French and Indian War

Governor Robert Dinwiddie to the Earl of Halifax, October 25, 1754

extracted from

The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Volume I, R. A. Brock, editor
(Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 1883), pages 366-369.

Governor Dinwiddie to the Earl of Halifax
Octír 25th, [1754.]

Rít Hon.:

I have [had] the Honír of receiving Yír favo. of the 6th of July by Govír. Dobbs, who arrived here last Week, and [I] have prevailed with him to remín with me till Govír Sharpe, of Míylíd, comes, having sent an Express for him, and shal, with their Assistance, form, a Plan for the Operatís of the Campaign early next Spring agíst the French. The Invasín and wicked designs of the Fr. on the River Ohio has given me a Continual Uneasiness, wích was increased by the supine and unaccountable Obstinacy of the Assemblies of the different Colonies on this Contít, yít thoí they were convinced of the Progress they had made, and the threatíg Speeches they gave out, they cíd not be roused from their lethargic Indolence, to grant suitable Supplies for conducting an Expeditín so necessary for their own Safety. This, My Lord, is my unhappy Situatín, and prevented my executíg his Míyís Comíds with such Spirit and Resolutín as the emergency of our Affairs required; however, with the few Men and little Money, I have done every Thing in my Power. I have got a Magazine and Fort almost finished near to the Allegany Mountís, and shall, during the Winter Mos., provide every Thing yít may be wanted here to go on Action very early in the Spring, and hope for a Blessing on our just Designs. I may venture to affirm yít the greatest View I have, is to discharge the Trust reposed in me, and the Service left to my Conduct, in such Manner as to have his Míyís gracious Approbatín, and I shall continue, with Assiduity, to perform my Duty with Integrity and Spirit. The Support sent from His Míyís generous donatín, came very opportunely, as the Money granted by our Assembly was expended. The Assembly met on my Prorogation last Thursday, wín, in my Speech, I informed them of His Míyís paternal Care, and his condescending Goodness in granting us Money and small Arms, wích, I hope, will have the proper effect in raising in them a grateful Acknowledgemít of his Míyís Goodness, and incite in them a due regard to their own Safety, by granting a large Supply, wích, I am endeavouring to promote among the Members of the Ho. I beg pardon for not sending a proper Estimate of the necessary Chaís and Supplies. I found it merely impracticable, from the bad Intelligence we have of the Enemyís Numbers, but I have repeatedly wrote for Ordnance Stores, Some Engineers and Officers, and if eligible, two Regimíts of Men, wích [I] am of Opinion, with wít may be raised here, will be sufficient to drive the Fr. from His Míyís Lands. I sent an Express for Govír Sharpe, who is now appointed by His Míy to Comíd the combined Forces on this Expeditín, and inclosed, I send the Plan of Operatís concertíd between him, Mr. Dobbs, and myself, for the Spring Campaign. If the different Colonies wíd exert themselves with Spirit, we have numbers of Men sufficient to drive the Fr. from the Continent; but the obstinate Behaviour of their Representatives in the Colonies, such (withít Precedent) [being] entirely easy, thoí their Enemies are at their Doors, yet they remain unactive at the Time of the most pressing Danger, wherefore, some Regulars from G. B. will be of essential Service. The Supply granted here, was voted in a most inconstitutional Method, and not agreeable to my Instructís, and I was some Days before I cíd give my Assent to it, but wín I considered the the [sic] Emergency of our Affairs, I was prevailed on to give my Assent, with the Advice of the Council, and I hope this will plead my Excuse with You. Our Militia, I think, is upwards of 20,000 Men, (but [I] shall, soon transmit a regular Accít thereof,) but my Líd, the Act of Assembly relating to the Militia, confines them to Actín within this Comín, so, if I had raised them, not one of them wíd have gone over the Allegany Mountís, and in course, cíd be of no Service on this Expeditín. I therefore now propose a Plan, yít each Coty, from their Militia, supply one in ten, wích will be at least 2,000 Men, this I lay before the Assembly, for withít an Act, I cannot even Comíd them to march out of the Domín, or yít wích is conceived to be the Limits of the Govít, at this Time; however, if I can prevail on them to pass such an Act, it will answer the End much better than raising the Militia; under the present Indulgence they plead from the former Act, and I am greatly in hopes yít we shall be able in the Spring to raise a proper Force, to repell the unjust Invasions of the Fr. The Fr., I presume, will not all Winter at the Ohio, but Keep proper Numbers in their Forts, however, as most of their Men, Provisís, &c., are broít by Water from Canada, their Supplies come by