James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Horatio Gates, 26 November 1787

From Horatio Gates

Travellers Rest1 26th: Novem. 1787.

Dear Sir

I take the Liberty to request your attention to an application to be made by Major Drumgole to Congress in behalf of the Cherokee Nation. Perhaps the Major may not be considered as the Official Character from whom in due course this application should come, but, as he is clearly the person the Cherokees confide in, I think so insubstantial a Fo[r]m may be dispersed with.2 Every thing I hear, every thing I know, convinces me, that unless we have as Speedily as possible a Firm, Efficient, Federal Constitution establishd, all must go to Ruin, and Anarchy and Misrule, blast every Hope that so Glorious a Revolution entitled us to Expect. I am dear Sir with The Greatest Respect Your most Obedient Humble Servant

Horatio Gates

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Gates’s estate in Berkeley County, now Jefferson County, West Virginia.

2Maj. Alexander Dromgoole had served in the Virginia militia during the Revolution (Gwathmey, Historical Register of Virginians, p. 237). After the war he traded with the Cherokee at their village of Echota, on the Little Tennessee River, and in that capacity acted as an emissary to the tribe on the part of Virginia and Congress. Seeking permanent employment from Congress, Dromgoole traveled to New York in December 1787, carrying this letter and another from the Cherokee to the president of Congress, dated 8 Sept. 1787, requesting that Dromgoole be appointed superintendent for their tribe. The letter from the Cherokee was referred to the secretary at war, who reported on 25 Feb. 1788 that he could not make the appointment. In denying the request Secretary Knox cited the ordinance regulating Indian affairs, which specifically prohibited superintendents and their deputies from trading with the Indians (Dromgoole to Edmund Randolph, 15 Sept. and 18 Dec. 1787, CVSP description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , IV, 341, 368; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXII, 353–54; XXXIV, 10 n., 14, 59–60). See also Virginia Delegates to Randolph, 11 Dec. 1787; Charles Pettit to William Irvine, 29 Dec. 1787, Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VIII, 692.

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