George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Joseph de Barth and Mr. Thiebaud, 19 May 1790

From John Joseph de Barth and Mr. Thiebaud

New York 19th May. 1790.


A great number of french people are arrived in this Country with an intention to settle on lands, which they have respectively acquired from the agents of the Scioto Company residing in Paris; which lands are situated between the Ohio & Scioto rivers in the Western territory of the United States, as expressed in the Contract between the United States and Messrs Sergent & Cutler.

Independent of the duty which obliges them to offer to the United States an homage of the most profound respect, and most perfect submission to all the laws of their new Country, in quality of new subjects and faithful Citizens; these emigrants determine to sacrifice their lives & property, in whatever manner it may depend on them to promote the public good. They hope therefore they may be permited to implore the protection of the supreme power of the United States for their persons and property; which they have conceived to be in great danger from the numerous accounts in the public papers, as well as from the reports of individuals respecting the depredations of the savages committed on the inhabitants in that quarter.

Under these circumstances, sir, in the name of our Countrymen & associates we have presumed to supplicate you to direct the Governor & Officers in the Western territory to afford us such military support as the nature of our situation may from time to time require; and of which we may have the more occassion as the distance between the two principal establishments we are about to form, makes it difficult to act in concert.

We most ardently supplicate the great author of all good for the speedy & perfect establishment of your precious health; & permit us sir to assure you, that in obtaining this favour, Our gratitude will be equalled only by the respect—with which we are sir Your most Obedient and most humble servants1

De Barth

for ourselves and associates

Copy, PHi: Scioto Land Company Papers.

For background to this document, see Louis Le Bègue de Presle Duportail to GW, 10 Feb. 1790 and notes.

1GW replied to the Scioto Associates’ letter on 30 June 1790: “At the time when your first application arrived, my health was unfortunately in such an impaired condition as to prevent me from attending to any business whatever. My sickness at that period, also, deprived me of the pleasure of seeing several Gentlemen concerned in the Scioto Settlement, who were then in this Town. Upon my recovery, and before those Gentlemen had returned to Alexandria, I received another Address. But understanding that arrangements had been made to remove most or all of the difficulties which had occurred; and understanding likewise that the Persons best advised on the subject were well satisfied with the measures which had been taken, and in general with the prospects I omitted to acknowledge the receipt of those applications at an earlier day. The variety of objects which demanded my immediate attention, on the re-establishment of my health must be considered (as was really the case) a principal occasion of this delay on my part.

The design of this letter is particularly to acquaint you, Gentlemen, that I had not through inattention neglected taking notice of your Addresses; to wellcome you upon you⟨r⟩ arrival in this Country; and to assure you of all that Countenance and protection from the general Government of the United States which the Constitution and Laws will enable the Executive to afford under existing circumstances” (ALS, owned [1970] by Mr. Blanchard Randall, Jr., Charleston, West Virginia).

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