George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Arthur St. Clair, 29 January 1784

From Arthur St. Clair

Philada Janry 29th 1784


In Answer to your Circular Letter of the 28th ulto I have the Honor to inform You that Notice has been communicated to all the Delegates of the Society of this State (except Major Edwards) of the Time and Place which your Excellency has fixed for the general Meeting of the Cincinnati agreeably to the original Institution.1

It would be very proper that all the Delegates should attend, but I fear it will not be the Case—General Stewart will probably be sailed for Ireland 2—Major Edwards is in Carolina, and may not be able to return in time, and it is doubtful as to myself. If a proper Number of the Society can be got together, a new Appointment in the Room of those who will necessarily be absent, may take Place; but the Members are now so dispersed, it is not easily done, besides that frequent Journeys to this City accord but ill with their Circumstances. It was a great Mistake to appoint any Person whose Attendance could not be relied on. I have the Honor to be Sir Your most obedient Servant

Ar. St Clair


Arthur St. Clair (1736–1818), who became the first governor of the Northwest Territory in 1787, was president of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati. A former British officer who served in the French and Indian War, he settled in Pennsylvania and in 1776 supported American independence. He had risen to the rank of major general in the American forces when his abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga in 1777 clouded his military reputation, putting a damper on his military career.

1See GW’s Circular Letter to the State Society of the Cincinnati, 1 Jan.1784. Evan Edwards was major in the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment when he retired on 1 Jan. 1783.

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