James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 8 January 1813 (Abstract)

§ From James Monroe

8 January 1813, War Department. Forwards “copies of the several letters1 which have passed between the Secretary of War and his Excellency the Governor of Tennessee and Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, Agent near the Creek Nation, relative to murders committed by the Indians in the State of Tennessee and its vicinity.”2

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 46, President’s Messages, 12A-E6); letterbook copy (DNA: RG 107, LSP). RC 1 p. RC and enclosures forwarded by JM to the Senate on 11 Jan. 1813; printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Indian Affairs, 1:811–14. For enclosures, see n. 2.

1On 24 Dec. 1812 the Senate had approved a resolution requesting that the president provide “any correspondence that may have taken place between the Secretary of War and the Governor of Tennessee, and Mr. Hawkins, agent near the Creek nation, relative to the murders committed by Indians within the State of Tennessee” (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 2d sess., 36).

2Monroe enclosed extracts and copies (31 pp.) of twenty-one letters exchanged by William Eustis, Benjamin Hawkins, and Willie Blount between 6 Apr. and 24 Nov. 1812. The correspondence concerned a series of murders committed by the Creek Indians of white settlers living along the Duck and Tennessee Rivers. For the murders of Thomas Meredith Sr., William Lott, and members of the Crawley family, as well as the capture and torture of Mrs. Crawley, Hawkins suggested that “a show of force will be necessary within the [Creek] agency.” In his 25 June 1812 letter to Eustis, Governor Blount also recommended that the government order a campaign against the Creeks to punish them for their crimes. The Creek Council promised to avenge these crimes themselves, and Eustis hoped that the swift administration of justice on the offenders would obviate the need to campaign against the Creeks. Hawkins informed the secretary of war and the Tennessee governor that the Creeks intended “to punish the guilty, and look for nothing but friendship.” By the end of August 1812 they had “executed eight for murder, and seven are cropped and whipped for theft.” Subsequently Hawkins obtained “reiterated assurances from the Creeks and Cherokees, of their unanimous determination to be in peace and friendship with the United States, and of their unbounded confidence in the justice of their President.”

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