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
Oct'r 25th, [1754.]

R't Hon.:

I have [had] the Hon'r of receiving Y'r favo. of the 6th of July by Gov'r. Dobbs, who arrived here last Week, and [I] have prevailed with him to rem'n with me till Gov'r Sharpe, of M'yl'd, comes, having sent an Express for him, and shal, with their Assistance, form, a Plan for the Operat's of the Campaign early next Spring ag'st the French. The Invas'n and wicked designs of the Fr. on the River Ohio has given me a Continual Uneasiness, w'ch was increased by the supine and unaccountable Obstinacy of the Assemblies of the different Colonies on this Cont't, y't tho' they were convinced of the Progress they had made, and the threat'g Speeches they gave out, they c'd not be roused from their lethargic Indolence, to grant suitable Supplies for conducting an Expedit'n so necessary for their own Safety. This, My Lord, is my unhappy Situat'n, and prevented my execut'g his M'y's Com'ds with such Spirit and Resolut'n 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 Mount's, and shall, during the Winter Mos., provide every Thing y't 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 y't 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 M'y's gracious Approbat'n, and I shall continue, with Assiduity, to perform my Duty with Integrity and Spirit. The Support sent from His M'y's generous donat'n, came very opportunely, as the Money granted by our Assembly was expended. The Assembly met on my Prorogation last Thursday, w'n, in my Speech, I informed them of His M'y's paternal Care, and his condescending Goodness in granting us Money and small Arms, w'ch, I hope, will have the proper effect in raising in them a grateful Acknowledgem't of his M'y's Goodness, and incite in them a due regard to their own Safety, by granting a large Supply, w'ch, I am endeavouring to promote among the Members of the Ho. I beg pardon for not sending a proper Estimate of the necessary Cha's and Supplies. I found it merely impracticable, from the bad Intelligence we have of the Enemy's Numbers, but I have repeatedly wrote for Ordnance Stores, Some Engineers and Officers, and if eligible, two Regim'ts of Men, w'ch [I] am of Opinion, with w't may be raised here, will be sufficient to drive the Fr. from His M'y's Lands. I sent an Express for Gov'r Sharpe, who is now appointed by His M'y to Com'd the combined Forces on this Expedit'n, and inclosed, I send the Plan of Operat's concert'd between him, Mr. Dobbs, and myself, for the Spring Campaign. If the different Colonies w'd 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 (with't Precedent) [being] entirely easy, tho' 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 Instruct's, and I was some Days before I c'd give my Assent to it, but w'n 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 Acc't thereof,) but my L'd, the Act of Assembly relating to the Militia, confines them to Act'n within this Com'n, so, if I had raised them, not one of them w'd have gone over the Allegany Mount's, and in course, c'd be of no Service on this Expedit'n. I therefore now propose a Plan, y't each Coty, from their Militia, supply one in ten, w'ch will be at least 2,000 Men, this I lay before the Assembly, for with't an Act, I cannot even Com'd them to march out of the Dom'n, or y't w'ch is conceived to be the Limits of the Gov't, 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 y't 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, Provis's, &c., are bro't 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 beginn'g of Apr. You may be assured y't the Money sent, and the Credit given, shall be managed with the great't Prudence, and applied with Frugality, and Oeconomy for the Gen'l Service of these Colonies, and I hope it will be attended with Success in defeat'g the Machinat's of the Fr. I have [been] and shall be very earnest in cultivating F'dship with the different Nat's of Ind's, and in particular with the So'ern Indians, tho' I meet with many Obstacles from the Gov'r of So. Car. Some of the Chiefs of the Cherokees, and Catawbas have been here. I rec'd and entertain'd them in a very Friendly Manner, sent them away greatly pleased with the Presents given them, and with full Assurances of F'd ship, but Mr. Glen complains and says, I have no Business with these Ind's, for they are under his Protect'n, and y't 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 y't all the Ind's y't are in Amity with B. Subjects have a right to the Countenance and F'dship of each Colony, and y't the Trade is open for all the Subjects, tho' very little carried on from this [Colony]. The Emperor of the Cherokees and King of the Catawbas, told me, whenever I wanted, they w'd supply me with 800 or 1,000 of their Warriors to go ag'st 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, y't I was raising Forces to protect these lands and drive the Fr. off, and, therefore, I desired their Assistance. They sent me Word y't they were ready, but y't Mr. Glen had desired them to remain at Home w'ch they did. Mr. Glen seems to dispute His M'y's Right to these Lands and finds Fault with the Treaties of Lancaster, and the Logstown, saying the other Nat's of Kind's concerned in these Lands were not pres't, therefore, not right, and y't I sh'd have sent to the Gov'r of Canada, with Acc't of the Insults done by his People, before I had offered to resist their Power. In short, his Letter might have been Argum'ts from a Fr. Comander, more than from an English Gov'r. My sending to the Fr. Con'd't, and w't followed thereon, were exactly agreeable to His M'y's Com'ds, and [I] shall continue in due obed'ce thereto. However, I shall press y't Gent. to build a Fort in the Upper Cherokee Co't'y, and offer my Assistance in an Affair of so much Use, and at this Time, so absolutely necessary, for no private Reflect's on my Conduct shall retard the general Intention of the Crown, but my Inclinat's and Conduct shall be with proper Spirit. I have the Pleasure of acquainting You y't the Ho. of Burgesses, after strong Applicat's, and pressing Argum'ts, at last have voted 20,000 for support of the Expedit'n, and as there have been some disputes betw'n the Regulars and the Officers appointed by me, I am now determin'd to reduce our Regim't into Ind't Companies, so y't from our Forces there will be no other distinguish'd officer above a Capt., and I shall raise 10 Compa's of 100 Men each, w'ch, 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 Int't, and have declared ag'st 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 Fr'dly Ind's. The above Letter brings Acc't of the half King's death, (w'ch is a Loss as he was a steady Friend, and a brave Man.) The Sec'ry of the State writes me y't His M'y proposes reimbursing the 20,000 [ ] sent me, from the 2s. __ Hhd. I have earnestly entreated him to represent to His M'y, the great Prejudice it will be to his Affairs here, if y't Fund sh'd be applied to the Reimursem't of the above Sum; it will be many Years before it w'd 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, h'bly pray your Int't to prevent any Warr't for Paym't from y't Revenue. I have wrote fully to S'r Thos. Robinson on y't head; Y'r 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 Expedit'n is ended. Excuse the Length of this Letter, and [I] beg to assure You as my Hands are now strengthen'd with Supplies, y't I will with great Assiduity and Care, do every Thing in my Power for His M'y's Service, and the Good of His Empire on this Cont't, and beg Leave to assure You, y't with great Deference and dutiful Respects, I am,

R't Hon., Y'r L'd's much obliged and most ob'd't humble Serv't.

French and Indian War Documents

West Virginia Archives and History