Indian Wars Discussed By Presidents Part I

  Article Tools

Print This Page

E-mail This Page To A Friend

George Washington

While in Office As President During the Term of April 30, 1789, to March 4, 1797

Volume I   Page: 61
                                                                                                                 September 16, 1789

Gentlemen of the Senate:

The governor of the Western territory has made a statement to me of the reciprocal hostilities of the Wabash Indians and the people inhabiting the frontiers bordering on the river Ohio, which I herewith lay before Congress.

The United States in Congress assembled, by their acts of the 21st day of July, 1787, and of the 12th August, 1788, made a provisional arrangement for calling forth the militia of Virginia and Pennsylvania in the proportions therein specified.

As the circumstances which occasioned the said arrangement continue nearly the same, I think proper to suggest to your consideration the expediency of making some temporary provision for calling forth the militia of the United States for the purposes stated in the Constitution, which would embrace the cases apprehended by the governor of the Western Territory.


Volume I   Page: 82
                                                                                                         United States, December 8, 1790

Second Annual Address

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

(excerpt) "It has been heretofore known to Congress that frequent incursions have been made on our frontier settlements by certain banditti of Indians from the northwest side of the Ohio. These, with some of the tribes dwelling on and near the Wabash, have of late been particularly active in their depredations, and being emboldened by the impunity of their crimes and aided by such parts of the neighboring tribes as could be seduced to join in their hostilities or afford them a retreat for their prisoners and plunder, they have, instead of listening to the humane invitations and overtures made on the part of the United States, renewed their violence with fresh alacrity and greater effect. The lives of a number of valuable citizens have thus been sacrificed, and some of them under circumstances peculiarly shocking, whilst others have been carried into a deplorable captivity.

These aggravated provocations rendered it essential to the safety of the Western settlements that the aggressors should be made sensible that the Government of the Union is not less capable of punishing their crimes than it is disposed to respect their rights and reward their attachments. As this object could not be effected by defensive measures, it became necessary to put in force the act which empowers the President to call out the militia for the protection of the frontiers, and I have accordingly authorized an expedition in which the regular troops in that quarter are combined with such drafts of militia as were deemed sufficient. The event of the measure is yet unknown to me. The Secretary of War is directed to lay before you a statement of the information on which it is founded, as well as an estimate of the expense with which it will be attended."


Volume I   Page: 104
                                                                                                          United States, October 25, 1791

Third Annual Address

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

(excerpt) "Among the most important of these is the defense and security of the Western frontiers. To accomplish it on the most humane principles was a primary wish.

Accordingly, at the same time that treaties have been provisionally concluded and other proper means used to attach the wavering and to confirm in their friendship the well-disposed tribes of Indians, effectual measures have been adopted to make those of a hostile description sensible that a pacification was desired upon terms of moderation and justice.

Those measures having proved unsuccessful, it became necessary to convince the refractory of the power of the United States to punish their depredations. Offensive operations have therefore been directed, to be conducted, however, as consistently as possible with the dictates of humanity. Some of these have been crowned with full success and others are yet depending. The expeditions which have been completed were carried on under the authority and at the expense of the United States by the militia of Kentucky, whose enterprise, intrepidity, and good conduct are entitled to peculiar commendation.

Overtures of peace are still continued to the deluded tribes, and considerable numbers of individuals belonging to them have lately renounced all further opposition, removed from their former situations, and placed themselves under the immediate protection of the United States.

It is sincerely to be desired that all need of coercion in future may cease and that an intimate intercourse may succeed, calculated to advance the happiness of the Indians and to attach them firmly to the United States.


Volume I    Page: 115
                                                                                                                        United States, January 11, 1792

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

I lay before you, in confidence, two reports, made to me by the Secretary for the Department of War, relatively to the present state of affairs on the Western frontiers of the United States.

In these reports the causes of the present war with the Indians, the measures taken by the Executive to terminate it amicably, and the military preparations for the late campaign are stated and explained, and also a plan suggested of such further measures on the occasion as appear just and expedient.

I am persuaded, gentlemen, that you will take this important subject into your immediate and serious consideration, and that the result of your deliberations will be the adoption of such wise and efficient measures as will reflect honor on our national councils and promote the welfare of our country.


Volume I   Page: 156
                                                                                                                            United States, June 2, 1794

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

I send you certain communications, recently received from Georgia, which materially change the prospect of affairs in that quarter, and seem to render a war with the Creek Nations more probable than it has been at any antecedent period. While the attention of Congress will be directed to the consideration of measures suited to the exigency, it can not escape their observation that this intelligence brings a fresh proof of the insufficiency of the existing provisions of the laws toward the effectual cultivation and preservation of peace with our Indian neighbors.


Volume I   Page: 167
                                                                                                                        United States, November 19, 1794

Sixth Annual Address

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

(excerpt) "Toward none of the Indian tribes have overtures of friendship been spared. The Creeks in particular are covered from encroachment by the interposition of the General Government and that of Georgia. From a desire also to remove the discontents of the Six Nations, a settlement meditated at Presque Isle, on Lake Erie, has been suspended, and an agent is now endeavoring to rectify any misconception into which they may have fallen. But I can not refrain from again pressing upon your deliberations the plan which I recommended at the last session for the improvement of harmony with all the Indians within our limits by the fixing and conducting of trading houses upon the principles then expressed."

G. WASHINGTON                                                            

Website: The History
Article Name: Indian Wars Discussed By Presidents Part I
Researcher/Preparer/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897". By James D. Richardson--a Representative from the State of Tennessee. Publisher: by Authority of Congress--1899. Ten volumes total. Copyright: 1897 by James D. Richardson.
Time & Date Stamp: