Wythe, George Mason, & Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, 3 January 1778

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George Wythe, George Mason, and Thomas Jefferson tell George Rogers Clark that since some Indians attacked aggressively and without reason, he and his troops are to fight back against them. They promise to reward the soldiers with additional pay and, if they succeed, three hundred acres from the land taken from the aggressive Indians will be given to each soldier. Wythe, Mason, and Jefferson mention that they will not take land from the Indians they consider friendly in case they wish to one day become citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Letter text

Page 1

"Wythe, George Mason, & Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, 3 January 1778, pg 1." Image from the Library of Congress, First American West.

Sir                Williamsburg Janry. 3d.        1778.
As some Indian Tribes, to the westward of the Mississippi, have lately, without any provocation, massacred many of the Inhabitants upon the frontiers of this Commonwealth, in the most cruel & barbarous Manner, & it is intended to revenge the Injury & punish the Aggressors by carrying the War into their own Country.

We congratulate You upon your Appointment to conduct so important an Enterprize in which we most heartily wish You Success; and we have no Doubt but some further Reward in Lands in that Country, will be given to the Volunteers who shall engage in this Service, in addition to the usual Pay: if they are so fortunate to succeed, We think it just & reasonable that each Volunteer entering as a common Soldier

Page 2

"Wythe, George Mason, & Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, 3 January 1778, pg 2." Image from the Library of Congress, First American West.

in this Expedition, shou'd be allowed three hundred Acres of Land, & the Officers in the usual Proportion, out of the Lands which may be conquered in the Country now in the Possession of the said Indians; so as not to interfere with the Claims of any friendly Indians, or of any People willing to become Subjects of this Commonwealth; and for this we think you may safely confide in the Justice & Generosity of the Virginia Assembly.
            We are Sir Yr. most Hble Servts.
                G. Wythe.
                G Mason
                Th: Jefferson