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Tobias Lear to Henry Knox, 11 December 1792

Tobias Lear to Henry Knox

United States [Philadelphia] Decr 11th 1792

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to return to the Secretary of War the Speeches to the Chiefs of the Six Nations and to the hostile Indians which have been submitted to the President, and to inform the Secretary that their contents embrace the President’s ideas on that subject.1 The President observes that the Secretary will write to General Wayne respecting Corn Planter, and to Genl Chapin respecting Red Jacket as he intended.2

Tobias Lear.
Secretary to the president of the United States

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1The enclosed speech to the chiefs of the Six Nations has not been identified. In his speech of 12 Dec. 1792 “To the Sachems, Chiefs & Warriors of the Wyandots, Delawares, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatamies, Shawanese, and Miamis and the Head men of all the other Tribes in alliance with them,” Knox acknowledged receipt of their messages suggesting a conference with U.S. commissioners the following spring. “The President of the United States, embraces your proposal,” Knox wrote, “and he will send Commissioners, to meet you at the time and place appointed, with the sincere desire of removing all causes of difference, so that we may be always hereafter good Friends and Brothers.” The United States would send “a full supply of Provisions” for use during the treaty. “We shall prevent any of our Parties, going into the Indian Country, so that you may with your Women & Children, rest in full Security; and we desire, and shall expect, that you call in all your Warriors, and prevent their going out again. It will be in vain to expect peace, while they continue their depredations on the frontiers” (“Canadian Archives. Colonial Office Records: Michigan,” description begins “Canadian Archives. Colonial Office Records.” Collections and Researches Made by the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan, vols. 23:603-80; 24:1-699; 25:1-681. 1895-96. description ends 518–19).

2Knox’s letter to Anthony Wayne of 15 Dec. expressed the hope that the Seneca chief Cornplanter had complied with Wayne’s invitation to visit him. “If any thing should prevent his coming to you,” Knox wrote, “I pray you to send him an invitation afresh, and urge him to come to this place.” Cornplanter was needed, Knox said, to help explain “facts contained in the communications of the six Nations” that Knox recently had received. “Persuade him to come here as soon as possible—as an inducement you may hold forth to him reasonable rewards” (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 151).

Knox wrote Israel Chapin, Sr., on 12 Dec.: “Your Son will have explained to you the conference which he had with the Senecas and others of the six Nations at Buffaloe Creek in November, and informed you of the purport of messages received from the hostile Indians through the Six Nations. And you will observe how the said Speeches have been received and treated by the messages, to the said hostile Indians, and the six Nations, which are in charge of Mr Jasper Parrish.

“It is now important that the message to the hostile Indians should be forwarded by some trusty Senekas as soon as possible. You will therefore repair to Buffaloe Creek and urge the departure of the Messengers and Speeches.

“It is also necessary that Red Jacket and one other of the Chiefs should repair to this City as soon as may be. It is understood that it was his desire to come personally with the message from the hostile Indians, but that your Son waved the measure on account of the expence. Although economy in general be essential to be observed, yet it was never less proper than in the case alluded to, as additional information to the speeches forwarded is indispensible.

“In order that there shall be no embarassments to the measures herein directed for want of means, I have issued my warrant in your favour for five hundred dollars for which you will be held accountable and which will be delivered to you by the said Jasper Parrish” (NHi: Henry O’Reilly Collection). Despite Knox’s invitation Red Jacket did not visit Philadelphia that winter. Instead six other Seneca chiefs, identified by Knox in his letter to Anthony Wayne of 26 Jan. 1793 as “the farmers Brother, the Young King, the Infant, the Shining Breast plate, and two inferiors,” arrived in Philadelphia on 20 Jan. 1793 (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 178; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 31).

For the speeches from the Six Nations and the hostile Indians of the Northwest Territory, see Knox to GW, 6 Dec. 1792, and note 2.

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