George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Thomas Mifflin, 19 June 1795

From Thomas Mifflin

Philadelphia: 19th June 1795.


Inclosed I have the honor to transmit to you, copies of the communications, which I have received, respecting the hostilities committed by the Indians, on the Western frontier of this State; of the Instructions I have given to Major General Gibson, to provide more effectually for the protection of the inhabitants in that quarter; and of a letter to Judge Addison, requesting an official investigation of the report that those hostilities have been provoked by previous aggressions on the part of our Citizens.1 As the recruiting service for the garrisons at Le Boeuf and Presqu’-isle, does not proceed so expeditiously, as the general object, and recent occurrences, would induce us to wish, I have extended the extract from General Irvine’s letter, in order to submit to your consideration, a mode in which that difficulty may, perhaps, be obviated, without interfering with the other arrangements of the Union.2 I have the honor to be, With perfect respect, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servant

Thomas Mifflin

LB, PHarH, Executive Letterbooks; LB (rough copy), PHarH, Executive Letterbooks; Df, PHarH, Executive Correspondence. The draft is in the writing of Alexander James Dallas.

1Mifflin enclosed an extract of Pennsylvania militia general William Irvine’s letter to him of 10 June; copies of militia general John Gibson’s letter to him of 9 June; two letters of 5 June from William Power to Gibson; and Mifflin’s letters of 19 June to Gibson and to Judge Alexander Addison.

Gibson had enclosed the two letters from Power, which reported attacks “by a Strong party of Indians” in which several people had been killed. Power had “no Doubt that Flying Cloud is out with a Large Party.” Irvine reported “authenticated accounts that the savages have killed two men on the 3d instant on French Creek about fifteen miles above Fort Franklin” and gave his opinion that it was not western Indians but “the six nations” who “planned & perpetrated this act” (all PHarH, Executive Correspondence).

Mifflin’s letter to Gibson gave him authority “to be exercised only in case of actual necessity” to raise “one complete company of expert Riflemen” to protect the frontier. He also directed Gibson to “restrain” the citizens “from offering violence to the peaceable and friendly Indians,” lest “a spirit of retaliation” should “recoil upon the perpetrators, or their unoffending and unsheltered friends and neighbours.” The letter to Addison directed that if he found evidence of “lawless aggressions” against the Indians he should “proceed against the offenders, in such judicial forms as shall, in your opinion, be best calculated to demonstrate the justice of our Country, and to conciliate the confidence and good-will of the Indians” (both PHarH, Executive Letterbooks).

2In the letter of 10 June, Irvine proposed that the approximately eighty men detained at Pittsburgh by smallpox while en route to joining Gen. Anthony Wayne, and the two companies of infantry recently re-enlisted by Daniel Morgan, could be diverted by the secretary of war “to begin the establishment on the lake, and at the same time keep the six nations in awe … and then all the Troops of the state could be assigned to the Commissioners” for Presque Isle. On 20 June, Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., sent Mifflin’s letter with its enclosures to Secretary of War Timothy Pickering “for his consideration.” Dandridge noted: “The President wishes the Secretary to consider particularly, whether it may be proper to adopt what is suggested in the Extract of a letter from Genl Irvine” (ADf, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW).

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