Arthur St. Clair Letter to James Ross   Save
Arthur St. Clair Letter to James Ross
Description: This letter dated January 21, 1789 is an original copy of a letter Arthur St. Clair wrote to his friend and fellow Federalist James Ross (later a senator from Pennsylvania), which included a petition to Congress to divide the Northwest Territory into multiple sections. In the letter, St. Clair describes his reasons for division of the territory. The four-page letter measures 9" by 13" (22 by 33 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. St. Clair believed that the Northwest Territory was too large to be administered effectively because the types of settlements spread throughout the territory were significantly different in character. Because the territory was so large, he feared that military orders could not be dispatched fast enough from a central command to the outposts. Similarly, the distance territory residents were required to travel to attend the territorial court delayed administration of justice. Later, when Ohio was close to becoming a state, St. Clair proposed this division of territory again in order to insure Federalist majorities. Influential members of the Democratic-Republican Party successfully lobbied for St. Clair's removal. 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 American Indians, 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. In response, President George Washington appointed General Anthony Wayne to defeat the Indians, which he did in 1794 at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. After being removed from office as territorial governor, St. Clair retired to his home in Lingonier, Pennsylvania and died there in 1818. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: Om74_1146695_004
Subjects: Ohio Government; Presidents and Politics; Military Ohio; Northwest Territory; Governors
Places: Northwest Territory