Governor Robert Dinwiddie to Horace Walpole, October 25, 1754
The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Volume I, R. A. Brock, editor
(Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 1883), pages 370-372.
Governor Dinwiddie to Horace Walpole.
Oct’r 25th, 1754.
Y’r kind Let’s of the 1st June, and 15th of July, I had the Hon’r of receiv’g Yesterday, and am much obliged for the Approbat’n You are pleas’d to give on my Transactions in regard to His M’y’s Revenue of Quit Rents. The Petit’n of the Ho. of B., against the Pistole Fee, was rejected by the Council, and ordered y’t the B’d of Trade sh’d regulate y’t Fee for the Future. They have accordingly directed y’t no Fee sh’d be taken for Lands less than 100 Acres, or on the Rights of Families, imported agreeable to an Act of Assembly, w’ch is perfectly right, and w’t never was dem’d. And, further, y’t no Fee sh’d be taken [for] Grants of Land [the] other Side of the Mount’s, as His Majesty is graciously pleased to exempt them from Quit Rents for 10 Years. As I am determin’d punctually to obey any Orders sent me, I shall not insist on any Fees for Lands so exempted from Quit Rents. They are further pleased to direct and order y’t I sh’d grant Patents for the Lands so long taken up and Possessed before my Arrival with’t being bro’t to the Rent Roll, with’t any Fee; but their L’ds. are silent as to the Arrears of Quit rents, w’ch, if given up, these People [will] obtain all they desired, and my Applicat’n for the Arrears will be defeated. I am willing to think it may be an Omission or Oversight at that B’d, therefore I decline Signing their Pat’ts till further Orders, For I offered to sign their Patents with’t the Fee if they w’d pay the Arrears of Quit rents. However, if it’s the design of their L’ds. to give up the Arrears, I shall give due Obedience to their Com’ds, but tho’ it is proper to apprise you therewith. And for my Conduct for the future, in regard to His M’y’s Quit rents, I am h’bly of Opinion y’t I sh’d have an Instruct’n direct’g Patents to be made out and executed immediately on the Return of the Works and Improvem’ts to the Secr’y’s Office. This will regulate the Quit Rent Roll for the Future, and much improve y’t Revenue, and this is the Practice in the Northern Neck, under L’d Fairfax’s Proprietary, and it is h’bly submitted to You. Their L’ds. have further directed, y’t no Person have a Patent for more than 1,000 Acres, w’ch I shall duly attend to. The granting of large Quantities to one Person has been of Service in settling the back and remote Parts of this Dom’n, as these great Grants have been subdivided to poor People y’t come from the other Colonies, and are not able to be at the Charge of coming here and taking out Grants for small Quantities of land; however, the Rule prescribed shall be observed, and any Inconveniences y’t may occur shall be hereafter represented. We are at present in a State of War, the French have very unjustly invaded His M’y’s Lands; they have taken a Fort I ordered to be built by the King’s Com’ds, near the River Ohio; they continue in Arms and threaten Us with further Invasions and depredat’s, and our Assemblies on this Cont’t are seized with a lethargic Supineness, by not granting proper Supplies to defeat their Designs; I have done all in my Power to awaken them to a Sense of their danger, and to endeavor to get proper. Supplies, but to very little Purpose. His M’y has been graciously pleased to order me 10,000 [£] in Specie, and Direct’s to draw for 10,000 [£] more, w’ch was a most agreeable Supply, and I shall take the proper Care of applying it with Frugality to the Uses designed. Our Militia being very raw and unskilful in Military Affairs, I have represented the Necessity of hav’g two Regim’ts of Regulars to put us on a proper Footing with the Fr. Forces, who have a great many Regulars in their Army at the Ohio; they threaten us much, and, indeed, I have reason to think they aim at a general overthrow of all our Colonies on this Cont’t. and to reduce them to the Obedience of their Grand Monarch, but I trust in God, if we are reinforced from, and assisted by our neighbouring Colonies, y’t next sumer we shall be able to drive them from His M’y’s Lands on the Ohio. This is w’t I have much at Heart, and shall do all in my Power for y’t purpose, w’ch might have been done before [if] the Assemblies of the different Colonies had with a proper Spirit granted mutual Supplies. I flatter myself y’t now they begin to see their Danger, and hope they will in duty comply with the Com’ds of His M’y on this Head. I am ashamed of the dirty Transact’n in regard to the Pales; I believe I told Mr. Blair of the Ship,. But if I had seen the Bill of Lading, I sh’d [have] shewn the injustice of leaving the Freight so open to the owners of the Ship. I must say, the Owner does not appear to have acted with Hon’r in reduc’g them to square Feet and then charging equal Freight with Perishable Comodities. Mr. Blair has sent Y’r D’p’ty, Mr. Smith, an Affidavit, w’ch I wish may answer the End, or expose the Owner. Before I left Londo., You ment’d Y’r Intent’n of having Pales from this [Colony] and I wrote You on the Head, but You answ’d You w’d not trouble me, but had wrote to Mr. Blair. Y’r Hon’r surely must think Nothing c’d be trouble to me in executing Y’r Com’ds, w’ch I shall always think myself in Duty bound to do, as I shall never forget the Obligat’s I am under to Y’r F’dship and Patronage. It gives me much Joy to hear You are in a perfect State of Health. Pray God continue it for His M’y’s Service and the Happiness of Your agreeable Family.
I rem’n with Gratitude and due respects.
R’t Hon, Y’r most obed’t and most humble serv’t.
French and Indian War Documents