Thomas Jefferson Papers

V. Tobias Lear to the Secretary of State, 16 December 1790

V. Tobias Lear to the Secretary of State

United States Decr. 16th. 1790


By the President’s Command I have the honor to transmit the enclosed letter from Winthrop Sargent Esqr Secy of the Western Territory, to the President of the United States: which the President requests may be put with the communications from the Western Territory.—I have the honor to be with the highest respect Sir. Yr most Ob. St.

Tobias Lear
S. P. U. S.

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR). Not recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Winthrop Sargent to the President, 1 Aug. 1790, explaining that the duties of the governor, which he was required by law to assume at certain times, involved additional expenses for which no provision had been made and which his private finances could not defray; that, as Secretary, he had made applications to the Board of Treasury for reimbursement of advances made “for Stationary, Printing, Public Seal &ca.” and these had all been met by silence; that the division of the Territory into counties and divisions, all of which needed to be supplied with copies of laws, proclamations, and ordinances, made it impossible for any one person, “tho’ devoting his whole Time,” to perform this duty; that Governor St. Clair had informed him it was expected he should also consider himself “as Secretary to the Indian Commission—a Business which in the Western Territory will probably for a long Time demand much Attention”; that when the superintendency of Indian affairs was given to the governor, his salary had been increased; that it was therefore to be presumed some further provision should be made for the office of secretary “if, contrary to the original System, it is to comprehend and include the Records of Indian Business”; and that, since more important concerns might prevent St. Clair from expressing himself on the subject as intended, he begged leave by this opportunity to lay before Congress both the matter of an increase in salary and the question of his advances, for “such Provision as they may deem meet” (RC in DNA: RG 59, NWT, M/470; Tr, MHi: Sargent Papers; text in Carter, Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–62, 26 vols. description ends , ii, 295–6); this appeal was in substantially the same language Sargent used in his memorial to Congress on 29 Dec. 1790 (same, ii, 318–19;, JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, Gales & Seaton, 1826- description ends , i, 344). On 13 Dec. 1790 Sargent sent this communication to Washington with the following comment: “The enclosed Letter, which I intended should have accompanied my last Official Communications from the Western Territory, has by some mistake been omitted.—Permit me now Sir to lay it before you requesting, only, as much Attention to it as your Excellency may deem proper” (DNA: RG 59, NWT, M/470). For a comment on Washington’s response, see Editorial Note. In an undated memorandum Remsen recorded the addition of Sargent’s letters of 1 August and 13 December 1790 to the documents transmitted by Lear on 8 December 1790 (same; see Document i).

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