George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the U.S. Senate, 2 January 1795

To the United States Senate

United States 2d January 1795.

Gentlemen of the Senate,

A spirit of discontent from several causes arose in the early part of the present year among the Six Nations of Indians, and particularly on the ground of a projected settlement by Pennsylvania at Presqu’ Isle upon Lake Erie. The papers upon this point have already been laid before Congress.1 It was deemed proper on my part to endeavour to tranquilize the Indians by pacific measures. Accordingly a time and place was appointed, at which a free conference should be had upon all the causes of discontent and an Agent was appointed with the Instructions, of which No. 1. herewith transmited is a copy.2

A numerous Assembly of Indians was held at Canandarqua in the State of New-York, the proceedings whereof accompany this message marked No. 2.3

The two treaties the one with the Six Nations and the other with the Oneida, Tuscorora, and Stockbridge Indians dwelling in the Country of the Oneidas, which have resulted from the mission of the Agent, are here with laid before the Senate for their consideration and advice.4

The original engagement of the United States to the Oneidas is also sent here with.5

Go: Washington

LS, DNA: RG 46, entry 40; copy, DLC:GW.

1Documents about the settlement at Presque Isle were transmitted to the Senate on 20 Nov. in support of GW’s message to Congress of 19 Nov. (Journal of the Senate description begins The Journal of the Senate including The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate: George Washington Administration 1789–1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. 9 vols. Wilmington, Del., 1977. description ends , 7:13–14).

2The instructions to Timothy Pickering have not been identified. The printers of American State Papers in 1832 reported that this enclosure was “not on file” (ASP 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 , Indian Affairs, 1:546).

3The enclosed proceedings were also not on file in 1832. For an account of the treaty meetings, see Evans, Journal of William Savery description begins Jonathan Evans, comp. A Journal of the Life, Travels, and Religious Labors of William Savery, a Minister of the Gospel of Christ, of the Society of Friends, Late of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1863. description ends , 93–149.

4For the treaty with the Six Nations of 11 Nov. 1794 and that with the Oneida, Tuscarora, and Stockbridge Indians of 2 Dec. 1794, see Kappler, Indian Treaties description begins Charles J. Kappler, ed. Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties. 5 vols. Washington, D.C., 1903–41. description ends , 2:34–39.

5The enclosure has not been identified. The preamble to the Oneida treaty notes that Oneida, Tuscarora, and Stockbridge Indians “were driven from their homes, and their houses were burnt and their property destroyed” in consequence of their adherence to the United States during the Revolutionary War and that “the United States in the time of their distress, acknowledged their obligations to these faithful friends, and promised to reward them.” The treaty, in which the United States agreed to provide money and construct mills in exchange for the Indians’ agreement to “relinquish all other claims of compensation and rewards for their losses and services in the late war,” is said to be an effort “to fulfil the promises then made” (Kappler, Indian Treaties description begins Charles J. Kappler, ed. Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties. 5 vols. Washington, D.C., 1903–41. description ends , 2:37–39). The promises were evidently made in a speech from the Board of War and Congress to the Oneida in Sept. 1781 (Pickering to Henry Knox, 2 May 1792, MHi: Pickering Papers).

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