George Washington Papers
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From Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., to Timothy Pickering, 23 May 1795

Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., to Timothy Pickering

23d May 1795.

By order of the President Bw Dandridge respectfully encloses herewith to the Secretary of War, some papers which have been laid before the President by the Quakers of Philadelphia & which are intended to be sent to the hostile Indians.1 The President sees no objection to their being communicated to the Indians agreeably to the wish of the Quakers. The President leaves it with The Secy to forward such Kinds of Goods & in such manner as he shall think best.2

ADf, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1The documents included an address of 22 May from Quaker residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nearby locales by “their Representatives, assembled at Philadelphia.” They sent the message to “our Brothers the Shawanese, Delawares, Wyandots, Miamies and other Nations of Indians, who propose kindling a Council fire at Grenville for establishing Peace” with the United States. The address recounted expectations of a council fire of peace at Sandusky two years earlier. Six Quakers had traveled there “under a desire of affording their assistance to make the … fire burn Bright,” but a treaty had not resulted. War continued and the “Accounts received from your Country of so much Blood being shed have occasioned our Lamentation and Mourning.”

The Quakers had then sent an address and a small gift to the natives, the latter forwarded “as a Token of our Love and remembrance of you.” The gift had not been delivered, and because they did not know whether the Indians had received the address, the Quakers now sent a copy of that communication. “It affords us much Comfort,” the Quakers continued, “that a stop is so far put to the further effusion of Blood, and we earnestly desire, that in the Council fire now about to be kindled your Trust and Dependence may be on the Great Overuling Spirit of Peace and Love, whereby he may be pleased so to influence and direct your Council,” and that war “may no more be heard in your Land.”

The Quakers expressed grief “at beholding the sad Effects produced in unguarded Men, of whatever Nation, from the excessive use of Strong Drink, and particularly on the Indian People even when deliberating on the solemn Business of Treaties.” They urged the Indians “to abstain from that evil practice.” The address further encouraged the natives to place their “Trust and confidence … on the Great and Good Spirit; and that by inward Watchfulness and Prayer, your Minds may become enlightened, more clearly to see, the impropriety of Men shedding the Blood of their Fellow Men; thus might you gradually be redeemed from that unquiet and revengeful Spirit, from which Wars proceed.”

The Quakers closed their address with a “desire” for the Indians to achieve a “further acquaintance with the pure and peaceable Spirit of the Gospel.” They expressed a belief that the tribes would “experience many benefits by having your Children taught to Read and Write, and to Till the Earth,” as the Quakers had urged in their first address (PHi: Wayne Papers).

2On 30 May, Pickering sent Gen. Anthony Wayne a letter enclosing two addresses from the Quakers to the Indians with whom Wayne planned to make a treaty, along with “an invoice of a present of goods to be delivered when the addresses shall be interpreted,” and a letter to Wayne from the Quakers. Pickering wrote in his cover letter: “The President has seen and approves of the proceedings of the Quakers; and I have to request that you will embrace the earliest convenient opportunity to exhibit these proofs of their good intentions and of their friendship to the Indian Tribes” (PHi: Wayne Papers; also printed in Knopf, Wayne, description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends 421).

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