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Politics and Indian Relations

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionVirginia State Library: Executive Papers, Office of Governors Letters view image
CollectionPrinted Version only (no image)
CollectionPrinted Version only (no image)
PublicationPalmer, William P., ed. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 Vols. Richmond: 1875-1883. Reprinted. New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1968. (no image)
Document Information
Date May 16, 1792
Author Name Henry Knox (primary) Location: War Department
Recipient Name Henry Lee (primary)
Summary Secretary Knox discusses details on interactions with the Indians, both peaceful and hostile, with the Governor of Virginia. Possibility of treaty and war.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes VP,V,544
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Lee; Henry Knox; Indians; Cherokees; Chocktaws; Chickasaws; Shawnee; Governor Blount; ;
Related Places War Department; frontier; Kentucky; Virginia; territory; western counties; county; ;
Keywords [not available]
Key Phrases [not available]

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His Excellency
Henry Lee Esqr
Governor of Virginia
Secretary Knox Letter
[Recd?] May 22 1792
May 16
May 16th
H Knox
Secretary of War
War Department,
16th May 1792.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter of the 9th instant, which was received yesterday.
In order that you may possess all the information in my power to give, upon the subject of the disturbances on the southwestern frontiers of Virginia, I enclose you a copy of a letter from Governor Blount, which was received two days ago.
It is most probable that upon the arrival of the Cherokees who were at this City, among their own people, that the apprehensions of hostilities from that tribe may subside.
Besides, Governor Blount has appointed to have a conference with the Chickasaws and Chocktaws at Nashville, early in June, at which
which the principal Cherokees will be invited.
The capture of Bowles by the Spaniards, and the arrangements making at the Rock landing by Mr. Seagrove, in behalf of the United States, with Mr. McGillivray and the Creeks, will probably restore entire tranquility in that quarter.
Judging from the information in my possession, it would appear that the United States, have much to to hope, and but little to apprehend from the disposition of the southern nations of Indians. It would appear, that if by necessity the war with the Indians northwest of the Ohio must progress, that we could obtain five or six hundred southern Indians to your one army.
It is true that some of the Chickamaugas, and others of the Cherokees who have had considerable intercourse with the Shawanese for some years past, have, at times, manifested bad symptoms. But, the death of the Dragging Canoe, and the probably election of John Watts, a bold sensible and friendly half-breed, to the chief, direction of the said towns, would probably settle the remnants of the war on the southern frontiers.
From the information contained in Governor Blount's letters, together with such information as you possess by other channels, and the statement - your Excellency will be able to judge of the necessity of your presence upon the southwestern frontiers of the Commonwealth, over which you preside.
In case however, that you should think proper to make the journey, I beg leave to repeat what I have before mentioned to you frequently, by the express direction of the President of the United States - That, he will concur in every reasonable measure for the defensive protection of the southern frontier of Virginia, which your Excellency may think proper to establish, as far as he is, or shall be authorized by Law.
He is impressed with the conviction that all parts of the Union ought to be defended at the general expense, and he will therefore, most readily impart that defence according to the authority vested in him.
The Congress having by Law authorized a
a regular paymaster to reside with the army, the militia, and Scouts employed on the frontiers northwest of the Ohio, will be relieved from making an application to the seat of Government for the settlement and payment of their accounts, as the said paymaster will be authorised to settle and pay the same.
If it shall be more convenient to Russell and Wythe to apply to this office, they shall be settled with here.
You may rest assured Sir, that it is the disposition of the Executive of the United States to render the payment of the militia as early as possible, consistently with the necessary guards and checks against abuse.
The observations contained in this letter will apply equally to the Lieutenant Governor relative to the counties on the Ohio.
The protection of the upper parts of the Ohio have been confided to your Excellency, except in the cases of [blank] of which you have been informed.
If the Lieutenant Governor shall upon mature
mature reflection upon the spot, be of opinion that a greater force of militia will be necessary, and should call forth such a force, the United States will pay the expenses thereof, so far as shall be consistently with the Laws.
I will write immediately to the Contractors, to know whether they could furnish the Rations to the [reinging?] parties on the Ohio.
I enclose my Letter to Brigadier General Wilkinson of the 3d of March relative to the defensive protection of Kentucky; and I have learned by Captain Spring, tho not officially, that a satisfactory arrangement is in operation on consequence thereof.
It is probable that as the troops move forward, they may take such temporary stations on the Ohio, as will tend to cover the upper parts of Virginia from the incursions of the Indians.
The President of the United States, actuated by sincere desires of terminating the Indian War without the further effusion of blood, has
directed that -- overtures of peace should be made by explaining the designs of the United States, relative to Indians lands - on which point, there were grounds to believe the Indians had been grossly deceived.
Accordingly, these specific overtures are in train through various channels, and it is to be hoped they will be attended with good effects.
In the meantime offensive operations are of course restrained; and the Indians have been desires to call in all their War parties.
Indeed we are not yet ready for offensive operations, and the season will be far advanced before the troops can possibly be collected for the purpose. The Kentucky mounted volunteers might be used in the meantime, were it consistent with good faith.
But even the said volunteers will have to march further distant, in search of an enemy than they had the last year. For it appears by Major Hamtramck's letter of the 31st of March who commands at Post Vincennes, that
that he has entered into certain preliminary articles with the Wabash Indians, which it is to be hoped will be still more extensive.
I have the honor to be Sir your most obed servant
H Knox

Governor of Virginia