George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 3 October 1790

To Edmund Randolph

Mount-Vernon October 3rd 1790.

Sir,

I learn with pleasure, by your letter of the 26 ultimo,1 that the person supposed to have been the principal in the murder of the two Indians on pine-creek has been lodged in Lancaster gaol,2 and that it is very probable all the offenders will soon be apprehended.

I cannot avoid expressing my wish that the proceedings, in bringing these persons to justice may be such as will vindicate the laws of our country, and establish a conviction, in the minds of the Indians, of our love of justice and good faith. I am Sir, Your most obedient Servant

G. Washington

Copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

For the background to the Pine Creek murders, see GW to Timothy Pickering, 4 Sept. 1790 (first letter), source note.

1This letter has not been found.

2On 17 Aug. 1790 John Robinson wrote from Pine Creek to Col. Thomas Proctor in Philadelphia that Benjamin, Henry, and Joseph Walker and Samuel Doyle “have upon mature Deliberation been convinced of their Error, and given themselves up to stand their Tryal according to Law.” The murderers must have soon changed their minds and escaped or jumped bail, for William Wilson reported on 11 Oct. 1790 that the Walkers had fled Northumberland County (Pickering to GW, 5 Sept. 1790 [second letter], n.1; Robinson to Proctor, 17 Aug. 1790, Pennsylvania Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends 1st ser., 11 [1885], 719–20).

By that time, however, Samuel Doyle had been apprehended. Wilson had written from Northumberland on 23 Sept. 1790 that Doyle’s own employees had turned him in and claimed the reward money earlier offered by the state. Randolph probably saw Wilson’s letter when it arrived in Philadelphia the weekend of 25–26 Sept. 1790, and he attended the 27 Sept. 1790 state executive council meeting that considered both Wilson’s letter and Lancaster County sheriff James Ross’s letter stating that Doyle was lodged in Lancaster jail (Pennsylvania Archives, description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends Colonial ser., 16 [1853], 464, 483, 484).

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