George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Henry Knox, 1 September 1791

Tobias Lear to Henry Knox

United States [Philadelphia] September 1st 1791.

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to transmit to the Secy of war a letter from Mr Andw Ellicott, to the President, proposing that Mr Joseph Ellicott should proceed immediately to Georgia to explore the head of the Oconee River preparatory to Mr Andw Ellicott’s executing his business of running the line between the territory of the Creeks & the U.S.1

Should the Secretary of war conceive from Mr A. Ellicott’s account of the man & the business, that it would be proper to accede to his proposal, the Secretary of War is requested to have the necessary credentials prepared & forwarded to Mr Ellicott by the post of tomorrow.2

Tobias Lear.
S. P. U. S.


1The letter from Andrew Ellicott recommending his brother Joseph to GW has not been found.

2Henry Knox informed Tobias Lear this day that he wrote Andrew Ellicott on 31 Aug. “that if he had an assistant who was capable of the business in Georgia that he should repair immediately to this city to receive his instructions, and the necessary advance of money, and go from this place in a vessel which will sail from hence in a few days—This letter Mr Ellicott will receive on saturday—I submit therefore to the President—whether the business ought not to go on in its present train? I believe it will be the most expeditious, and I will again enforce it by another letter to morrow morning” (DLC:GW). Lear noted at the bottom of the letter: “The President thought with the Sey of War that the business had better go on in the present train.” After GW approved Joseph Ellicott to run the boundary line agreed to by the Creek nation and the United States in the 1790 Treaty of New York, Knox instructed Ellicott on 8 Sept. to leave immediately for Rock Landing in Georgia and provided letters to be delivered to Gov. Edward Telfair, Alexander McGillivray, Maj. Richard Call, and the army contractors in Georgia. It was expected that Andrew Ellicott would finish his survey of the federal district and take over the Creek boundary survey before his brother carried the work past Currahee Mountain (ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:128–29).

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