George Washington Papers

From Timothy Pickering to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., 15 May 1795

Timothy Pickering to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr.

War Office May 15. 95.

Mr Dandridge will be pleased to lay before the President a letter & plans relating to the proposed arsenal for South-Carolina,1 received during the late absence of the President—and the letters from Govr Matthews and James Ross Esqr. lately recd.2


1The letter and plans for a South Carolina arsenal are not identified.

2In a letter dated 16 April, Georgia governor George Mathews acknowledged receipt of Pickering’s letter to him of 20 March (see James Gunn and Thomas P. Carnes to GW, c.2 March, n.2) and expressed appreciation for GW’s efforts to send him information about a treaty with the Creek Indians. But, wrote Mathews, “I am at a loss to discover the intimate connexion between” the acts passed by the Georgia legislature on 28 Dec. 1794 and 7 Jan. 1795 discussed in Pickering’s letter. The first act, Mathews explained, “contemplates a treaty for extinguishing the Indian claims to the lands between the Oconee, and the Oakmulgee; an object, which nineteen out of twenty, of the Citizens of this State, have the most anxious wish to see accomplished; and I feel persuaded, that the present is as good a time as any, that may offer, to obtain it; provided the General Government would aid the endeavours of this State. I need not remind you,” Mathews continued, “that the Creek Indians have complied with no part of the treaty entered into, at New York, and their inability to comply with it, is evident; as the greater part of the property stipulated to have been returned, is so dispersed, that it is not in their power to restore it.

“I cannot indulge the most distant thought, that the treaty on the part of the United States, ought to be fully complied with, and the Indians released from that part, which secures to the Citizens of Georgia, the return of prisoners and property. The Indians, latterly, show more disposition for peace, than they have for many years past, and from the information I have received, are disposed to make satisfaction, for the property they cannot return; and the only thing whereby compensation can be made, is, their lands. The sum they will receive from the State for those lands, contemplated to be purchased, will procure them a handsome supply of Goods, which the Nation is in much want of.” Mathews then stated that the act of 7 Jan. “for selling the lands on the Mississippi &c. has not met with the approbation of the majority of the Citizens, but it is not so generally reprobated, as has been represented to the General Government; and every attempt of that Government, tending to dispute the right, will add support to the law.

“The sale of the lands,” the governor wrote, “was never pleasing to me; but the cause arises from a full conviction, that large monopolies are against the interest of the Citizens in general, and not from any doubts I entertained of the right of this State to the lands in question.

“When I reflect on, and know the very great wish, the people of Georgia have, to procure the lands between the Oconee, and Oakmulgee; I flatter myself, the President will give permission for a treaty to be held; as I am persuaded a refusal will give great uneasiness, and in fact, disgust” (DNA: RG 46, Fourth Congress, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages— Executive Nominations; see also 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, 1:561). GW enclosed a copy of the letter with his second letter of 25 June to the U.S. Senate. For the extent of the Georgia land sale of 7 Jan., see Figure 3, which illustrates the claims of the Georgia, Georgia-Mississippi, Upper Mississippi, and Tennessee land companies.

The letter from James Ross has not been identified.

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