Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington, [7 March 1792]

From George Washington

[7 Mch. 1792]

The enclosed, sent for Mr. Jeffersons perusal, corrobates the idea held out in the communication of Mr. H—d.

G. W.

Extract from Kirkland’s letter, dated Kanandaiqua Feb. 25. 1792. ‘The British at Niagara, hold out this idea, that the U.S. will not be able to refund the confiscated tory estates. Therefore a new boundary line must be made betwixt the two powers, and that this line will probably be from the Genesee to the Ohio, and that their Ambassedor Mr. Hammond is sent over to negociate the business. This is talked of as a serious matter at the garrison and it’s vicinity.’

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 7 Mch. 1792 and recorded in SJPL, in which the entry reads: “G. W. to Th: J. with Kirkland’s letter on the British views”; that part of text following Washington’s initials is in TJ’s hand, being extracted from the enclosure and transcribed at the bottom of text.

Washington must have construed George Hammond’s recent proposal to make Article VII of the Treaty of Paris, which required the British to evacuate the western posts they held in American territory, a subject of negotiation between the British and American governments as the prelude to an effort to secure a revision of the boundary line between the United States and Canada (see Hammond to TJ, 5 Mch. 1792). The British minister did discuss the possibility of altering the line of demarcation between the Western tribes and the United States with an aide to the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada at about this time, but he did not receive formal authorization to raise the issue until the end of May 1792 (Charles Stevenson to John Graves Simcoe, 5 Apr. 1792, The Correspondence of Lieut. Governor John Graves Simcoe, ed. E. A. Cruikshank, 5 vols. [Toronto, 1923–1931], I, 128; Grenville to Hammond, 17 Mch. 1792, Mayo, British Ministers description begins Bernard Mayo, ed., “Instructions to the British Ministers to the United States 1791-1812,” American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1936 description ends , p. 25–7).

The Rev. Samuel Kirkland was a missionary among the Oneidas, the full text of whose 25 Feb. 1792 letter has not been found (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, N.Y., 1928-1936 description ends ).

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