Papers of the Continental Congress
Arthur Campbell to President Washington May 10, 1789
National Archives & Records Administration
M247-93 i78 v6 pg. 369
Transcribed by Billy Markland 2/16/2001

Washington County V. May 10th. 1789


Although I am not honored with a formal acquaintance yet I can count myself among the number of your early and uniform admirers and who can now rejoice in seeing the affairs of my Country administered successfully by your hand in preference to any other

I was among the first that embraced the principles of the American revolution, and was not merely an inactive well wisher; what was then endured to avert tyranny, I could willingly encounter again, if necessary, to promote and secure federalism. This disposition is not excited by sinister motives. The glory and prosperity of my Country is my first wish, and for myself, an undisturbed retirement. My circumstances in life will procure me this, if we, at length, influence a government of wise laws.

This preface will be my apology for the freedom I have now taken, and hereafter may take, in addressing your Excellency, confiding at the same time, that my communications may remain with yourself, and either notice or neglect them, as you judge them useful or otherwise. My information being chiefly confined to the South-Western parts of the United States. A part of our Country that has hitherto been too much neglected.

It has no doubt been observed by your, Sir, that we ought to demean ourselves both watchfully and circumspectly towards our late enemies, viz. active rivals the British nation. A late visit of Col. Connolly to Kentucky, and what we learn from Alexr McGilvery, may evince the views of that Court, on something more than a commercial monopoly. War will not be a popular measure in the youthful stage of our government and important must be the considerations, for entering into it, at anytime. A wise and judicious policy may yet be our cheapest, and most successful, resource. The insolence of the Indian half-breed ought to be checked, or rather that he may gradually be rendered a useful tool to the powers that flatter him, and in particular the governor of the Bahamas. -Georgia might make some concessions and be more moderate in their speculations on Indian territory. -South Carolina might not be so anxious to monopolize the Indian trade at all hazards, and ought not to discover a disposition to prefer the interests of Savages, and those inimical ones too, to that of their bretheren [sic], and neighbors.

A detachment of the American Regulars, posted on the Tenasee [sic] river, near the Muscle Shoals, may if under a faithful and intelligent officer, awe our enemies, encourage our friends, conciliate all, or if that cannot be effected, forment divisions, and play off the interests and views of one Tribe, against that of another, so as to render the machinations of a foreign power, amongst them, of little avail against us. It is a desirable event to confirm the Chickasaws in their ancient friendship for the Anglo-Americans. A Clever Man for Agent of Indian Affairs may do great matters towards compleating so good a Work. The greatest part of the Choctaws, may easily be united in interest with the Chickasaws.

What I have yet learnt of Connolly's visit, is too vague, to merit your attention; however this much we may be assured of, it was for no good to us. -Garrisons established at Cayhoga and near the mouth of the Myamis of the Lake, will make it a matter of indifference on several accounts, whether we are soon possessed of Fort Detroit or not. This would preclude emissaries and Indian freebooters from Canada visiting our new Settlements with success.

The inclosed [sic] paper may be of some information in the line of civil duties. It will at least shew a change of sentiment in some of the Members of the late Virginia Convention. If the hint is a good one, that the Inquest of the County, may notice omissions of the legislation and infractions of the Constitution, an Act of Congress may be necessary to define their powers.

It may be of little avail to have a fundamental law, if there is not a sett of Men, diffused over the Country and officially appointed to be Conservators and to make known violations. Impeachment is a harsh word, and ought but seldom to be resorted to. –It may be said the People at large are the proper Guardians of the national Constitution. We admire the sentiment without attending to the practicability of execution. However Grand Jurors seem to come the closest to the vox populis of any regulation that can be thought of that will prove efficient.

Arduous must be the task, and weighty the [burden?] of him, who desires consisentiously [sic] to administer the affairs of a great nation, rather as the father of the people, than the vigorous Magistrate. Them who may disinterestedly essay to lessen the task, and lighten his burden, will have some claim to the character of patriot, and the esteem of the Man, who has been so often hail'd the deliverer of his Country.

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of Esteem of Respect,

Your most obedient servant,
    Arthur Campbell

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