the proposed Treaty shall be ascertained: And I do hereby further require all the Officers of this Commonwealth, according to the duties of their respective stations, to be circumspect and vigilant in preventing such incursions; and in promoting, to the extent of their lawful authority, the objects of the said Treaty, and the security of the Commissioners employed to negociate the same” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

Mifflin’s circular letter of 29 April 1793, which is addressed “to the President of the 5th Circuit, and each of the Judges of the Common Pleas, in Westmoreland, Washington, Allegheny and Fayette counties: To the Brigade Inspectors of those counties, and Mifflin, Huntingdon and Northumberland: And to the Captains of each of the Defence Companies,” reads: “I inclose you a copy of a letter from the Secretary at War, in which he signifies the desire of the President of the United States, that measures should be taken to prevent any hostile incursion into the Indian Country, during the negociation of a Treaty, which is proposed to be held at Lower Sandusky about the 1st of June next; and a copy of the Proclamation, which I issued upon the occasion. To this general proceeding, I think it proper to add a particular request, that you will pay the strictest attention to the objects of the Proclamation; and that, as far as your official opportunities permit, you will impress our Fellow-Citizens, with their importance, as well in point of policy as humanity” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Henry Knox’s letter to Mifflin of 24 April has not been identified (Mifflin to GW, 25 April).

2For Thomas Jefferson’s circular letter to the state governors of 26 April, see Neutrality Proclamation, 22 April, source note. Mifflin’s proclamation of 29 April 1793 concerning American neutrality reads: “Whereas the President of the United States has been pleased to communicate to me a copy of his Proclamation representing that ‘it appears that a state of War exists between Austria Prussia Sardinia Great Britain and the United Netherlands of the one part, and France of the other, declaring the disposition of the United States to observe a conduct friendly and impartial towards the belligerent powers; and exhorting and warning the Citizens of the United States carefully to avoid all acts and proceedings whatsoever which may in any manner tend to contravene such disposition’: And Whereas I am desirous that injunctions so interesting to the happiness and prospe⟨r⟩ity of the United States should have all the benefit of my aid towards their general and strict observance by the Citizens of this Commonwealth. Now therefore I have thought it expedient and proper to issue this Proclamation hereby earnestly exhorting all the good People of Pennsylvania to weigh with deliberation, and to observe with fidelity the sentiments and injunctions contained in the said Proclamation issued as aforesaid by the President of the United States: And further I do hereby enjoin all the Officers of the Commonwealth according to the duties of their respective stations, to be vigilant and circumspect in cultivating and preserving that friendly and impartial disposition towards the belligerent powers which the duty and the interest of this State as a constituent member of the United States require” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

Earlier on this date Knox sent Tobias Lear, “a letter just received from Governor Mifflin” concerning Philadelphia’s observance of the neutrality policy (DLC:GW). The enclosed letter was a copy of a 29 April letter that Mifflin had sent to the French consul general at Philadelphia, Antoine La Forest, stating that Philadelphia would return any salute made by the French frigate Embuscade upon its arrival at the city (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 122–23, and note 3.

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