George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Hawkins, 20 February 1793

From Benjamin Hawkins

Senate Chamber 20 feby 1793

There being a proba[bi]lity that an accommodation of our differences with the Northwestern Indians is to be effected by treaty in the course of the expected negotiations with them: Or their enmity placed in so strong a point of view, as to endure a general acquiescence in the measures, which must of necessity be persued, by the government, to compell them to embrace such equitable terms, as the United States are willing to offer them. I cannot resist expressing to you an idea which forcibly opperates on my judgment as very desirable on the present occasion.1

It is well-known that Mr Steel is one of the warmest and most decided opponents to many of the measures heretofore adopted, And if he should by the Executive be enabled to have any agency in the treaty, I am of opinion it would have the effect contemplated. He will not be a member of the ensuing Congress.2 With perfect respect I have the honor to be sir, your obedient servant

Benjamin Hawkins

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1Hawkins was referring to the treaty planned for the spring of 1793 at Lower Sandusky (see Tobias 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).

2Hawkins was recommending Congressman John Steele of North Carolina to be one of the commissioners at Lower Sandusky. Steele had experience as an Indian commissioner, but neither Knox nor Alexander Hamilton recommended him, and GW did not grant him the desired appointment (Hugh Williamson to GW, 21 May 1789, and note 1, Knox to GW, 29 Jan. 1793, n.1, Edmund Randolph to GW, 28 Feb., 5 Mar., GW to U.S. Senate, 1 Mar. 1793 [second letter]). Steele’s last day in Congress was 3 Mar. 1793.

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