Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Beverley Randolph, 18 February 1793

To Beverley Randolph

Philadelphia Feb. 18. 1793.

Dear Sir

A great assembly of the Northern and Western Indians is to be held at Sanduskey in the approaching spring, to be met by three Commissioners from the general government to treat of peace. It is highly important that some person from the Southward, possessing the public confidence, should be in the commission: and a person too who has firmness enough to form opinions for himself. Though I knew that your health was sometimes in default, yet I have ventured to propose you to the President who joined at once in the wish that you would undertake it, and I expect he writes to you by this post. It will be the greatest collection of Indians (about 3000) which has ever taken place, and from very distant and various parts. The route thither will be through N. York, the Hudson, the Mohawk, L. Ontario, Niagara, and L. Erie, and you could return by Fort Pitt. The season the finest of the year, and I presume every accomodation will be provided which the nature of the service admits. I am not able to say what the allowance will be, but I believe it has usually been 6. or 8. Doll. a day exclusive of expences. But this is guess-work in me.—I hope you will resolve to undertake it, as I conceive the public interest intimately concerned in the conducting of this treaty, and on that consideration I am confident you will sacrifice any private disinclination to it. Be pleased to present my best respects to Mrs. Randolph & to be assured of the esteem with which I am Dear Sir, your friend & servt

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU); addressed: “Beverley Randolph esq. Cumberland by the Richmond post”; franked; postmarked. PrC (DLC). Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy.

Acting on the advice of Edmund Randolph, Washington had requested the Attorney General on 17 Feb. to inform Beverley Randolph that he would be nominated to serve as a commissioner to the forthcoming Sandusky Indian conference. Randolph was also asked to induce the acceptance of the former governor of Virginia and to request that he be in Philadelphia early in April. The following day the President asked Postmaster General Timothy Pickering to serve as a commissioner. He undoubtedly made a similar request to Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts, the former Revolutionary War general who was currently serving as federal customs collector in Boston. Lincoln, like Pickering, was in Philadelphia at this time and had had extensive experience in Indian negotiations (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 40, 57, 58, 76). Washington submitted the nominations of Lincoln, Pickering, and Randolph to the Senate on 1 Mch. 1793 and they were confirmed the following day, even before Randolph received TJ’s letter (Beverley Randolph to TJ, 14 Mch. 1793; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 135, 136).

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