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Letter from Governour Penn to Arthur St˙ Clair



Philadelphia, June 28, 1774.

SIR: The accounts which you have transmitted of the temper of the Indians, and the murders they have already perpetrated, are truly alarming, and give every reason to apprehend that we shall not long be exempt from the calamities of a savage war. The desertion of that country in consequence of the panic which has seized the inhabitants, on this occasion, must be attended with the most mischievous effects, and prove ruinous to the immediate sufferers, and distressing to the Province in general. Every measure, therefore, should be attempted to stop the progress of this evil, and to induce those who have already gone off, to return to their habitations; and, I must rely on you to exert all your prudence and activity for this purpose. The steps which have been already taken appear to me very proper, and I have no doubt, but that you will continue your endeavours to restore the drooping spirits of the people, and inspire them with a resolution to stand their ground, at least till they are satisfied of the intentions of the Indians towards this Province. You may assure them that Government sensibly feels the distresses of their situation — that it will be attentive to their interests, and afford them every assistance and protection, in its power to give. With this disposition, I have issued writs for convening the Assembly, on the 18th of next month; and shall immediately on their meeting, lay this matter before them, and have reason to expect that such measures will be adopted as may effectually enable the Government to extend to them a relief, adequate to its wishes, and their wants. In the mean time I shall give orders for such further supply of ammunition to be sent up as will be sufficient for the present occasion.

I have wrote to Sir William Johnson, informing him of the intelligence we had received of these transactions, and requesting his interposition with the Six Nations, to use their influence with the Shawanese Delawares, to prevent further hostilities on their part, and to assure them of the sincere intentions of this Government to continue their pacific disposition towards all our Indian brethren. I have also wrote to Lord Dunmore, complaining of Conolly' s outrageous and tyrannical behaviour at Pittsburgh, and representing the dangerous tendency his military operations


may have to involve the Colonies in a general Indian war. I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,


To Arthur St˙ Clair, Esquire, at Ligonier, in Westmoreland County.

P˙ S. My Commissioners who attended Lord Dunmore, could not induce him to come into any reasonable temporary line of jurisdiction, and therefore things must remain in the disagreeable situation of interfering jurisdictions. In this unhappy situation I am satisfied, you and the other Magistrates will act a prudent part. It is impossible in such a case to give particular directions. With respect to the keeping up the rangers you have raised for the security of the inhabitants, I shall recommend it to the Assembly to defray the expense that shall accrue in that necessary measure; and I cannot have the least doubt, that they will approve of what has been done on this occasion, as also the continuance of the same forces, until their sentiments can be known.