Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Memorandum

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.04915 Author/Creator: Knox, Henry (1750-1806) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph document Date: 11 April 1791 Pagination: 5 p. : docket ; 32.4 x 20 cm.

Memorandum of a meeting of Vice President John Adams, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, and Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Knox's resulting discussion with Lieutenant Colonel [George] Beckwith about Lord Dorchester in Canada and Indian relations, as well as Great Britain's interests in North America. The opening statement of the document reads, " Memorandum of a conversation which passed between the subscriber and Lt. Colonel Beckwith who seems charged with some sort of an informal political commission by Lord Dorchester."

[draft - partial]
[1] The vice President of the US, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the treasury, and the Secretary of War [struck: having] assembled [struck: together] [inserted: on the 11th instant] in consequence of the letter of the President of the US dated the 4th of April - in order to consult on certain points - Among other objects the secretary of state produced a letter from the President of the United States, [wherein] was stated the reports which are in circulation relatively to the Indians receiving supplies [inserted: of ammunition] from the british posts and [illegible] the [property] of making some representation either formal or informal to Lord Dorchester in order to proceed in future, the evil effects of such supplies -
[2] The before mentioned gentlemen fully [conencided] [sic] with the judgment of the President of the US in making an informal representation through Lt Colo Beckwith upon the subject, who it was said would not fail to communicate to Lord Dorchester [illegible] [what] should be [struck: said on the] mentioned on this occasion, and [struck: I was] [inserted: subsciber was] desired to make the Communication -
Accordingly that [very enemy] Lt Colo Beckwith being at my house with other company, I mentioned to him at first with seemg indifference that I supposed he had remarked on the news papers the paragraphs which spoke with [some] warmth of the supplies which the Indians had received from the british garrisons...
[3] I told him that the United States had been [involved] in an indian war much against the inclinations of the general government - That it was [illegible] to observe towards the indians a liberal system - That we wanted nothg of the Indians but [4] peace - That the general government could not observe with indifference the depredations of the Indians, which had seemed to grow out of [indistinct] circumstances - That we had offered them peace the last year that we were still willing to [strikeout] make peace with them but that it was determined [not] to suffer any more of their depredations - That if peace could not be made the general government was determined to [remove] the indians of its power that in the process of this [business] it would have a [pecuniary] [inserted: to Great Britain [illegible]] [effect] if the Indians were supplied with Arms and Ammunition from the british posts...

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources