George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Knox, 30 December 1794

From Henry Knox

Department of War December 30th 1794


Mr Fitz Simons has applied to me upon the subject of another missionary being added to the one allowed by your permission upon the request of Bishop Carrol as a Companion in case of sickness and as an assistant in all objects whether spiritual or political. Peter Janin has been appointed at the following rate, One hundred & fifty dollars for equipment and two hundred Dollars per Annum and he has taken the Oath of allegiance to the United States.1

The rate of compensation being so low and the men being of respectable characters, I submit it as an opinion that the offer of Assistant would tend to promote the good work of peace and attachment to the United States far exceeding the Sum proposed.

I shall prepare instructions for this purpose and if you should please to authorize the measure the second person may be immediately appointed and proceed immediately as they are in readiness for that purpose.2 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Sir Your obedient Servant

H. Knox


1On 20 March 1792, Bishop John Carroll wrote GW to suggest that Congress should consider making “a small allowance for the necessary subsistance of clergymen employed in disseminating the principles of Christianity amongst the natives of the Western Territory.” At that time GW replied that the existing Indian warfare prevented “for the present, any intercourse of this nature with them” (GW to Carroll, 10 April 1792). If Carroll subsequently renewed his request about a missionary to the Wabash and Illinois Indians, the document has not been identified. Pierre (Peter)Janin came to the United States from the see of Angers in France. In addition to his government-funded Indian mission, he served as a priest at Kaskaskia, where he remained from August 1795 into 1796. Thereafter, he was a priest at Arkansas Post until late 1799 and a priest at St. Louis from 1800 to 1804, when he chose to leave with the vacating Spanish rather than serve under U.S. rule.

2GW evidently approved a second person, as Jean François (John Francis) Rivet (1757–1804) was appointed to join Janin when the missionaries departed in January 1795 (John Stagg, Jr., to Samuel Hodgdon, 20 Jan. 1795, DNA: RG 217, Consolidated Correspondence File).

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