George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 12 February 1793

To Edmund Randolph

United States [Philadelphia] Feby 12th 1793


The Hostile Indians having requested that all the Treaties which have been entered into with the several Western & Northern Tribes, may be produced at the proposed meeting at Sandusky.1

Therefore in order, that the Commissioners, for the proposed treaty, should be fully informed on the subject of their mission, it would be proper, that a summary view, should be formed of all the Treaties which have been made with the Aforesaid Indians, from the treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768 to the present time inclusively—and any well-grounded exceptions to the validity of any treaty to be noticed.2

The parties on both sides which made the several treaties— and in cases of the relinquishment of lands, the consideration given should be specified.

And perhaps, to have a more comprehensive view of the subject, it would be necessary to extend the inquiry prior to the time above mentioned, so as to comprehend any treaties with the French, relatively to the cession of lands by the Indians north west of the Ohio.

In the inquiry, it will be necessary to note as far as the information shall be attainable, the acknowledged proprietors of the lands relinquished to the whites, as may have been conceded generally by other Indians bordering on the tribes who may have relinquished the said lands.

I request that you will undertake this subject, and lay the result before me at as early a period as conveniently may be.3

G. W——n

Df, in the writing of Benjamin Bankson and Tobias Lear, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW. The bulk of the draft is in War Department clerk Bankson’s writing; Lear added the first paragraph and the final clause of the second paragraph, eliminated Bankson’s complimentary closing, and made several stylistic changes.

1On the proposed treaty to be held at Lower Sandusky, see Lear to Henry Knox, 11 Dec. 1792, and note 1, and GW to Charles Carroll (of Carrollton) and Charles Thomson, 23–31 Jan. 1793, and note 2.

2For the appointment of Commissioners Benjamin Lincoln, Beverley Randolph, and Timothy Pickering, see GW to U.S. Senate, 1 Mar. 1793 (second letter). For treaties between the United States and various Indian nations that Randolph probably reviewed, see Kappler, Indian Treaties, description begins Charles J. Kappler, ed. Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties. 5 vols. Washington, D.C., 1903–41. description ends 2:3–33. The 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix between the Iroquois and other northern Indians and Great Britain is in E. B. O’Callaghan and Berthold Fernow, eds., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York, 15 vols. (Albany, 1853–87), 8:135–37.

3Randolph presented his report, which has not been identified, to GW on 18 Mar. (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 94).

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