George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 11 February 1794

From Thomas Mifflin

Philadelphia, 11th Feby 1794.


In order to enable me to carry into effect your instructions for preserving the peace and neutrality of the United States, within the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, I was under the necessity of establishing a Fort at Mud-Island, agreeably to the intimation, which I gave you, in my letter of the Eighth day of July last.1 and, as the object of that establishment still requires my attention, I have recommended it to the General Assembly, to make a legislative provision, not only with respect to what has been done, but with respect to what it may, in future, be necessary to do, in aid of those measures of the General Government, which are referred to the agency of the Executive Magistrate of the State.2

The exposed situation of the Western frontiers of Pennsylvania has, likewise, claimed the interposition of the Legislature; and, it is probable, that, as an auxilary to the force of the United States, three companies drafted from the militia will be stationed, during the ensuing summer, in the frontier counties for the purposes of protection and defence.3

I have thought it proper, Sir, to make this communication; as well for the general purpose of information⟨,⟩ as to obtain your sentiments on the subject. For, the Legislature in adopting, as well as I, in recommending, the proposed arrangments, certainly contemplate a re-imbursement of the expence which they occasion, from the Treasury of the Union: and on this, and on every official transaction connected with the General Government, it will give me sincere pleasure, to be honored with your concurrence and approbation.4 I am, with perfect respect, Sir, Your most obed: hble serv:

Tho. Mifflin

ADfS, PHarH: Executive Correspondence; LB, PHarH: Governor’s Letter Books.

1On the instructions given Mifflin, the administration’s approval of Mifflin’s suggestion to build a fort on Mud Island, which lay in the Delaware River at Philadelphia, and for preliminary measures taken by Mifflin to fortify that island, see Cabinet Opinion, 8 July 1793, and n.7.

2In his address to the Pennsylvania General Assembly of 5 Dec. 1793, Mifflin encouraged the legislature to extend provisions for fortifying Mud Island and to provide militia forces to defend the state’s western borders against possible Indian attacks, and in a letter to the assembly of 7 Jan., he wrote to “remind” the legislators that “the fund heretofore appropriated by law” for the defenses at Mud Island “is exhausted, and that a further provision for this service, consequently, requires your immediate attention” (Journal of the first session of the fourth House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which commenced at Philadelphia, on Tuesday, the third day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three [Philadelphia, 1793–94], 11, 86).

3“An ACT for more effectually securing the trade, peace and safety of the port of Philadelphia, and defending the Western Frontiers of the commonwealth,” 28 Feb. 1794, provided for an artillery company at Fort Mifflin on Mud Island and for the support of three infantry companies to be posted in the frontier counties of Westmoreland, Washington, and Allegheny (Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, passed at a session, which was begun and held at the city of Philadelphia on Tuesday, the third day of December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three [Philadelphia, 1794], 463–65).

4GW sent this letter to Henry Knox for his opinion (Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., to Knox, 13 Feb. 1794).

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