George Washington Papers
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Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 11 July 1791

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

Philadelphia, 11 July [1791]. Requests that “some information just received by express” be submitted to the president; “After he shall have perused them I will wait upon him to receive his orders.”1

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1A docket on the original receiver’s copy and a note at the bottom of the letter-book copy identify the enclosures as dispatches from Maj. Gen. Richard Butler at Fort Pitt. Henry Knox’s reply of 12 July to Butler’s dispatch states:“Yesterday morning, at eight o’clock, I received your favor of the 2d instant, by express, James McClellan. The information of Thomas Rhea, whose affidavit you transmitted, was, indeed, of the importance to justify a special express. It has been submitted to the President . . . , who will take it into his most serious consideration. To quarrel, and come to an open rupture with the crown of Britain, would, in the present situation of this country, be a very serious affair, and to be avoided, if possible, consistently with national honor and dignity. . . . Indeed, it is hardly to be doubted, if the facts alleged by Rhea be true, but this instance of aid to the Indians, will be followed by others” (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 1:190–91). After George Beckwith read in the Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia), 13 July, about Rhea’s capture by Indians whom he later witnessed receiving military supplies from the British, he protested to Alexander Hamilton that “Insofar as Ray’s declarations may have a tendency to excite any suspicions of an unfriendly nature on the part of the King’s government, they are totally devoid of truth, and as such, I trust will not be credited” (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 8:544–46). Rhea’s narrative appears in 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 1:196–97.

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