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Feb' ry Letter from Arthur St. Clair



Ligonier, February 2, 1774.

I am honored with your letter of the 20th January, which reached me the 28th, and am happy to find the method pursued at Pittsburg, on the 25th, did not very materially differ from that you had been pleased to direct.


Doctor Conolly was arrested previous to the meeting, by my orders, on his avowing himself the author of the advertisement requiring the people to meet as a militia, and committed on refusing to find sureties for his good behaviour till next court.

I was in hopes the sending him out of the way would have put an end to it altogether; but I was mistaken. About eighty persons in arms assembled themselves, chiefly from Mr˙ Croghan' s neighbourhood, and the country west of and below the Monongahela, and after parading through the town and making a kind of feu de joy, proceeded to the Fort where a cask of rum was produced on the parade, and the head knocked out. This was a very effectual way of recruiting.

As a scene of drunkenness and confusion was likely to ensue, I got the Magistrates (who attended in consequence of the letters I had sent them) together, and read the enclosed paper, which we had concocted that morning, and at the conclusion, when they were required to disperse, they replied they had been invited there, but came with peaceable intentions, and would go home again without molesting any one; on which we left them; however, towards night, their peaceable disposition forsook them, and I should probably have felt their resentment had I not got intimation of their design. I thought it most prudent to keep out of their way.

I have no doubt but the Magistrates will do their duty with spirit, and I shall take the earliest opportunity to make them acquainted with the support your Honor is determined to afford them. In some parts of the country they will have a difficult task, and I am really affraid this affair will be productive of a great deal of confusion. I shall not fail to give them the necessary cautions with regard to the Riot Act, and I think I can judge pretty nearly how far it may be safely extended.

Mr˙Conolly has most certainly a commission from Lord Dunmore, expressly for Pittsburg and its dependencies, and his subalterns are John Stephenson, a brother of Mr˙ Crawford, our senior magistrate, William Harrison, a son-in-law of his, and Dorsey Penticost, who was lately in the commission of the peace here. Mr˙ Penticost has, I hear, been down to Mr˙ Conolly since his confinement, and taken the necessary oaths to qualify him for his military office, and is to assemble the people at Red Stone and take possession of Fort Burd. I have wrote to the Justices in that part of the country to watch his motions. Mr˙McKee is said to be appointed a Justice by Lord Dunmore, but I would fain hope without his consent; at any rate he behaved very well on the late occasion, and as he was doubted, I made a point of having him there under pretence of his being Indian Agent, but in fact, if he was a friend or abettor of Conolly' s measures.

It is, sir, extremely grateful to me that my conduct in any part meets with your approbation; but should I forget to be attentive to any thing that may disturb the happiness of your Government, or from which you may receive a personal injury, I should be guilty of the grossest breach of duty, as well as the blackest, ingratitude, neither of which I trust will ever be the case.

I am, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,


The Honorable John Penn, Esq.