George Washington Papers

John Stagg, Jr., to Tobias Lear, 4 June 1792

John Stagg, Jr., to Tobias Lear

[Philadelphia] 4 June 1792. Forwards “in the absence of the Secretary of War1 . . . the enclosed letter from Governor Blount; which I request you will please to lay before the President of the United States.”2


John Stagg, Jr. (1758–1803), of New York, who had risen to the rank of major in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, was appointed a clerk at the War Department in March 1786, and by 1792 he had been promoted to the position of chief clerk. Stagg served in that capacity throughout the remainder of GW’s two presidential administrations.

1For the reasons for Knox’s absence, see the secretary of war’s letter to Lear, 3 June 1792, note 1.

2The letter which Southwest Territory governor William Blount wrote to Knox from Knoxville on 5 May 1792 reads: “Enclosed are copies of my letters to the chiefs of the Chickasaws and Choctaws, of the 27th of April, by a person who will certainly overtake Messrs. [James Randolph] Robertson and [Anthony] Foster before their departure from Nashville. I shall again write them in such terms as shall appear to me proper, under the change of circumstances that have taken place, and shall invite them to meet me at as early a day as the information I have received will warrant an expectation of the arrival of the goods.

“I beg you to assure the President, that I never shall order any part of the militia into service, only in cases of imminent danger; and I beg leave to remark in the present, I did not order them out until many murders had been committed, although Virginia, our next neighbor, with a less exposed frontier, and without a single murder committed since the 27th of August, had called out two full companies. I have not heard of any murders committed on our frontiers, since that of the 5th of April. . . . The proposed meeting at Coyatee, of the chiefs, to hear the report of the Bloody Fellow and associates, from Philadelphia, has not yet taken place; but I am informed it is now intended to be held in twelve days.” Blount concludes his letter with a long discussion of horse stealing by the Creeks and by Indians and whites in combination and the consequent raising of tensions along the frontier (ASP, Indian Affairs, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:265).

Index Entries