George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 4 January 1793

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

[Philadelphia] January 4th 1793

Dear Sir.

Please to submit the enclosed letter of General Wayne1—Two month’s pay will go as soon as the Bank can prepare the notes. The further pay must depend upon the settlement of accounts, or the payments will get into great disorder—As general Wayne has again sent for the cornplanter, the question is shall Col. Procter go upon that business? Please to return the papers after the President shall have done with them.2 I am, Dear Sir, sincerely yours

H. Knox


1Anthony Wayne’s letter to Knox of 28 Dec., which enclosed “the Cornplanter and New Arrow’s Speech of the 8. Decem” and Wayne’s “second message of the 25th Ultimo to the Cornplanter and New Arrow,” has not been identified (see Knox to Wayne, 5 Jan. 1793, in Knopf, Wayne, description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends 164). In response to instructions from GW, Knox submitted Cornplanter and New Arrow’s speech to Wayne of 8 Dec. 1792 to the U.S. House of Representatives on 5 Jan. and to the Senate on 7 Jan., with his cover letter of 5 Jan. 1793 (see Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 2d Cong., 2d sess., 791; 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 1:337). In their speech the two Seneca chiefs reported on their recent meeting at Au Glaize with the hostile Indians of the Northwest Territory: “After we arrived at their towns, and had acquainted them that it was the wish of General Washington to be at peace with the whole of the Indians, even those from the rising to the setting of the sun: after they had considered, they all, as one, agreed to make a peace; but as General Washington did not let us know the terms on which he would make peace, it was referred to a council the ensuing spring, where they wish he should be present. . . . The Shawanese say, that if they make peace, it will be on these terms: The Americans to allow them all the lands they held in Sir William Johnston’s time; or, at least, that the river Ohio shall be the line, and they be paid for the lands improved on the south side of said river Ohio. These, they say, are the terms, and the only ones, on which they will make peace” (ibid.). The “Notes from Genl. Wayne’s letter,” recorded in GW’s executive journal on 5 Jan. 1793, read: “Opinion of Cornplanter’s Nephew, who was at the Council at Au Glaize—that the hostile Indians will not consent to a peace so long as a white man remains on the NW side of the Ohio—that they do not mean a cessation of hostilities ‘till after the treaty in the spring. A humiliating situation to remain with his hands tied while the enemy are at liberty to act on the Offensive, which they have done with effect. He has not more Officers than to afforurd one relief for the Redoubts & guards necessary for the protection and internal police of the Camp. . . . Pay of the Troops. Five months due—men in want of clothing, which they could procure if they had their pay” (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 3).

2Lear replied to Knox later this date: “By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to return to the Secy of War General Wayne’s letter & it’s enclosures which have been submitted to the President—and to inform the Secretary that the President thinks it would be best to dispatch a special Messenger to bring Cornplanter &c. to this place, as it is highly important to know with as much accuracy as possible the views of the hostile Indians. The President thinks it would be proper to lay a Copy of the Speech of Corn planter and the New Arrow before Congress—and to introduce it by observing that as that business is now before them it is thought proper to communicate to them every thing that can throw light on the subject” (DLC:GW).

On 5 Jan., Knox wrote Wayne: “The Messenger for Red Jacket left this place on the 13 Ult. It is much to be desired to receive further information on this interesting subject—The President is so anxious thereon that he has directed me to send in addition to your speech a special messenger for the Cornplanter; accordingly Col. [Thomas] Procter will depart on the 6. instant for that purpose via Pittsburgh. I sincerely hope he will come as I believe much dependence may be placed upon the importance of the truth of his information. . . . Whatever the terms may be which shall be proposed at the Au Glaize the next spring—the Government seems constrained to adopt the measure of the Conference—We shall always possess the power of rejecting all unreasonable propositions But the sentiments of the great mass of the Citizens of the United States are adverse in the extreme to an Indian War and although these sentiments would not be considered as a sufficient cause for the Government to conclude an infamous peace, yet they are of such a nature as to render it adviseable to embrace every expedient which may honorably terminate the conflict. The President of the United States is so conscious of fair and humane motives to the Indians that his hopes of pacification are founded upon the opportunity of exhibiting those motives to the Indians and impressing them with the truth thereof If the War continues the extirpation and destruction of the Indian tribes are inevitable—This is desired to be avoided, as the honor and future reputation of the Country is more intimately blended therewith than is generally supposed. . . . I believe the Citizens of no Country could more explicitly but peaceably express decided disapprobation of this War than the mass of Citizens from Maryland Eastward—Part of the Southern Citizens seem to think less of the principle of the War than the manner of carrying it on. . . . If after trying every measure peace cannot be obtained but at the price of a sacrifice of national character, it is presumed the Citizens at large will unite as one Man in prosecuting the War with the highest degree of Vigor until it shall be advantageously terminated in all respects. . . . The situation of the Accounts with you has alone caused the pay of the troops to be with held a moment—In all probability Mr. [Daniel] Britt who is acting Pay Master under your immediate orders has a large sum of the pay of the old first regiment in his possession and it appears that no money was forwarded with Major [Michael] Rudulph so that he must also in all probability have in his possession (or the Quarter Master General) a considerable portion of the pay belonging to the troops below you. . . . I have applied for two months more pay than I before mentioned to you making in all four months pay,—If the Secretary of the Treasury advances this it will leave only one month of the last year as an arrear” (Knopf, Wayne, description begins Richard C. Knopf, ed. Anthony Wayne, a Name in Arms: Soldier, Diplomat, Defender of Expansion Westward of a Nation; The Wayne-Knox-Pickering-McHenry Correspondence. Pittsburgh, 1960. description ends 164–67).

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