George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Ezekiel Scott, 14 December 1792

From Ezekiel Scott

[Philadelphia, 14 December 1792]

Proposition by Ezekiel Scott of Farmington Connecticut that for the purpose of obtaining and Commeunicating Intelligence from time to time to the Executive of the United States, of the temper & designs of the Indians and of the plans & measures of the British Connected with them, as they may respect the United States a seuitable person be stationed at Detroit a man in w[h]om the United States can place entier confidence in, and who at the Same time is well known to and respected by the British officers and Agents &C. and that to Conceal his real object, he assume the character of an Indian trader and take with him a proper assortment of goods, that he be a person who has heretofore acted in that capasity and formerly an Indian trader in Detroit, So as to have formed acquaintance & connections there & with the western Indians, it will better premote the design. that if found expedent, that he purchase a house lot thare, and in due time take his family with him. that he employ two Confidential persons as a Clark & Servant, by whom or by him-self, all important intelligance may be personally conveyed to Executive of the United States that these Stocks of goods be taken on his own accomst and from time to time the proceuring of goods and Supplies will furnish a reason for making jurnies to the United Stats or at least to Niagara from Whence the Communication would be easy to the Superintendant of Indian affairs at Canandarqua the amarican prisners that may be another object interesting to humanity and especially beneficeal to the United States, the preposer begs leve to add that he r[e]ceided in detroit as an Indian trader part of the time from 1767 to Septer 1774 and with the Indians west, and had oppertunity of contracting and Did Contract acquaintance & connections with both indians and white people, and if in ether respect he Shall be Judged a fit person to be employed in the preposed plan he would undertake it.1

AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. The docket reads in part: “Decr 14t 1792.”

Connecticut native Ezekiel Scott (born c.1760) served as a captain in the 2d Connecticut Regiment under Col. Samuel Wyllys in 1775 and in Wyllys’s 22d Continental Regiment during 1776. He continued under Wyllys’s command, at least through 1780 when he was listed on the 24 Dec. 1780 payroll for the 7th Company of Wyllys’s 3d Connecticut Regiment (see Lists and Returns of Conn. Men, description begins Lists and Returns of Connecticut Men in the Revolution. 1775–1783. Hartford, 1909. In Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, vol. 12. description ends 194). Scott was living in Wayne County, N.Y., in May 1830 when he applied for a military pension (see White, Genealogical Abstracts, description begins Virgil D. White. Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files. 4 vols. Waynesboro, Tenn., 1990–92. description ends 3:3044).

1GW did not appoint Scott to any federal position despite the enclosed recommendations from Connecticut senators Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth of 12 December. “I have not much personal Acquaintance with him,” Sherman wrote from Philadelphia, “but have heard him Spoken of as a Gentleman of Integrity and a good Citizen.” Ellsworth described Scott as being “reputed friendly to the interests of his Country” and “of an active & adventrous turn of mind, & from the course of his business of late years, has had occasion repeatedly to be at Niagara” (both enclosures are in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). For another opinion on Scott’s qualifications and for Henry Knox’s submission of this letter and the enclosed recommendations, see Knox to GW, 15 Dec. 1792.

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