George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 16 February 1792

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

[Philadelphia] Thursday 9⟨illegible⟩ Febry 16 [1792]

Dear Sir

I will wait upon the President after Breakfast, and at half past eight tomorrow Morning being desirous of finishing all things relative to the cherokees this evening—They will depart on Saturday, will it be Convenient for the President to bid them farewell at 12 oClock tomorrow?1 I am Yours sincerely

H. Knox


For the background to this letter, see Henry Knox to GW, 17 Jan. 1792, and GW to the U.S. Senate, 18 Jan. 1792. In preparation for the departure of the Cherokee delegation, Knox wrote Tobias Lear on 14 Feb.: “It seems on inquiry not only doubtful whether the proper Goods may be obtained at Richmond and Petersburg, but if attainable, whether the advanced prices would not materially lessen the quantity of Goods. Of both these points the Indians are suspicious. I am therefore making inquiry 1st what would be the weight of their Goods 2dly The expence and time of transportation to Richmond, or perhaps Stanton. The result I expect to know at 12 oClock. Every thing on my part will be ready to day. The Messages, to the other tribes—Instructions to Mr Shaw, and letters to Governor Blount. The Indians and their baggage without their Goods for the nation, will require two stage waggons—These cannt be obtained under two days. If they have to wait for their goods they will be able to depart in about four days—But this will not on the whole retard them, as they would have to wait much longer at Richmond. In case of their detention here, which I am inclined to think the most preferable, I submit the idea to the President of their postponing to wait upon him until the day preceding their departure—If however he should order them to day, they shall wait upon him At the time he shall please to direct” (DLC:GW). Knox’s instructions to Leonard Shaw, the temporary agent assigned to accompany the Cherokee delegation home, are in 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 1:247–48.

1Knox concluded negotiations with the Cherokee chiefs on 17 Feb., signing an additional article of the Treaty of Holston that increased the annual payment to the Cherokee nation from $1,000 to $1,500. GWbade farewell to the Cherokee on 17 Feb. and signed the formal instrument of ratification the same day (Carter, Territorial Papers, description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends 4:120–21). The Cherokee left Philadelphia on 18 Feb. (see GW to Charles Pinckney, 31 Jan.–20 Feb. 1792, postscript). On 23 Feb. Knox sent Lear a copy of GW’s “Speech to the Cherokees,” which has not been found. Knox’s letter also covered his latest instructions to James Seagrove (DLC:GW; see also Knox to GW, 18 February).

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