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Special Message

October 26, 1791

Gentlemen of the Senate:

I have directed the Secretary of War to lay before you for your consideration all the papers relative to the late negotiations with the Cherokee Indians, and the treaty concluded with that tribe on the 2d day of July last by the superintendent of the southern district, and I request your advice whether I shall ratify the same.

I also lay before you the instructions to Colonel Pickering and his conferences with the Six Nations of Indians. These conferences were for the purpose of conciliation, and at a critical period, to withdraw those Indians to a greater distance from the theater of war, in order to prevent their being involved therein.

It might not have been necessary to have requested your opinion on this business had not the commissioner, with good intentions, but incautiously, made certain ratifications of lands unauthorized by his instructions and unsupported by the Constitution.

It therefore became necessary to disavow the transaction explicitly in a letter written by my orders to the governor of New York on the 17th of August last.

The speeches to the Cornplanter and other Seneca chiefs, the instructions to Colonel Proctor, and his report, and other messages and directions are laid before you for your information and as evidences that all proper lenient measures preceded the exercise of coercion.

The letters to the chief of the Creeks are also laid before you, to evince that the requisite steps have been taken to produce a full compliance with the treaty made with that nation on the 7th of August, 1790.


George Washington, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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