Speeches to Indians and Unnecessary Expenses

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CollectionNational Archives and Records Administration: 1st Cong, House, Sec War Reports, RG233 view image
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Document Information
Date August 25, 1790
Author Name Arthur St. Clair (primary) Location: New York
Recipient Name Henry Knox (primary)
Summary Lists the Indian Nations and their reception of the speech given by St. Clair on behalf of the U.S. gov't. Supplies also discussed.
Document Format Document Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; Arthur St. Clair; Indians; Indian Nation; Major Hamtramck; Gamelin; General Josiah Harmar; Major Sergeant; militia; officers; Elliot; contractors; Miami nation; les Jambes croches; chief; Shawanesse; Kikapoo warriors; Lewis Loder; French; chief of the falls; Kikapoo; County Lieutenants; ;
Related Places New York; frontier; post; St. Vincennes; Kaskaskies; Cahokia; Wabash; Miami River; Mississippi River; Ohio River; headquarters; Fort Washington; falls of the Ohio; village; Kikapouguoi; du Vermilion; Piankishaws; Lakes; prairies; Kentucky; Pennsylvania; ;
Keywords journal; intelligence; instructions; journey; supplies; speeches; peace; stealing; back paper; provisions; quota; want of arms; arms; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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New YorkAugust 23d 1790Govr St. Clairtothe Secretary at War
The Letter from Major Hamtranck, and journal of Mr. Gameline, copies of which accompany this, were received by me at Kaskaskies, after my return from Cahokia; and when [undecipherable] on the point of setting out for the Wabash--from the information that Journal contained, and the intelligence which the Major had received afterwards, as stated in the Letter, it appeared to me that there was not the smallest probability of an accommodation with the Indians of that[undecipherable] and of the Miami, and that, from the manner in which the proposal of an accommodation had been received by them, and their subsequent conduct, it would not be proper for me to go to Post St. Vincennes; I therefore took the Resolution to return by the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to the Head Quarters of the troops, in order to concert with General Harmer upon the means of carrying into effect the alternative contained in my Instructions from the President--that of punishing them; and accordingly embarked on the eleventh day of June, and arrived at Fort
Washington on the 13th day of July.
"Before my departure from Kaskaskia I put a Letter into the hands of Major Sargent informing him of my intended Journey, and that, as soon as I had imbarked, he was to consider me as absent, and in consequence the Government devolved upon himself, and desired him to proceed to the Post, lay out a County there, establish the Militia and appoint the Civil & military Officers-- I was led to proceed in this manner from the little time there would be to digest the Business, and bring the necessary force together from so many and distant parts, before it would be necessary that they should come, and the certainty there appeared to be that, if I went to the Post, the consuming a good deal of it would be unavoidable, and the Season for operation be lost.
"From the falls of Ohio, I took Mr. Elliot, one of the Contractors, with me to Head Quarters that he might, in person give General Harmer information with respect to the certainty of Supplies, without being assured of which it would be vain to think of the matter.
Miami nations -- the first village I arrived to is called Kikapougusi, the name of the chief of this village is called les Jambes croches -- him and his tribe have a good heart, and accepted the "Speech".
"The second village is at the river des Vermilion called Pianhishaws -- the first chief and all the chief warriors were well pleased with the speeches concerning the peace; but they said they could not give presently a proper answer, before they consult the Miami nation their eldest brethren -- they desired me to proceed to the Miami Town and be coming back to let them know what reception I got from them -- the said head chief told me that he thought the nations of the Lakes had a bad heart, and were ill disposed for the Americans -- that the Speeches would not be received particularly by the Charuanons* at Miami Town."
[asterisk] by these are meant the Shawanese
"The 10th of April I met thirteen Kikapoos warriors I asked them the purpose of their journey, wherefor was said they, not against the white
empty hands-- they promised me to keep their young men from stealing, and to send speeches to their nations in the prairies for to do the same-- On of the chiefs desired me to listen to his speech-- "Is it true that man called Lewis [undecipherable] in last summer carried a Letter, wrote with red ink upon black paper, directed to the chief of the Falls, by the french and american people of the post inviting him for to furnish his young men for to destroy the Kikapoos--Yourself Gamelin, you wrote the said Letter without giving notice to the chiefs of that place as reported to us-- But the Chief of the Falls answered, I don't understand the meaning of writing a letter with vermilion -- dont you know that the Kikapoos are my children as well as other nations -- instead of destroying them, I want to contract a solid peace with them -- that is a peace of a good heart of the great chief & we sincerely believe that what you
Washington is fixed for the 15th of next month--their assembling there however was not counted upon before the 20th; and that they would be in readiness to march by the first of October-- before that time I hope I shall be able to join them.
"Mr. Elliot made very little hesitation about the Provisions, tho' it will be impossible to furnish flour-- Corn however it seems is still abundant in Kentucky, and with that General Harmer is satisfied.
[undecipherable notation and added bracket] "I am very apprehensive that some disappointment will be met with in the Quota of Pennsylvania-- for I found that, in two of the four Counties from which that Militia is to be drawn, they have not had an Officer for upwards of two years, and there was a general complaint for want of Arms.-- I represented that matter to the Executive of the State and they think the first difficulty will be obviated by a voluntary enlistment, and have ordered a quantity of Arms to be sent foward-- as a disappointment there would be fatal, perhaps the President may think proper to make some conditional provision against it --
I hope it will not happen, but I fear it; and am extremely anxious about it, on account of the expence that will have been incurred to no purpose, and more so from the injury the Reputation of the Government would sustain.
I request the favor of you Sir, to lay this Letter before the President as soon as possible for it is of importance that I should return without loss of time, as the assembling the Militia of Pennsylvania is appointed on the 3d and their being in motion not to exceed the 10th of September."
I have added a copy of my Letter to the County Lieutenants and to the Senior Officer of the Pennsya Militia.