George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Timothy Pickering, 28 September 1795

To Timothy Pickering

Mount Vernon 28th Septr 1795

Sir,

Two letters from you, dated the 21st instant, and one of the 23d, came to Alexandria by the Post on Friday.1

I will immediately set on foot an enquiry relative to the prospect of obtaining the lands sufficient for an Arsenal at the confluence of the Rivers Potomac & Shenandoah.2 From what I have heard of this site, and partly from what I know of it, it must be the most eligable spot on the whole river in every point of view, for a work of this sort. The object for which the enquiry will be made, can, and will be effectually cloaked by the Gentleman I shall employ to make it.

It is a little suprising that the Treaty with the Western Indians has not been received from Generl Wayne; and very extraordinary that he should permit a copy of it to be taken, especially before it was laid before the proper authorities and approved. I am very sorry to hear that the Shawanees were not fully represented at this Treaty. were the other tribes more so?3

If the information which Mr Seagrove has received from his deputies, relatively to the conclusion of Peace between the Creeks and Chickasaws, is to be relied on, it is an event from which I shall derive much satisfaction; and shall wait anxiously for a confirmation of the news.4

The number of men you propose as a cover for the Stores, & trading Post proposed to be established at Colerain, can, if the Treaty with the Western Indians is (as we understand) concluded, be well spared;5 and as there seems to be as great an occasion for a force to restrain the turbulent & disorderly people on that frontier from disturbing the Peace of the United States as their is for protection against the Indians, I think a garrison of 150 or 200 men according to circumstan⟨ces,⟩ at the place above mentioned, will be properly disposed of, & I desir⟨e⟩ they may be sent accordingly.

Give the dispatches to Mr Pinckney all the chances that may offer immedeately of getting them speedily to hand, or the trouble of preparing them will be lost labour.6 I am glad to find by Governor Fenner’s letter, that the measures adopted by the Genl Government, relatively to the British Vice Consul Moore, and the Captn of the Africa has been satisfactory to the people of Rhode Island7—It has not been so, I perceive, to the Editor of the Aurora; for in that paper, it is set down as a contrivance to [throw]8 the Medusa into the hands of the British.9

Go: Washington

ADfS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. The text in angle brackets is taken from the letter-book copy. A transcription in MHi: Pickering Papers may have been made from the letter received, but it shows no significant differences from the draft.

1Friday was 25 September. GW was referring to Pickering’s first and third letters to him of 21 September.

2GW was responding to comments in Pickering’s third letter of 21 Sept., which replied to GW’s first letter to Pickering of 16 September.

3GW referred to Pickering’s first letter to him of 21 Sept., which brought news of an unofficial account of the treaty. Nine individuals signed the treaty for the Shawnee tribes. Ten individuals signed the treaty for the Wyandot Indians, seventeen for the Delaware (including three from Sandusky), seven for the Ottawas (including one from Sandusky), eleven for the Chippewas, twenty-four for the Potawatomis of the St. Joseph and Huron Rivers, six for the Miami and Eel River tribes, three for the Weas and the Piankashaws, and three for the Kickapoo and Kaskaskia Indians.

4See Pickering’s first letter to GW, 21 Sept., and n.9 to that document.

6The dispatches to Thomas Pinckney were discussed in Pickering’s second letter to GW of 21 September.

7For the letter from Rhode Island governor Arthur Fenner, see Pickering to GW, 23 Sept., n.1.

8GW wrote “through.” The letter-book copy contains the corrected term, as does a transcript in MHi: Pickering Papers.

9On 11 Sept. the Aurora General Advertiser (Philadelphia) reported that Capt. Roddam Home had been ordered from U.S. waters and that the exequatur of Thomas William Moore had been recalled. The newspaper’s account added: “Captain Home, however … having been unsuccessful in his attempt to overtake the Medusa has returned to his station off the harbour of Newport. The order of our executive was, to say the least, unfortunately timed since it sanctioned his pursuing the Medusa within one hour, contrary to the law of nations; That same order may also be unfortunately worded,— requiring perhaps the departure only, of the Africa, without prohibiting her return.”

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