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Suspicious persons at Fort Washington

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionIndiana Historical Society Library: Northwest Territory Coll., M367 view image
Document Information
Date August 13, 1797
Author Name William Henry Harrison (primary) Location: Fort Washington
Recipient Name James McHenry (primary)
Summary Harrison replies to McHenry's request for information on suspicious persons at Fort Washington, mentioning the actions of several men. Also informs him that the Spanish are planning on building a large fort down the Mississippi.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; William Harrison; Manuel de Lesa; Mr. Hamilton; Mr. David Jones, chaplain; William Knox; Major General Anthony Wayne; Zebulon Pike Sr.; Captain Isaac Guion; Spaniards; Mr. Ellicot; French government; cadet; Commandant of New Madrid; ;
Related Places Fort Washington; Philadelphia; Ohio River; Post Vincennes; Kentucky; Natchez; New Orleans; falls of the Ohio; Mississippi River; Fort Massac; New Madrid; ;
Keywords sedition; fort; suspicion; proof; mare; ;
Key Phrases "I am extremely sorry to be the means of exciting suspicion of the government against him when I have no proof of his guilt-but the times are such, in my opinion, to make it the duty of every friend of his country to keep a strict look out and if possible discover and expose to the detestation of the world, those traitors who acting under foreign influence, are plotting schemes destructive to the instruments of their country."

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Fort Washington
Aug 13th 1797
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th ultimo. Since my last report on the subject of suspicious persons passing through this country I have until now meet with nothing worthy of communication. A few days ago a Mr Manuel de Lesa a merchant of New Orleans arrived in company with a Mr Knox a person who is charged with dispatches from the Department of State to our Commissioner Mr Ellicot. Mr Knox informed me that he had come with him from Philadelphia & was to accompany him to the falls of Ohio & from there he intended to go to Post Vincennes where he has a store. DeLesa was here but one night & I believe had no communication with the Inhabitants. Hamilton the person mentioned in my last report is still in this neighborhood & follows the occupation of a Dentist. I do not find that he has of late done any thing to comfirm the suspicions I had at first formed of him
him- he is a man of desperate fortune & I immagine it would not be difficult to employ him in any villanous undecipherable which would tend to better his circumstances- Whilst I am on the subject of suspicious (Strike-through text) Guareenters? I shall take the liberty of mentioning to you for me circumstances relating to Mr David Jones late Chaplain to the Army- This man I know to be as just a promoter of sedition as the world can produce. He has lately made a tour through Kentucky & pafsed this a few days ago- I endeavoured to discover from him the motive of his journey but all that I could find from him was, that he descended the Ohio for the purpose of taking up with him a mare which he had bought when he was last in this country- it appeared to me strange that a man of his years, should have taken such a journey in bad health for such an object- This, together with my knowledge of the man- his violent attachment to The French Government, A dislike to our own; together with a declaration which he made to me created a suspicion of his being engaged in some agency undecipherable to thier interest of the United States. The declaration I aluded to, was, that if the French established a
"a Republic west of the Mifsifsippi he intended to emigrate to that country".-Having lived for (Strike-through text) confiderable time with Mr Jones in the family of the late Major Genl Wayne, & still being on good terms with himself for he was my guen when he was last here). I am extremely sorry to be the means of exciting the suspicions of Government against him when I have no proof (proof underlined)of his guilt- but the times are such as is my opinion to make it the duty of every friend of his country to keep a strick look out & if pofsible discover & expose to the detestation of the world, those trators, who acting under foreign influence are plotting serious destruction to the interests of their country-
This day arrived here Mr Pike a cadet in the 8th Div from Fort Massac He informs me that Capt. Quion after having been joined by D______ undecipherable Artillery left that post on Wed July-Capt G- has communicated with the command of New Madrid & had informed him that he expects to descend the River to Natches, the Spainards implied that if he pafsed this post they should treat him with politenefs- but hinted that he had better stay where he was-They (the Spainards) Strike-through text are building
building a camp- Fort on the west side of the Mifsifsippi sixty miles above the mouth of Ohio. I give you this information first- because I immagine you are undecipherable
of having the earliest accounts of the movements of Capt Guion-
I have the Honor to be with
undecipherable Respect & Esteem- Sir,
Your very Humble Servant.
Wm H. Harrison
Capt 1st Reg
To the Honorable
James McHenry Esq
Secretary of war
Right hand margin written sideways is two lines with the last word as Jones
Left hand margin written sideways is
recd Sept 8. 1797