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“ Brothers! We have just received your answer to our speech of the 31st of last month. You say it was interpreted to all your nations, and we presume it was fully understood. We therein explicitly declared, that it was impossible to make the Ohio river the boundary, between your lands and the lands of the United States. Your answer amounts to a declaration, that you will agree to no other boundary than the Ohio. The negotiation is therefore at an end." .
“ Brothers! We sincerely regret that peace is not the result, but knowing the liberal and upright views of the United States, which, as far as you gave us an opportunity, we have explained to you; we trust that impartial judges will not attribute the continuance of the war to us, or our country.”
On the next morning, the Commissioners sent information, by their own runners, to the chiefs of the Six Nations, of what had been done, expressing their regret at the failure of the negotiation, and furnishing them with copies of the proceedings, which they might not otherwise obtain. They assured the Six Nations, that they came with the most sincere desire to make a peace, that would be beneficial to both parties; and that, if such a peace had been established, not only the justice and humanity of the United States, would have been continued to the tribes, but their beneficence would have been extended to them; and peace would have been rendered as lasting as the hills. But having failed in this object, they should return home, and report their proceedings to the President.
Thus ended in disappointment, a tedious negotiation of three months, conducted on the part of the United States, with great prudence and talent. Only a few days before its termination, the reports from the great council, at the foot of the Rapids, authorised the expectation of a successful result.
From a review of the whole affair, it is manifest, that the
grounds taken by the American Commissioners, in regard to the obligatory character of the treaties between the United States and the Indians, from the second, negotiated at Fort Stanwix, in 1784, to that of Fort Harmar, in 1789, were sound and unanswerable. From the same examination, it will also be evident, that a treaty, satisfactory to both parties, would have been made, but for the influence, steadily and successfully exerted on the minds of the savages, by the agents of the British government; and it will also appear, that every tribe represented in the great council, except the Wyandots, Shawanees, Delawares, and Miamies, were willing, and most of them anxious to make a treaty, and put an end to the war.
On the 23d of August the Commissioners arrived at Fort Erie, on their way home; from whence they wrote to Major Craig, Deputy Quartermaster, at Pittsburgh, enclosing letters for General Wayne, which they directed to be conveyed to him with the utmost speed, and that no expense should be spared to effect it.
To guard against disappointment, copies of those letters were multiplied, and sent by four or five different conveyances. Their chief object was to advise the Commanderin-chief of the failure of the treaty—to put him on his guard—to let him know that the embargo laid on his movements was taken off, and that he was then at liberty to renew hostilities against the Indians, without delay. One of them, written at Fort Erie, on the 23rd of August, closed with the following remark:-“ Although we did not effect a peace, yet we hope that good may hereafter arise from the mission. The tranquillity of the country, northwest of the Ohio, during the continuance of the treaty, evinced your care of our safety, and we cannot leave this quarter, without returning you our unfeigned thanks.”
The Commissioners, on their way from the mouth of the Detroit river, wrote to the Secretary of War, giving him a
detailed account of the progress and close of the negotiation, and informing him of the means taken to communicate to General Wayne, and the different agents of the government in the western country, the failure of the treaty, and the course they had pursued to conciliate the Six Nations, who were openly and decidedly in favor of the United States, and who exerted all their influence in the grand council, to induce them to make peace.
Condition of the Western Army in 1793.—Encampment at Hobson's Choice.
-Discipline of the army.-Order of march.--Fortifications at Greenville. --Indians attack Fort Recovery.-Repulsed with very heavy loss.-Proofs of British influence over the Indians.--Lieutenant Lowery attacked.-Defeated.-Killed.
All prospects of peace being now at an end, the attention of the War Department was directed to the completion of the army; which was to consist of five thousand one hundred and twenty, rank and file, and to the arrangements necessary to sustain it. In answer to a call, for a statement of the number of non-commissioned officers and privates, then in service, General Knox reported, that exclusive of the small detachments at West Point, and in the South, which were not considered as belonging to the Western army, there were, on paper, three thousand five hundred and ninety-four-showing a deficiency of fifteen hundred and twenty-six.
That report was accompanied by a statement from General Wayne, made in October, from which it appeared that the entire force for the expedition, independent of those reported sick, and in garrison, and including ten hundred and twenty-nine mounted volunteers, to be raised by General Scott, but not yet in camp, amounted to three thousand six hundred and twenty-nine. There was, of course, at that time, a deficiency, of fourteen hundred and ninety-one. In addition to this, the influenza was prevailing with great severity, in all parts of the country, by which a large propor
tion of the men in camp, were returned on the sick list, as unfit for duty. At the same time General Wilkinson was lying dangerously ill, at Fort Jefferson, with the same disease.
General Wayne, having been authorised by the War Department, to resort to any lawful expedient to bring forward the mounted volunteers from Kentucky, after a pressing correspondence on that subject with Governor Shelby and General Scott, and after the season was far advanced, proceeded to order a draft from the militia of that State, as a dernier resort; remarking at the same time, that he had but little hope of its success. It was his opinion, that the safety of the out-posts and the settlements required him to advance at the earliest moment possible, to guard them against the host of savages, who were congregated at the Rapids, and were then at liberty to commence hostilities.
The communications from the Commissioners, in the early part of their intercourse with the Indians, had created a general expectation that peace would be the result of their labors; and, as a consequence of that impression, the efforts to complete the military establishment, were entirely suspended; so that when the time for action came, neither the recruits to fill the regular regiments, nor the volunteers called for by the President, from Kentucky, were ready to join the army. In addition to this, the sickness which had prevailed during the summer, reduced the effective force in camp to two thousand six hundred, officers included. Such, however, was the exposed condition of the frontiers, that the General, after deliberately weighing the consequences, wrote to the Secretary of War, that something must be done, immediately, to save them from the impending fury of the savages, and that he would therefore advance with the force he then had, in order to gain a strong position in front of Fort Jefferson, so as to keep the enemy in check, by exciting apprehensions for the safety of their women and children, and wait there, until a favorable