George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson, 26 February 1793

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] February 26th 1793

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to send1 to the Secretary of State a Copy of the proceedings to the Executive Department of the Government of the North Western Territory2—and a copy ⟨of⟩3 the laws passed there from the 1st day of July to the 31st of december 1792, which the President requests the Secretary to look over, and to report to him any thing that may therein appe[a]r to require the agency of the President, or that may be necessary to be known to him.4

The President wishes to know whether Judge Turner has gone to the Territory or not. And if he should not be gone, that5 he may be pressed to go immediately.6

The President likewise wishes to know when Governor St Clair intends to go to his Government, as he conceives it highly proper that he should repair thither without delay.7

Tobias Lear
Secretary to the President of the United States.

ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers; ADfS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW. Minor differences in word usage exist between the draft, letter-book copy, and the ALS, the most important of which are noted below.

1Up to this point in the sentence the draft originally read, “The President sends.

2The proceedings of the government of the Northwest Territory, from July to December 1792, are printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends 3:380–90.

3This word supplied from the draft manuscript.

4These laws are printed in Pease, Laws of the Northwest Territory, description begins Theodore Calvin Pease, ed. The Laws of the Northwest Territory, 1788–1800. Springfield, Ill., 1925. In Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 17. description ends 57–119. Jefferson wrote GW on 2 Mar. that he had “examined the Journal of the Proceedings in the Executive department of government Northwest of the Ohio from July 1. 1792. to Dec. 31. 1792.” He reported “That there is nothing contained in the said Journal which calls for any thing to be done on the part of the President of the United States” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

5In the draft and letter-book copy, this phrase reads: “the President requests that.”

6George Turner was one of the three judges of the Northwest Territory (Turner to GW, 18 Aug. 1789, and source note, and GW to U.S. Senate, 11 Sept. 1789). In 1792 Winthrop Sargent, secretary of the territory, complained to GW about Turner’s long absence from the bench, and GW asked Jefferson to investigate the matter (Sargent to GW, 6 July, Jefferson to GW, 12 Nov. 1792 [second letter], and note 1). For the results of Jefferson’s efforts, see GW to Jefferson, 10 Mar., 5 April, Jefferson to GW, 1 April 1793.

7Arthur St. Clair was frequently absent from his post as governor of the Northwest Territory. At this time he was in Philadelphia dealing with a congressional inquiry into his army’s defeat in 1791 (William Darke to GW, 9–10 Nov. 1791, and source note). St. Glair was also meeting with GW and Indian representatives from the Northwest Territory (St. Clair to GW, 2 Feb. 1793, and notes 1–2, and Henry Knox to Lear, 11 Feb., n.2).

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