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Priorities of the President to Avoid War and to Protect Citizens

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionSterling Library: Miscellaneous MSS Coll., #352 view image
Document Information
Date November 24, 1789
Author Name Henry Knox (primary) Location: War Office
Recipient Name Governor Edward Telfair (primary)
Summary Knox conveys the intentions of President Washington relative to war with the Creek nation. Washington hopes to avoid war yet seeks to protect U.S. citizens and has issued a proclamation prohibiting hostilities among the people of Georgia and the Creek. Warns punishment of Creek if they inflict problems on citizens. Encourages station of troops on Georgia frontier, and promises to recruit more troops.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes Indian affairs. Cited in Telfair to Knox, 11/24/1790.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Edward Telfair; Henry Knox; George Washington; Indians; Citizens; Troops; Recruits; Commissioners; Militia; Creek Nation; Congress;
Related Places War Office; Georgia; Northwestern Frontier; ;
Keywords Proclamation; Expense;
Key Phrases [not available]

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Secy at War
21 November 1789
With the Governors
answer [undecipherable]
Indian Affairs
War Office Novem 24 1789
By order of the President of the United States, I have the honor to inform you that the Commissioners for treating with the Creek Nation have returned and reported the progress and issue of their mission.
the critical state in which this subject is suspended, impresses the President of the United States with great anxiety. He is exceedingly desirous that War at this period should be avoided if it can be effected consistently with the interest and dignity of the United States. He is aware of the expence of blood and Treasure of a War with the Creeks, and of the embarrassment it would occasion to the Government and above all he is solicitous that the event should not be brought on by the conduct of the Citizens of the United States. The Commissioners have reported that our honor issued a proclamation forbidding all hostilities on the part of the Citizens of Georgia. The
The President of the United States is persuaded that you will take every necessary step to enforce your proclamation.
If the Creeks should contrary to their declarations to the Commissioners, commit unprovoked depredations on the persons or property of the Citizens of Georgia, the punishment which may be inflicted on their nation in consequence thereof will receive the approbation of all unprejudiced men.
The President of the United States has further directed me to assure you that were there any considerable body of regular troops at his disposal that he should immediately order it to be Stationed on the frontiers of Georgia, as well to protect its Citizens, as to exhibit the the Creeks our power to punish if necessary. But all the troops in the public service are necessarily employed on the North Western frontiers, excepting the few hereafter described.
The company of troops which escorted the Commissioners were directed to return, because their engagements with the public were nearly expiring. This company, and some few other troops in similar circumstances are about to be discharged. They will be replaced by recruits to complete the existing establishment. These recruits will amount to about two hundred men. As soon as one company shall be recruited it will be ordered to Georgia, and the remainder will follow as soon as possible.
This arrangement appears to be the only one which can with propriety be adopted during the recess of Congress, unless the hostile conduct of the Creeks should render it absolutely necessary to call out the Militia for the protection of Georgia. But the expences to the public and distress to individuals involved in such a measure would render it adviseable only in case of extreme exigency.
I have the honor to be Sir Your Most O & Hble Serv
H Knox Secy at War