Thomas Jefferson Papers

Report on Boundaries with the Western Indians, 10 March 1793

Report on Boundaries with the Western Indians

The Secretary of state, according to instructions received from the President of the US.


  That, for the information of the Commissioners appointed to treat with the Western Indians, he has examined the several treaties entered into with them, subsequent to the declaration of Independance, and relating to the lands between the Ohio and lakes; and also the extent of the grants, reservations, and appropriations of the same lands, made either by the United States, or by individual states, within the same period, and finds that the lands obtained by the said treaties and not so granted, reserved, or appropriated, are bounded by the following lines, to wit,

Northwardly, by a line running, from the fork of the Tuscarora’s branch of the Muskingum, at the crossing place above Fort Laurence, Westwardly (towards the portage of the Big Miami) to the main branch of that river, then down the Miami to the fork of that river next below the old fort which was taken by the French in 1752. Thence due West to the river de la Panse, and down that river to the Wabash: which lines were established with the Wiandots, Delawares, Chippawas, and Ottawas by the treaty of fort Mc.Intosh, and with the Shawanese by that of the Great Miami.
Westwardly, by the bounds of the Wabash Indians:
Eastwardly, by the Million of acres appropriated to Military claimants by the resolution of Congress of Oct. 22. 1787. and lying in the angle between the VIIth. range of townships counted Westwardly from the Pensylvania boundary, and the Xth. range counted from the Ohio Northwardly along the said VIIth. which Million of acres may perhaps extend Westwardly so as to comprehend the XIIth. range of townships, counted in that direction from the Pensylvania boundary: under which view, the said XIIth. range may be assumed for the Eastern boundary of the territory now under consideration, from the said Xth. range to the Indian line.
Southwardly, by the Northern boundary of the said Xth. range of townships to the Sioto river, and along the said river to what shall be the Northern limit of the appropriations for the Virginia line: (which two last lines are those of the lands granted to the Sioto company): thence along what shall be the Northern limit of the said appropriations of the Virginia line to the Little Miami, and along the same to what shall be the Northern limit of one million of acres of land purchased by John C. Symmes: thence due West along the said Northern limit of the said John C. Symmes to the Great Miami, and down the same to it’s mouth: then along the Ohio to General Clarke’s lands, and round the said lands to the Ohio again, and down the same to the Wabash or the lands of the Indians inhabiting it. Which several lines are delineated on the copy of Hutchins’s map accompanying this report; the dotted parts of the delineation denoting that they are conjectural. And it is further necessary to apprize the Commissioners that, tho’ the points at which these several lines touch the Ohio are taken from actual surveys, yet the country included by the said lines, not being laid down from actual survey, their lengths and intersections with each other and with the watercourses, as appearing in the map, are not at all to be relied on.        No notice is here taken of the lands at the mouth of the Ohio appropriated for military bounties by the same resolution of Congress of Oct. 22. 1787. nor of the settlements of Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Post Vincennes &c. because these can concern no Indians but those of the Illinois and Wabash, whose interests should be transacted with themselves separately,1 and not be permitted to be placed under the patronage of the Western Indians.

Th: Jefferson
Mar. 10. 1793.

PrC (DLC); partially overwritten in a later hand. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, SDR). Entry in SJPL: “Report on our boundary with Northern Indians.”

Washington must have requested this report, which TJ submitted to him this day, at or after the 25 Feb. 1793 meeting of the Cabinet, when it was decided that such lands west of the Ohio as had previously been obtained from the Indians and were not yet granted, reserved, or appropriated could possibly be deeded back to them in exchange for peace (Cabinet Opinions on Indian Affairs, 25 Feb. 1793; Notes on Cabinet Opinions, 26 Feb. 1793; Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 84). In preparing the report TJ drew on his Report on Public Lands, 8 Nov. 1791, parts of which he followed verbatim. For his efforts to obtain additional information, see TJ to George Clinton, 17 Feb. 1793; Tench Coxe to TJ, 7, 8 Mch. 1793; TJ to Coxe, 8 Mch. 1793. This report was among the papers Washington sent to the Cabinet, which he directed to meet during his absence from the capital and draft for his consideration instructions for the American commissioners to the Lower Sandusky peace conference with the Western Indians (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 106; Washington to the Cabinet, 21 Mch. 1793, and note). hutchins’s map: Thomas Hutchins, A New Map of the Western Parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina (London, 1778). The marked copy of this map has not been found, but it was enclosed with Henry Knox’s 26 Apr. 1793 instructions to the Indian commissioners, who were ordered not to agree to relinquish any lands which the map indicated had already been granted by the United States (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Indian Affairs, i, 340–2; Washington to the Cabinet, 17 Feb. 1793, and enclosure).

1Word interlined.

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