George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 19 July 1793

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

9 oClock p.m. 19 July 1793

Dear Sir

An express has arrived with the enclosed from the Commissioners at Niagra.1 I send them to night that you may deliver them to the President early in the Morning, as it may be important for orders to go off to Genl Wayne tomorrow by the post.2 I will wait upon the President at or before eight oClock in the Morning. Yours Sincerely

H. Knox


1According to GW’s executive journal, the enclosures were “dispatches … dated at Niagara, July 10th” from Benjamin Lincoln, Beverley Randolph, and Timothy Pickering, the federal commissioners appointed to negotiate a peace treaty with the Indians of the Northwest Territory. A “private” letter from Lincoln, which has not been identified, was included in these dispatches (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 204). In the enclosed journal of 5–10 July, the commissioners reported on the proceedings of a council meeting held with a delegation from the western Indians in the presence of the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant, British Indian agent John Butler, and Governor of Upper Canada John Simcoe. During this council the Indians informed the commissioners that they had not assembled at Lower Sandusky for the treaty negotiations “because there is so much of the appearance of war in that quarter.” The commissioners assured the Indians “that our Great Chief, General Washington, has strictly forbidden all hostilities against you, until the event of the proposed treaty at Sandusky shall be known” and that they were “properly authorized” to establish a boundary line “between your lands and ours” (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 349–50). In their first letter to Knox and in their letter to GW, both dated 10 July, the commissioners repeated their promise to the Indians that they would ask for “fresh orders” to be sent to Gen. Anthony Wayne, “not only to abstain from hostilities, but to remain quietly at his posts” so as not to alarm the Indians. In their second letter to Knox of 10 July, the commissioners requested prices for Indian trade goods (ibid., 351).

2On 20 July, GW returned Knox’s letter and its enclosures (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 205). Knox wrote a letter to Wayne that same date, enclosing a copy of the commissioners’s first letter to him of 10 July. Knox instructed Wayne “in the name of the President … that if any troops should have been advanced to Forts Hamilton St. Clair or Jefferson exceeding the usual Garrisons of those posts that you instantly withdraw them. … The army is to remain agreeably to former orders on the Ohio in the vicinity of Fort Washington until the event of the Treaty be known” (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 , 256–57).

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