From Richard Dobbs Spaight
Newbern [N.C.] 23rd February 1795.
In Conformity to my Letter to you of the [ ] day of [ ] last at the meeting of the Legislature I laid before them the Secretary of War’s letter wth its inclosures on the subject of the patroles on the frontiers of this State, and requested them to take the same into their Consideration and advise me thereon.1 I now do myself the Honor to enclose you a Copy of the report of the Committee to whom that Business was referred, concurred, with by both Houses of the General Assembly.2
As this State has no agent among the India⟨ns⟩ upon the Frontiers, I have not the proper means within my power to acquire the Information necessary to form an Opinion on the propriety of keeping in Service or discharging the Scouts. The Members from the Westward think that their having been in Service has been the Means of preventing the Indians from Committing depredations on the Citizens of this State and perhaps of preventing hostillities. If it has had this effect certainly the money expended in keeping them in service has been well laid out, not only in avoiding bloodshed, but a much greater expenditure of Money, which would have been the Case had it been necessary to have carried on a Campaign against the Indians to bring them to a sense of their duty.
Situated as I am, without the necessary information respecting Indian Affairs or their disposition towards the U.S. I shall not take upon me to decide on the propriety of discharging the Patroles, but will defer giving any order on that Subject untill such time as I am instructed by you what to do.3 I am &c.
R. D. Spaight
LB, Nc-Ar: Governors’ Letterbooks.
GW received this letter around 10 March, as on that date his secretary Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., wrote Secretary of War Timothy Pickering, enclosing “for his information” the letter and enclosed report (DLC:GW).
1. Spaight was referring to his letter of 15 Dec. 1794. See n.1 to that letter for Henry Knox’s letter to Spaight of 20 Nov. 1794. Spaight referred Knox’s letter to the North Carolina legislature in his message of 1 Jan. (Journal of the House of Commons. State of North-Carolina. At a General Assembly, begun and held in the City of Raleigh, on the Thirtieth Day of December, in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and of American Independence the nineteenth: Being the first Session of this Assembly [Edenton, N.C., 1795], 3).
2. On 7 Feb. the committee reported, “founded on information from the members of the present Assembly representing that part of the state, that it is necessary the said patroles should be continued until the meeting of the next session of Assembly, unless the Governor shall think proper to discharge them sooner” (Journal of the Senate. State of North-Carolina. At a General Assembly, begun and held in the City of Raleigh, on the Thirtieth Day of December, in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and of American Independence the nineteenth: Being the first Session of this Assembly [Edenton, N.C., 1795], 47).
3. Secretary of War Timothy Pickering replied to this letter on 18 March, giving GW’s “opinion That if those scouts (or patroles) had referrence to the security of your frontier against the Cherokees, they need not be continued.” However, although the agent in Georgia reported “that the Creeks are quiet in that quarter,” it was “uncertain” whether “small predatory parties of that nation have ceased to annoy the southwestern frontier.” After summarizing the news about Indian affairs received from William Blount and touching briefly on Anthony Wayne’s negotiations with the northwest tribes, Pickering concluded: “Upon the whole, the aspect of Indian Affairs indicates a general peace; & that tranquillity will shortly be restored to all our frontiers. The quarter for which most doubt may be entertained is that bordering on the Creeks. We do not yet know what will be the effect of the great sales of their lands by the late Legislature of Georgia” (Nc-Ar: Governors’ Correspondence).