George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 16 April 1792

From Henry Lee

Richmond, 16 April 1792. Transmits a “copy of a letter sent to me by Colonel Arthur Campbell of the county of Washington as it may perhaps convey information useful to you.”1

LB, Vi: Executive Letter Book.

1The original enclosure has not been found, but it was most likely Arthur Campbell’s letter to Lee of 2 Mar. 1792 that reports: “Some indication of resistence seems to be given in the S. W. Territory to permitting the Inhabitants between what is called Henderson and Walker’s Line becoming Citizens of Virginia, agreeably to the late Act of Assembly.” It also covered an extract from a letter dated near Chota, Southwest Territory, 1 Feb., written by an unidentified officer who, Campbell says, “has often given intelligence that has turned out to the advantage of the Publick” (Calendar of Virginia State Papers, description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends 5:479–80). The extract reads: “It is with difficulty that intelligence, (to be relied on,) can be had from the Cherokees at present. The Traders both in and out of the Towns, do all in their power to conceal the murders and robbery of the Indians, and has carefully instructed them the necessity of secrecy in such matters. However, some avenues are yet open thro’ which I receive information. Some Indians have among the frontier Inhabitants favourites, whom they call Comrades, and to whom they will with freedom tell whatever they know.

“Major——is a Comrade to the Chief of [T]ellico, who is one of the most friendly Indians in the Nation. He has lately informed the Major that 20 Warriors from the Town of Nicojac & Crow Town was at the defeat of our Army over ye Ohio, that two of them were slain, one a Chief of small note. Another Indian informed John——of little River Settlement, that 60 Indians of the Chiccamogga Towns were in the battle, and that he saw them at Estanala with several scalps and a great deal of plunder.

“The mischief done in Washington at Mockison Gap, last fall, was done by a party of Cherokees, who lived in a Town at the mouth of Hiwassee. The party that did the mischief in the beginning of the Winter on ye Kentucky road was Cherokees, Commanded by a fellow called Red-Bird Bowles, commonly called Colo. Bowles, who went to England some years ago with Moses Price and some Indian Chiefs; is returned, and resides now among the upper Creeks, and who is endeavoring to engage them in a war with the United States, and that they were preparing to make a stroke in the Spring. M. Gillivray had departed for Pensacola greatly vexed with the conduct of the Creeks for listening to Bowles. Little satisfaction can be got from the Indians respecting the business they went to England. Moses Price says the King of England advised them to live in peace with the United States. But it is curious that the King of England should be at so much trouble and expence for no other purpose but to advise the Indians to be at Peace. Bennet Bellow a few days ago, appeared at Knoxville in a Coat appearingly to be one of the Uniforms of the officers of ye Federal Regiment” (ibid., 480–81).

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