George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Beverley Randolph, 5 August 1789

From Beverley Randolph

Richmond August 5th 1789.


Two Chiefs of the Cherokee nation of Indians arrived here a few days ago accompanied by Mr Bennet Ballew, who has full powers from a number of Towns to lay before you their Grievances, and to make some proposals, which may eventually preserve harmony between the citizens of the United States and the Indians, and perhaps be productive of considerable advantages to both parties.1 It is at the particular request of these unfortunate people, that I introduce them to you. They appear to me to have been much oppressed, should you view them in this light, your well known regard to public as well as private justice will insure to them every exertion of your power in their behalf. I am unacquainted with Mr Ballew, but I think I owe it to him to inform you, that he is strongly recommended to me by the Honorable William Fleming, as an honest, upright, intelligent man.2 I have the Honour to be with the highest respect your obt Servant.

Beverley Randolph

LS, and transcript, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, President’s Messages—Indian Relations. This letter was submitted to the Senate with GW’s report of 22 Aug. 1789.

1This may have been the visit promised by the Cherokee chief Keenetteteh. See his letter to GW, 25 May 1789. The chiefs arrived in New York City on 22 August. Tristram Dalton observed on 23 Aug. that “Two of the Cherokee Chiefs came to Town yesterday Morning, to address their Elder Brother, the President, on the deplorable situation of their Nation” (Dalton to Caleb Strong, MNFL: Caleb Strong Collection). Bennet Ballew was on his way to New York in company with the chiefs to submit to GW his memorial of 22 Aug. 1789.

2William Fleming (1728–1795), a Scottish physician educated at Edinburgh, served with GW in the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War. After the war he settled in Staunton, Va., and became an expert in the military and Indian affairs of the frontier, often serving on commissions to investigate land titles and public accounts.

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