Primary tabs

Letter from Governour Penn to Arthur St. Clair



Philadelphia, August 6, 1774.

SIR: I have received your letters of the 22d and 26th ultimo, enclosing several depositions and letters relative to the present situation of affairs in Westmoreland.

As I find by all the intelligence you have from time to time communicated to me, that the Shawanese as well as Delawares have discovered a strong aversion to entering into a war with Virginia or this Province, and on the contrary have given repeated proofs of their sincere disposition to live in peace and harmony with both Colonies, I have, with the advice of my Council, thought it expedient to send messages to those tribes,
expressing the great concern of this Government at the late unfortunate disturbances between them and some of his Majesty' s subjects belonging to the Colony of Virginia; at the same time declaring our resolution to preserve the treaties of peace and friendship subsisting between us inviolate, and earnestly advising the Shawanese not to strike the people of Virginia, as they, as well as the people of this Province, are all subjects of one and the same great King, who will be as much offended at an injury committed against any one part of his subjects as another, but to exert their best endeavours to settle the differences that have arisen between the Virginians


and them, and to continue to live in friendship with all his Majesty' s subjects.

As to the proposal of engaging the service of the Delawares to protect our frontiers, I would only just observe that it is a matter in the present situation of Indian affairs too delicate for me to intermeddle with.

Since my last letter to you I have considered of what you mentioned in a former letter, and now repeat respecting the establishment of some place of security for carrying on the Indian trade, as you say that Pittsburgh will certainly be abandoned by all our people; and I am now to acquaint you that I approve of the measure of laying out a town in the Proprietary Manor at Kittaning to accommodate the traders and the other inhabitants who may choose to reside there; and therefore enclose you an order for that purpose. But I cannot, without the concurrence of the Assembly, give any directions for erecting a stockade, or any other work, for the security of the place, which may incur an expense to the Province.

With respect to the continuance of the two hundred rangers in the service, it must altogether depend upon the intelligence we receive of the situation of our affairs with the Indians. At present I think it very improper to discharge them; and it is not improbable that if the commotions between the Virginians and Indians should not soon be at an end, it may be necessary to keep them on foot for the protection of our people till the meeting of the Assembly on the 19th of September.

I herewith send to your care the messages above mentioned, with a belt of wampum accompanying each, and desire you will engage some trusty intelligent person to carry them and interpret the messages to the Indians. A young man of the name of Elliott, who has been trading at the Shawanese Towns and lately came from thence, has offered his services to carry any messages from Government to the Indians, and may probably be a very proper person to employ on this occasion. He was to leave this place yesterday on his return to Westmoreland. I should be glad to have his deposition taken as to what he knows respecting the late disturbances between the Virginians and the Indians, from the beginning of them.

You hint something in your last letter about making presents to the Indians, but, though such a step at some future convenient time might be very useful and proper, I am of opinion it would be very unadvisable under the present circumstances.

I am, with great regard, sir, your most obedient humble servant,


To Arthur St˙ Clair, Esq˙, Ligonier.