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Letter from Arthur St. Clair to Governour Penn



Ligonier, June 16, 1774.

SIR: There is very little alteration in the affairs of this country since my last, which was a few day ago, only we have a certain account of two or more people being killed by the Indians, one Mr˙ McClure and Kincade, the person for whom you lately issued a special commission of the peace. They it seems, were leading a party of forty men to join Captain Conolly at Wheeling, and were attacked by four Indians, who made their escape without so much as being fired at.

Before this accident, Mr˙ Conolly had determined to march from Fort Pitt, (which he now calls Fort Dunmore) with three or four hundred men he had embodied for the purpose of chastising the Shawanese, and to erect forts at Wheeling and Hockhocking to overawe the Indians, and from thence to carry the war into their own


country; of this, he was pleased to inform me by letter, and to desire I would act in concert with him. You may be assured sir, I shall be cautious of taking any step that may have the most distant tendency to draw this Province into an active share in the war they have had no hand in kindling; but I have since received accounts that the above murders instantly changed the plan, and Mr˙ Conolly remains in garrison. It is said some of his party discovered a very large body of Indians crossing the Ohio, below Wheeling; if that be true, as it is not improbable, we may expect soon to hear of much mischief being done, as there is not the least doubt of several small parties being out at this time. It is some satisfaction the Indians seem to discriminate between us and those who attacked them, and their revenge has fallen hitherto, on that side of the Monongahela, which they consider as Virginia; but least that should not continue, we are taking all possible care to prevent a heavy stroke falling upon the few people who are left in this country. Forts at different places, so as to be most convenient, are now nearly completed, which gives an appearance of security for the women and children, and with the ranging parties which have been drawn in to preserve the communication, has in a great degree, put a stop to the unreasonable panic that had seized them, but in all of them there is a great scarcity of ammunition, and several messengers have returned from below, without being able to purchase.

I am very anxious to know whether the ranging companies are agreeable to your Honour or not, both because the expense of continuing them, will be too heavy for the subscribers, and that I am every day pressed to increase them. This I have positively refused to do, until I receive your Honour' s instructions, and I well know how averse our Assemblies have formerly been to engage in the defence of the frontiers, and if they are still of the same disposition, the circumstance of the white people being the aggressors, will afford them a topic to ring the changes on, and conceal their real sentiments.

Last night I received several petitions from several different parts of the country, which I have now the honour to transmit to you by Doctor McKenzie, from Pittsburgh. The disturbances of this country has ruined his business, but should the Province think of raising troops, he would be glad, I believe, to be employed. I can, sir, recommend him to your Honour as an expert surgeon, and gentlemanly man. He has served as a surgeon in the navy.

I was mistaken in saying that two people were killed on Ten Mile Creek. Mr˙ McClure was killed, and Kincade wounded; however, it would have been no great matter if he had been killed, as he had accepted a commission in the service of Virginia, so soon after the notice you had been pleased to take of him, at the request of his father-in-law, Colonel Wilson. I am afraid there are some more of our Virginia friends that do not play us fair, but it is not a time at present for purgation.

Unless you shall forbid me, I shall continue to write to you in this manner, whatever occurs, as it is the only way I have at present, to show your Honour, that I am, with the greatest respect, your Honour' s most obedient, and most humble servant,

P˙ S. For any thing that has escaped me, I take the liberty to refer you to Doctor McKenzie.

The day before yesterday, I had a visit from Mr˙ Ward. He informed me Mr˙ Croghan set out for Williaimsburg, the day before, to represent the distresses, he says, of the people of this country. At the same time, he informed me, that the Delawares had got notice of the murder of Wipey, and that Mr˙ Croghan had desired him to come to me on that occasion, that he advised that they should be spoke to, and some small present made to them as condolence, and to cover his bones, as they express it. I do not well know what to do. Such a present as some few of us would be willing to contribute for, might be thought unworthy of the Province, and such an one as might come up to my idea would be great presumption to offer. This however, is certain, the Delawares are still friendly, and it may perhaps, prevent a general war if they can be kept in temper.

I believe I shall go to Fort Pitt to-morrow, and will consider well of it.