an easy Carriage, but we must endeavor to be at the Ohio before they can come down the River, being hindered by the Ice till the end of Mar. or beginníg of Apr. You may be assured yít the Money sent, and the Credit given, shall be managed with the greatít Prudence, and applied with Frugality, and Oeconomy for the Geníl Service of these Colonies, and I hope it will be attended with Success in defeatíg the Machinatís of the Fr. I have [been] and shall be very earnest in cultivating Fídship with the different Natís of Indís, and in particular with the Soíern Indians, thoí I meet with many Obstacles from the Govír of So. Car. Some of the Chiefs of the Cherokees, and Catawbas have been here. I recíd and entertainíd them in a very Friendly Manner, sent them away greatly pleased with the Presents given them, and with full Assurances of Fíd ship, but Mr. Glen complains and says, I have no Business with these Indís, for they are under his Protectín, and yít no other Colony has any Business with them. I cannot see his reasons for this, unless from a Jealously of our People trading with them. I wrote him yít all the Indís yít are in Amity with B. Subjects have a right to the Countenance and Fídship of each Colony, and yít the Trade is open for all the Subjects, thoí very little carried on from this [Colony]. The Emperor of the Cherokees and King of the Catawbas, told me, whenever I wanted, they wíd supply me with 800 or 1,000 of their Warriors to go agíst the Fr.; accordingly, in May last, I sent a Messenger to tell them the Fr. had taken up the Hatchet and Invaded their Hunting Grounds on the River Ohio, yít I was raising Forces to protect these lands and drive the Fr. off, and, therefore, I desired their Assistance. They sent me Word yít they were ready, but yít Mr. Glen had desired them to remain at Home wích they did. Mr. Glen seems to dispute His Míyís Right to these Lands and finds Fault with the Treaties of Lancaster, and the Logstown, saying the other Natís of Kindís concerned in these Lands were not presít, therefore, not right, and yít I shíd have sent to the Govír of Canada, with Accít of the Insults done by his People, before I had offered to resist their Power. In short, his Letter might have been Argumíts from a Fr. Comander, more than from an English Govír. My sending to the Fr. Conídít, and wít followed thereon, were exactly agreeable to His Míyís Comíds, and [I] shall continue in due obedíce thereto. However, I shall press yít Gent. to build a Fort in the Upper Cherokee Coítíy, and offer my Assistance in an Affair of so much Use, and at this Time, so absolutely necessary, for no private Reflectís on my Conduct shall retard the general Intention of the Crown, but my Inclinatís and Conduct shall be with proper Spirit. I have the Pleasure of acquainting You yít the Ho. of Burgesses, after strong Applicatís, and pressing Argumíts, at last have voted 20,000 £ for support of the Expeditín, and as there have been some disputes betwín the Regulars and the Officers appointed by me, I am now determiníd to reduce our Regimít into Indít Companies, so yít from our Forces there will be no other distinguishíd officer above a Capt., and I shall raise 10 Compaís of 100 Men each, wích, with the additional Forces from the neighbouring Colonies, I hope we shall be able to bring 2,000 or 2,500 Men into the Field. I have a Letter this Day informing me that the Twightwees continue in our Intít, and have declared agíst the Fr., and killed many of them. I shall endeavor to send them an Express to acquaint them of our designs to support them, and all our other Frídly Indís. The above Letter brings Accít of the half Kingís death, (wích is a Loss as he was a steady Friend, and a brave Man.) The Secíry of the State writes me yít His Míy proposes reimbursing the 20,000 [£] sent me, from the 2s. __ Hhd. I have earnestly entreated him to represent to His Míy, the great Prejudice it will be to his Affairs here, if yít Fund shíd be applied to the Reimursemít of the above Sum; it will be many Years before it wíd be able to pay it, and at this Time I have no other Fund to call on for a Supply on any extraordinary Emergency. I, therefore, híbly pray your Intít to prevent any Warrít for Paymít from yít Revenue. I have wrote fully to Sír Thos. Robinson on yít head; Yír favor. in speaking to him thereon, I am convinced will be of great Service, and am perswaded if the Inconveniences are properly considered it will be stopt, at least for some Time, till this Expeditín is ended. Excuse the Length of this Letter, and [I] beg to assure You as my Hands are now strengtheníd with Supplies, yít I will with great Assiduity and Care, do every Thing in my Power for His Míyís Service, and the Good of His Empire on this Contít, and beg Leave to assure You, yít with great Deference and dutiful Respects, I am,

Rít Hon., Yír Lídís much obliged and most obídít humble Servít.

French and Indian War Documents

West Virginia Archives and History