George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 29 December 1791

From Thomas Mifflin

29th December 1791

Sir

I have the honor to enclose for your information a copy of a second memorial, which has been transmitted to me by the inhabitants of the frontier counties of Pennsylvania.1

In my communication to the legislature upon this subject, I have suggested the propriety of furnishing the militia with an immediate supply of arms and ammunition; and my instructions to the lieutenants of the several exposed counties, will be to cooperate, in case of an emergency with the officers of the fœderal government, conformably to the plan of defence, which the secretary of War has described to me by your directions.2 I am with perfect respect, &c.

Copy, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Reports and Communications Submitted to the Senate.

For background to this letter, see GW to Thomas Mifflin, 23 Dec. 1791.

1The enclosed memorial to Pennsylvania governor Mifflin, dated Pittsburgh, 21 Dec., is signed by Charles Campbell and John Young of Westmoreland County; Alexander Addison, James Marshall, Absalom Bird, Gabriel Blackney, and David Redick of Washington County; Edward Cook, Zadock Springer, and James Paull of Fayette County; and Presley Nevill, James O’Hara, Edward Butler, John Wilkins, John McMasters, Isaac Craig, and John McDowell of Allegheny County. The memorialists express fear that the “late defeat of the army under general St Clair” has exposed western Pennsylvania “to the cruel ravages of a powerful and savage foe.” They urge Mifflin to enlist “eight hundred effective men” as “active partizans under experienced officers” to meet the enemy on equal terms and raise a general alarm in time of need. They also ask the governor to call out the militia of other counties to help defend the frontier and to provide the lieutenants of the frontier counties with more arms and ammunition (DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Reports and Communications Submitted to the Senate).

2Mifflin enclosed a copy of his circular letter of 29 Dec. authorizing the lieutenants of the exposed western counties to employ as many as eight scouts or rangers, who would be paid by the federal government ⅚ of a dollar each per day. He also informs the county lieutenants that “The President of the United States having duly considered the present apprehensions of the counties lying upon the Ohio, and the just causes thereof, arising from the late disaster of the troops under major general St Clair, is desirous of affording, at the expence of the United States all the protection, which the nature of the case may require, and the public means will admit” and that a detachment of U.S. Army recruits had been dispatched to Fort Pitt (DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Reports and Communications Submitted to the Senate). Tobias Lear transmitted Mifflin’s letter and enclosures to Henry Knox on 31 Dec. for report (DLC:GW), and GW presented them to Congress on 30 Jan. 1792 in response to a request from the House of Representatives for documents relating to the defense of the Pennsylvania frontier (see GW to Knox, 26 Jan. 1792).

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