George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 7 March 1792

To Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia, 7 March 1792]1

The enclosed,2 sent for Mr Jeffersons perusal, corrobates the idea held out in the communication of Mr H——d.


ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers.

At the bottom of the letter, Jefferson wrote: “Extract from [Samuel] Kirkland’s letter [to Henry Knox], dated Kanandaiqua Feb. 25. 1792. ‘The British at Niagara, hold out this idea, that the U.S. will not be able to refund the confiscated Tory estates—therefore a new boundary line must be made betwixt the two powers, & that this line will probably be from the Genesee to the Ohio, & that their Ambassedor mister Hammond is sent over to negociate the business. this is talked of as a serious matter at the garrison & it’s vicinity.’” Kirkland’s incomplete draft of his letter of 25 Feb. does not give the addressee and contains textual variations. It adds, furthermore, that the probable new boundary will extend to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and notes that the British later “shall erect a fortress at Grand River—& another opposite to Detroit—where the Indians shall be encouraged & protected—this latter is indian report—the former, is talked of as a serious matter at Niagara & its vicinity” (NCH: Kirkland Papers).

Jefferson wrote in a memorandum on 11 Mar. 1792: “a few days after, came to hand Kirkland’s letter informing us that the British at Niagara expected to run a new line between them & us, and the reports of [Peter] Pond & [William] Stedman [Steedman], informing us it was understood at Niagara that Capt. [Charles] Stevens [Stevenson] had bn sent here by [John Graves] Simcoe to settle that plan with Hammd. hence Hamilton’s attack of the principle I had laid down, in order to prepare the way for this new line” (Jefferson’s Memoranda of Consultations with the President, 11 Mar.—9 April 1792, DLC: Jefferson Papers).

For the background to Anglo-American relations and Hammond’s communication to Jefferson of 5 Mar. 1792, see GW to Jefferson, c.5–6 Mar., source note and note 2.

1Jefferson endorsed this letter as having been received on 7 March.

2The original enclosure has not been found.

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