Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789


Portrait of Arthur St. Clair.
enlarge image icon Major General Arthur St. Clair (1736-1818).
Edward Wellmore (fl. 1834-1867). Engraving, undated.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-16736.

Arthur St. Clair (1736-1818)

Born in Scotland, Arthur St. Clair unsuccessfully studied anatomy before deciding to enlist in the British army. During the Revolutionary War, St. Clair fought for the Americans, but failed so miserably in defending Fort Ticonderoga that Congress recalled him from service in 1777.

While serving as a delegate to Congress, St. Clair was made Administrator of Indian Affairs, responsible for enforcing the terms of treaties made with the Indian peoples of America's western territories. Later, he was named Governor of the Northwest territories. Although St. Clair successfully supervised the implementation of Native American treaties in 1784 and 1785, the Indian people claimed that the treaties had been imposed on them by force and fraud. Dissatisfaction led to warfare in 1791, during which General St. Clair was badly defeated.