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The New Nation
Government Policy Toward Native Americans
Hostile Intentions

In October, 1786, a congressional committee, believing that several groups of Native Americans were preparing for war, requested that congress deploy additional troops to the frontier. The Committee's request to Congress follows. According to the report, what threat did the hostile natives represent? Besides protection, what other kinds of things were the troops supposed to do while on the frontier? Why do you think the Confederation Congress asked the states to supply the troops to the federal government?

View the entire document from which this excerpt was taken, from Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.

CONGRESS assembled
OCTOBER 20, 1786

The Committee consisting of Mr. Pettit, Mr. Lee, Mr. Pinckney, Mr. Henry and Mr. Smith, to whom was referred the Letter from the War Office with the Papers enclosed containing Intelligence of the hostile Intentions of the Indians in the Western Country having REPORTED:

THAT the uniform tenor of the intelligence from the Western Country, plainly indicates the hostile disposition of a number of Indian nations, particularly the Shawanese, Puteotamies, Chippewas, Tawas and Twightwees.

That these nations are now assembling in the Shawanese towns, and are joined by a banditti of desperadoes, under the name of Mingoes and Cherokees, who are outcasts from other nations, and who have associated and settled in that country for the purpose of war and plunder.---That they are labouring to draw in other nations to unite with them in a war with the Americans.---That it is expected, one thousand warriors will soon be collected in the Shawanese towns, from whence they have already dispatched parties to commence hostilities.---That from the motions of the Indians to the southward as well as the northward, and the exertions made in different quarters to stimulate the various nations against the Americans, there is the strongest reason to believe that, unless the speediest measures are taken effectually to counteract and defeat their plans, the war will become general, and may be attended with the most dangerous and lasting consequences:

That the committee therefore deem it highly necessary that the troops in the service of the United States be immediately augmented, not only for the protection and support of the frontiers of the states bordering on the western territory and the valuable settlements on and near the margin of the Mississippi, but to establish the possession and facilitate the surveying and selling of those intermediate lands, which have been so much relied on for the reduction of the debts of the United States; whereupon Resolved, That the number of one thousand, three hundred and forty non-commissioned officers and privates, be raised for the term of three years, unless sooner discharged, and that they together with the troops now in service, be formed into a legionary corps, to consist of 2040 non-commissioned officers and privates. That the additional troops be raised by the following states in the following proportions, to wit,

New-Hampshire .......... 260
Massachusetts .......... 660
Rhode-Island .......... 120
Connecticut .......... 180 .......... Infantry and artillery .......... 1220
Virginia and Maryland .......... each 60 cavalry, making .......... 120
.......... 1340

That the secretary at war inform the executive authorities of the respective states in which the troops are to be raised, the number and rank of commissioned officers to be furnished by each state in proportion to the men.

That the pay and allowances to the troops to be raised by this resolve, be the same as established by the act of Congress of the 12th of April 1785.

That the said troops shall be subject to the existing articles of war, or such as may hereafter be formed by Congress or a committee of the states.

Resolved, That the states above mentioned be and they hereby are requested to use their utmost exertions to raise the quotas of troops, respectively assigned to them, with all possible expedition, and that the executives of the said states be, and hereby are requested in case any of their legislatures should not be in session, immediately to convene them for this purpose, as a delay may be attended with the most fatal consequences.
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View the entire document from which this excerpt was taken, from Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.