George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 20 August 1793

From Henry Knox

War Department August 20th 1793


I have the honor to submit, Enclosed, a letter just received from James Seagrove, dated at Savannah, August 4th 1793, with enclosures.1 I am, most respectfully, Sir, Your very humble Servt

H. Knox
secy of war


1In his brief letter to Knox of 4 Aug. 1793, James Seagrove wrote that there had been “no change or novelty” in Indian affairs since his previous letter, a duplicate of which was enclosed (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 1:406). In the enclosed letter of 31 July from Savannah, Seagrove reviewed his previous efforts to cultivate friendly relations with the Creek Indians. He then wrote: “I am led to believe that I may be able to effect an entrance into the nation; but not without difficulty and danger; all of which I disregard…. You will see, by the letters now enclosed, that four of the Creek towns are disposed for mischief,” and that the Spanish agent William Panton “is actually among them, stirring them up to war. He publicly tells them that they are not to fear the United States; they cannot hurt them; that they must not, on any account, consent to give satisfaction by punishing the murderers, or restoring property. That, unless the American remove back to the old boundary, on the Oge[e]chee [River], not to treat with them.” After a brief diatribe against Panton, Seagrove continued: “Having determined to go into the Creek towns, if possible, I shall, in conformity to your desire, repair to the Rock Landing, so as to be there, by the first of next month, to wait the movements of the friendly Indians.” After expressing concern about Georgia governor Edward Telfair’s hostility to his mission, Seagrove wrote: “However illy calculated this State is, at present, to engage in a general Indian war, yet, strange as it may appear, there are many warm advocates for it, some of whom I have reason to believe, would oppose my going into the Creeks to make peace” (ibid., 399–400). The enclosures supporting Seagrove’s observations included Timothy Barnard to Seagrove, 2 July, the White Lieutenant (“Tuskena Atca” from Oakfuskee; d. 1799) to Seagrove, 23 June, the Big Warrior (Tustunnuggee Thlucco from Cussetah; c.1760–1824) to Gen. John Twiggs (1750–1816), circa June 1793, and an affidavit from William Stringer of 2 May 1793. Other enclosures were Seagrove to Timothy Barnard, 29 July, and Seagrove to Telfair, 3 Aug. 1793 (ibid., 400–402, 405–6). GW received all these letters on 21 Aug. 1793 (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 228).

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