George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 9 April 1794

From Henry Knox

War department April 9. 1794


I have the honor to submit to your consideration a letter from Doctor White who has come forward from the Southwestern Territory to solicit protection for Mero district.1

Governor Blount has a power to order the Militia of the said district into service at the expence of the United States in proportion to the danger. But the inhabitants request something further, the protection of permanent troops. This will be difficult to accomplish with the present number of Troops notwithstanding the perfect propriety of the measure, until the operations in which General Wayne is engaged should have a favorable termination.2 I also beg leave to submit a letter from General Arthur Campbell.3 I have the honor to be, Sir with perfect respect Your obedient Servant

H. Knox


1James White (1749–1809), a native of Pennsylvania, studied at the Medical School of the College of Philadelphia. A veteran of the Revolutionary War, he later settled in Davidson County, N.C., which he represented in the state legislature in 1785. After Davidson County became part of the newly created Southwest Territory in 1790, he was elected in 1794 to the first territorial assembly. He served as a territorial delegate to Congress from 3 Sept. 1794 until 1 June 1796, when the territory was admitted to the union as the state of Tennessee. He moved to Louisiana in 1799.

The enclosure from White, which has not been identified, was a copy of a memorial asking for federal assistance in defending the Mero District from hostile Indians. On White’s delivery of this memorial to the U.S. House of Representatives and for its response, see 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 , 4:331–33, 335–36. For recent accounts of Indian depredations in this area, see the 23 April issue of the Independent Gazetteer (Philadelphia), which reprinted an earlier article from the Knoxville Gazette.

2Gen. Anthony Wayne did not achieve a decisive victory over the hostile Indians of the Northwest Territory until the Battle of Fallen Timbers on 20 Aug. 1794. A peace treaty would not be signed until the Treaty of Greenville of 3 Aug. 1795 (Kappler, Indian Treaties description begins Charles J. Kappler, ed. Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties. 5 vols. Washington, D.C., 1903–41. description ends , 2:39–45). For GW’s response to the memorial, see his letter to Knox of 10 April 1794.

3The letter from Arthur Campbell to Knox has not been identified.

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