George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., 23 May 1794

Henry Knox to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr.

War office May 23d 1794

The Secretary of War presents his Compliments to Mister Dandridge and begs the favor that the enclosed letter from Governor Mifflin, just received, may be submitted to the President of the U: States.1


1Pennsylvania governor Thomas Mifflin’s letter to Knox of 23 May enclosed "a copy of a letter from Brigadier General Wilkins, dated the eleventh current, relatively to the murder of a friendly Indian at fort Franklin, and the prospect of opposition from the British troops, in laying out a town at Presqu’ Isle." Mifflin reported that he would refer the case to the state attorney general "with instructions for proceeding, in the most expeditious manner, to bring the murderer to justice" (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 , 1:505). GW returned the letter to Knox on this same date (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 305).

About the murder, which occurred on 1 May, Wilkins reported that the murderer "Robertson," a "young man . . . perhaps . . . a little intoxicated" but whose "character is not good," was in custody. Wilkins warned that trouble would ensue if he was removed from the fort before "the indians are satisfied . . . the Indians say the white people always tell them they will punnish Crimes of this kind, but never yet have done it, & they are determined not to let this instance pass without having justice." He suggested that it would be wise to offer "presents" to the Indians. About Presque Isle, he reported that friendly Indians said "the British are determined to oppose the progress of the state troops from Lebeuf to presq’ Isle" and would send troops and Indians to cut off "the first party that should attempt opening the road" (PHarH: Executive Correspondence, 1790-99).

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