George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 10 August 1793

From Henry Knox

War department August 10th 1793


I have the honor to submit for your information a private letter from Brigadier Wilkinson dated the 28th June a letter from the Secretary of the South Western territory dated the 19th July and the extract from a letter of John Parrish dated at Detroit 9. July.1 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your obedient Servant

H. Knox


1The letter from James Wilkinson to Henry Knox of 28 June has not been identified. GW’s executive journal, however, describes it as “private & confidential,” and notes that GW returned all three enclosures to Knox (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 218). Daniel Smith, in his letter to Knox of 19 July, reported on Indian depredations in the Southwest Territory and on militia efforts to curtail the activities of those responsible. He wrote that even the most minor incident of theft “augments the flame of White mens passion already very high,” that a large party of men were planning an unauthorized expedition against the Indians to inflict “all the damage they could,” and that his efforts to dissuade them from doing so was “in vain…. This Spirit for war against Indians pervades people of all Ranks so far that no order of Government can stop them” (Carter, Territorial Papers description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends , 4:280–83).

Philadelphia Quaker John Parrish (1730–1807) was a member of the Quaker delegation that GW had given permission to attend the negotiations by U.S. Indian commissioners Benjamin Lincoln, Timothy Pickering, and Beverley Randolph with the Indians of the Northwest Territory (GW to Knox, 5 April 1793, and note 2). Parrish wrote: “We have been in this place about four weeks waiting for the Commissioners whom we left at Navy Hall with an expectation that they would follow on as soon as Jasper Parrish their messenger returned from Philadelphia, but have not heard” from them. He reported: “We have received intelligence, that about 5 days ago a deputation of Indian Chiefs set out, including Col. Brandt and several interpreters, to wait upon the Commissioners.” The delegation heard from U.S. emissary Hendrick Aupaumut that “he thinks there is a disposition prevailing in the minds of the indians for Peace, which is confirmed by an intelligent person who is just come in.”

“Blue Jacket, a War Chief of the Shawanes just stept in to see us, and informs, that two Chiefs are appointed out of each tribe to bring the Commissioners up, that there can be little doubt of their coming, and he further says he thinks peace will take place, but that it is probable he says, the treaty will hold two months.” According to a notation by War Department clerk John Stagg, Jr., this extract was delivered by James Pemberton of Philadelphia on 10 Aug. 1793 (PHi: Wayne Papers). For the presence of the Indian commissioners and Joseph Brant at Fort Niagara at the time of Parrish’s letter, see Knox to Tobias Lear, 19 July 1793, and note 1. Knox enclosed a copy of the extract in his letter to Anthony Wayne of 16 Aug. 1793 (Knopf, Wayne description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends , 266).

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