George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from George Clinton , 28 July 1794

From George Clinton

New York 28 July 1794

Sir

In order to furnish you with the earliest and fullest Information of the Proceedings of the Commissioners appointed by this State to fortify our Northern and Western frontier,

I take the Liberty to enclose various communications made by them to Me: Previous to their entering upon the Business I explained to them your Ideas on the Subject as contained in a Letter from the Secretary of war of the 20th May last and I flatter myself that the measures adopted by them are conformable thereto.1

The enclosed papers as well as other accounts I have occasionally received evince an unfriendly disposition in our neighbouring Indians & should they proceed to actual Hostilities the want of Arms especially in our frontier Settlements is greatly to be regretted.

Every mean In the Power of the State has been used to supply the Deficiency but without Effect nor can I hope that it will be accomplished but by the slow and precarious mode of Importation unless it can be done by the general Government. In which Case the most satisfactory arrangements will be made for their Return in equal good Order. Some Pieces of Small Ordinance will be also necessary for the different Posts that the Commissioners are about to erect. Which I cannot seasonably supply without the same Assistance.2 I have the Honor &c.

Geo. Clinton

Copy, N-Ar: Correspondence, petitions, and reports on defense of the frontier, Onondaga Salt Springs, and other subjects, 1791-1830. The copy most likely was among documents submitted in support of Clinton’s message to the New York legislature of 3 Jan. 1795.

1For Secretary of War Henry Knox’s letter to Clinton of 20 May, see Clinton to GW, 8 May, n.1. The enclosed papers evidently included letters from the commissioners to Clinton of 27 June and 2 July (see Clinton to Steuben, Stephen Van Rensselaer, and William North, 17 July, NHi: George Clinton Papers). The 27 June letter discussed the renovation of Fort Stanwix to serve "as a place of rendezvous for the Troops and Inhabitants and as a deposit for Stores" and the commissioners’ orders for construction of a fort at Onondaga as well as for stockading a number of smaller outposts. The 2 July letter informed Clinton of the commissioners’ plans "to erect a Fort to be composed of a Blockhouse surrounded by Palisadoes in a regular form, at . . . Canawagaras on the East Side of the Genesee River, Canandarque on the North End of the Canandarque Lake, and at Bath, on the Cohocton River," and discussed problems in gathering materials for the Fort Stanwix renovation (N-Ar: Correspondence, petitions, and reports on defense of the frontier, Onondaga Salt Springs, and other subjects, 1791-1830).

2Knox responded by sending Clinton orders to the military storekeepers at Albany and Fort Renssalaer to supply the state with 1,000 muskets, bayonets, and cartridge boxes and such artillery as Clinton might direct, the arms to be considered a "loan" to the state (Clinton to unknown, 2 Aug, N-Ar: Correspondence, petitions, and reports on defense of the frontier, Onondaga Salt Springs, and other subjects, 1791-1830).

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