George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 12 August 1790

To Edmund Randolph

United States [New York] August 12th 1790

Sir,

In reply to the wish expressed in your letter of this date,1 to go to Philada on monday next, I can only observe, that my concurrence therein will not be withheld if there are no obstructions of an official nature; and this you can best ascertain yourself. I would however, just mention, that as it may be necessary for me, in pursuance of the law to regulate trade & commerce with the Indian Tribes,2 to issue a proclamation3 enjoining upon the people of the U.S. a strict observance of such treaties & regulations as are concluded with, and made respecting, the Indian tribes, and forbidding any encroachments to be made by them on the grounds or territories of the Indians, it might be best for you to see the Secretary of State or the Secy of War, or both, upon this subject before your departure.4 I am Sir Yr most Obedt st

G.W.

Df, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

GW apparently was concerned with finding a means of empowering the 22 July 1790 act regulating Indian trade, as well as the trade provisions of the Creek peace treaty ratified by the Senate on 12 Aug. 1790, without revealing the secret articles concluded with Alexander McGillivray. The result of the consultations of his department heads and attorney general was a proclamation published two weeks later (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 4 Aug. 1790, Enclosure, source note, and 7 Aug. 1790 [second letter] and note 4, Proclamation, 14 Aug. 1790, n.5, Proclamation, 26 Aug. 1790; Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 17:388–89).

1Randolph’s letter to GW of 12 Aug. 1790 has not been found.

2For the 22 July 1790 act to regulate trade with the Indians, see GW to the U.S. Senate, 4 Aug. 1790, Enclosure, source note.

4On 13 Aug. 1790 Randolph wrote to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson: “Will the president be obliged to publish a proclamation in consequence of the Indian treaty? He desired me to inquire into this matter from you, as he wishes me to draw it, if it be issued” (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 17:388).

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