From Ohio History Central
In this letter dated January 5th, 1789, General Henry Knox (secretary of war) asks Arthur St. Clair about his negotiations with the Native Americans that preceded the signing of the Treaty of Fort Harmar on January 9, 1789. Knox insists that everything should be done to avoid war and that if war does occur he is sure that "the evils of it may be justly charged to the indians." Since many of the Native American leaders were not present at the signing of the Treaty of Fort Harmar, a group of them led by Blue Jacket and Little Turtle refused to abide by the treaty. One year later, General Josiah Harmar led an military force against the Native Americans to force them to obey the treaty. The Native American forces defeated Harmar in October of 1790 and St. Clair personally led another force against the natives and was defeated in 1791. This led President Washington to appoint General Anthony Wayne to lead the armies against the Native Americans. Wayne was successful at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. At the end of the letter, Knox informs St. Clair of the proceedings of the Confederation Congress (the U. S. government before the official adoption of the U.S. Constitution in March of 1789), and whether he thinks there will be another session of it before the new congress is scheduled to meet. The two-page letter measures 8.5" by 13" (22 by 34 cm) and is part of a larger collection of Arthur St. Clair letters that is owned by the State Library of Ohio and on permanent deposit at the Ohio Historical Society. Arthur St. Clair (1734-1818) was governor of the Northwest Territory and administrator of Indian affairs for the western territories from 1787 to 1802. St. Clair led an army against the Native Americans, who threatened war after their land was given to the U. S. government without their authorization, in November 1791. St. Clair suffered a disastrous defeat, losing half of his men.
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