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French and Indian War

Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe to Fox, May 5, 1756

extracted from

Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe, Volume I, 1753-1757, edited by William Hand Browne
(Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1888), pages 408-410.


[Sharpe to Calvert.]
5th May 1756 transmitted by Capt Lee.

Sr

I am now favoured with your Letter of the 23d of December together with His Lordship’s Instructions dated the 27th of Octr I had anticipated His Lordship’s Desires about sending Circular Letters to the Magistrates directing them to make an Enquiry into the Conduct of the Roman Catholicks; inclosed you have a Copy of the Letter that was sent to them & the answer of the Magistrates of one County, the Answers from the several Counties are much to the same purport. His Lordship might depend that if these People offend they shall not escape with Impunity but while their Behaviour is unexceptionable it would be hard to take any Measures that may be called persecution. The Lower House have thought proper to address me again on that Subject, I have answered them with all possible Temper & Coolness, but in such a manner as I hope will convince them there was very little Room for an Address of that Sort, & prevent their presenting such another for the future. I find that in your last Lettr to Colo Lloyd You express a little Surprize at my having denied to issue pilot Lycences (as it should seem Colo Lloyd had expressed himself) & give it as your Opinion that I might issue such at present as has been usual if applied for. You will be pleased to remember that in my Lettr dated the 8th of August 1754 I writ fully on this Affair & desired your farther Directions thereon, inclosed you have an Extract of that Letter to which I should be glad to be favoured with an Answer. You say I might issue such Lycences as have been usual, I hope Colo Lloyd acquainted you that none have ever been granted but in the year 1734 or 35, & as His late Lordship would not prosecute such persons as piloted without Lycence nor assist those that were Lycenced Pilots in carrying on such prosecutions, No Body thought proper afterwards to apply for a Lycence. Now as I cannot think it is for His Ldp’s Interest to attempt any thing but what he is sure of carrying, as otherwise a Clamour might be raised, & nothing gained to his Lordship or his Governt I was unwilling to issue Pilot’s Lycences which would be by the Enemies of the Governt called an Innovation till I was properly advised in what manner I should support His Ldp’s Right & carry his Instruction properly into Execution, In being thus cautious I hope you will believe I intended nothing, but Good to His Ldp, but if you think I erred in Judgment, be pleased as I before desired you to signify his Ldp’s Will with respect to this matter & be assured that I shall most punctually comply therewith. I have spoke to Colo Lloyd about the Six Rental Books & Bills of Excha. which were sent to him the 10th Decr 1754. he says they were all received, & I have also delivered to him the Packetts that you sent inclosed to me with your Letter of the 23d of Decr 1755. I have repeatedly mentioned to him what you have writ concerning his Neglect &c & he has as often promised me that you should have no farther Cause of Complaints, but I am a little afraid that such frequent Hints from me may be disagreeable & that he will be apt to think I busy myself more about what properly belongs to him than His Lordship or yourself desire me. As to what I mentioned some time since about reducing the Farmer’s or Sheriff’s Sallaries for collecting the Rents to Six p Ct it cannot be done at present, if ever a fair Opportunity shall offer I hope His Ldp will beleive that I will not fail to obey his Commands, & that I shall agreeable to his Orders take all possible Care to prevent any Incroachments on any part of His Ldp’s Province. I might refer you to my Letters dated the 18th of March & 17th of April for an Account of our present Situation, The Assembly is still sitting, on the Bill that was prepared some of the Gentn of both Houses are holding a Conference, what will be the Event of it I cannot predict. As there are many Obstacles to be removed before they take that Part which imposes a Tax on Lands into Consideration, I am apt to think the Conference will break up & perhaps the Assembly be prorogued without His Ldp’s Mannour Lands coming into Dispute. A few Days I think will determine the Fate of this Bill & bring Matters to a Conclusion; but if we do nothing for the protection of the Frontiers God knows what will be the Consequence, Conegochiegh is already our most Western Settlement & if the Inhabitants of that part of the Country do not stand their Ground & I think there is little Probability of their doing so, I beleive one might foretell without the Spirit of Prophesy that all that part of Frederick County that lies beyond Frederick Town will be abandoned before this time twelve month at farthest. The Inhabitants of all that part of Virga which lies Westward of the Shanadoe River have I am told left their plantations; & notwithstanding a great Part of the £ 60000 granted by the Pensilvanians has been expended in building Forts & keeping Troops on the Frontiers of that Province the Setlers have for many Score Miles deserted their Houses & retired to the more populous parts of that Colony. Several of the small Forts that were built in Virga & Pensa have been attacked by large Parties of Indians, & some reduced; Capt. Mercier of the Virga Regiment with a Detachment of 60 Men from Fort Cumberland was fallen upon & defeated about a fortnight ago many Miles on this Side Fort Cumberland; the Captain, His Lieutenant & 15 Men were killed & left to the Enemy the Rest of the Detachment retired to a little Stoccado Fort near Cacapetion which runs into Potowmack. two of Capt Dagworthy’s Company that were with the abovementioned Detachment were found tied to Trees & their Bodies most horribly mangled, it is supposed that they were tied while living & put to the most cruel Death. Ensign Bacon of Capt Dagworthy’s Command was scalped as he was returning from Colo Cresap’s to the Fort; & one of Colo Cresap’s Sons who put himself at the head of a party of Voluntiers & went in pursuit of the Indians is also killed. At present the Garrison at Fort Cumberland consists of no more than 150 Men, 30 of the Carolina Company & the Rest of the Virga Regiment which consists of about 450. I cannot learn that the Pensa Assembly have as yet come to any Resolution neither can I hear certainly whether the Virginians have determined to raise any more Troops. Governor Dinwiddie has informed me that the Commissioners which he had sent to the Cherokee Nation advise him that those Indians make strong professions of Friendship but will not take up the Hatchet against the French or join any of the English Troops till we have built a strong Fort among them for the Protection & Security of their Wives & Children; in this Governor Dinwiddie has promised to gratify them & sent a Command of 60 Men to build such a Fort. The French it seems have made a Settlement within a few Days March of their Town & have been tampering with them to declare anst Us; I hope this Step however will prevent that for the present, tho unless His Majesty’s Arms are successful this Campaign I am afraid these people will not be long kept firm in our Interest. We have for some time past been in pain for Oswego which the French it was said were preparing to attack before the Garrison could be reinforced or receive fresh Supplies of Provisions, of which they were in want, but as we have not received any late News from that Quarter I hope the Danger is over for the present, & I hear that the Regiments are now on their march thither. Lord Loudon we are told is coming over with some more Regiments, their speedy Arrival is prayed for by all His Majesty’s American Subjects.

&c.


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