French and Indian War

Governor Robert Dinwiddie to the Earl of Halifax, May 24, 1756

extracted from

The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Volume II, R. A. Brock, editor
(Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 1884), page 416-418.

Governor Dinwiddie to the Earl of Halifax
May 24th, 1756

R’t Hon.:

I wrote You a long L’r the 24th of Feb’y, to w’ch please be refer’d. The Expedit’n ag’st the Shawnesse prov’d unsuccessful. The Rangers and Cherokees y’t were sent, meet’g the Rivers they were to cross, much rais’d by the heavy Snow and Rains, y’t they lost several of their Canoes with Provis’s and Ammunit’n, w’ch oblig’d ‘em to ret’n in a starv’g Condit’n, kill’g y’r Horses for Food. The Com’rs y’t went to the Catawbas and Cherokees are ret’d. They have made a Treaty with those Nat’s, a printed Copy thereof I here enclose You. As they were ag’st send’g us any of y’r Warriors to our assistance till they had a F’t built for y’r Wom’n and Child’n, I imediately aplied to the Assem’y, y’n sitting, to enable me to Comply with y’r Request. They address’d me to assist ‘em from the little Balla. in my Hands of the Mo. Sent me from Engl’d. I answer’d I w’d adv’ce £ 800, and they voted £ 1,200 more. I imediately Com’iss’d Major Lewis, a Person well acqu’t’d with the Woods, with 60 Men, most of them Trades-Men, with all proper tools and provis’s, to proceed directly for the Cherokee Co’try to build a F’t, and to prevail with ‘em to send us in a No. of Y’r Warriors. They have been gone three Weeks. This F’t sh’d have been built a Year ago. Sir T. Robinson wrote me to assist Mr. Glen to assist y’s Aff’r. I sent him £ 1,000 St’g 18 Mo’s ago, but no step has been taken in it as yet, and, as I am inf’d, The Fr. are do’g all in y’r Power to draw these People from y’r Allegiance. I tho’t proper imediately to make a Beginn’g to build the F’t. I rec’d a L’r Yesterday from G’r Glen, Wherein he says he is determin’d to go to the Cherokee Co’try to build the F’t, so y’t I hope we shall strongly engage ‘em to our Int’t. The Fr. Neutrals from N. Scotia have occasion’d great Disturbance in y’s Dom’n. The People in gen’l were averse to y’r rem’g here. The Ho. of Burgesses address’d me for y’r be’g ship’d for G. B’n, and as they w’d not vote any Th’g for y’r Subsistence, I was oblig’d to give my Assent, the Co’try paying the Charge of y’r transportat’n. I hear y’t Georgia and So. Caro. Gave ‘em Vessells to go where they pleas’d, and as probably they will coast along the Cont’t, they may reach N. Scotia (at same time rob our People and discover all our Coast), and be more violent Enemies y’n formerly; therefore sending ‘em Home I think more eligible, as I suppose they will be sent to France. We have been greatly harrass’d here by the Fr. and y’r Ind’s from the Ohio. A great No. of ‘em came to our Front’s the middle of Apr., and comitted the most barbarous Murders, and burnt a great many Houses, and destroyed the poor People’s Plantat’s. I imediately rais’d the Militia in 10 of the most contiguous Count’s to Win’r, w’ch Town they threat’ned to burn, and stop’d the Communicat’n from y’t to F’t Cumb’l’d; but on the Mar. of the Militia they dispersed, and ret’d over the Allegany Mount’s to y’r F’t on the Ohio, I fear, to reinforce y’r No’s, and to ret’n to pillage and murder. The Assem’y have pass’d an Act for draught’g the Militia to make our Regim’t 1,500. With ‘em we must remain on the defensive ‘till further Direct’s. We greatly want Small Arms. I have wrote G’l Shirley Several L’rs for a Supply, but as yet no Answer. I wish a Regim’t or two had been order’d here, for I am of Opin’n the Fr. will send all the Forces they can from N. Orleans on the Mississippi, tho’ the Distance is great, yet y’r Earnestness to possess y’s tho’ the Distance is great, yet y’r Earnestness to possess y’s fine Co’try they will endeav’r to surm’t all Difficulties. I have been fatigu’d in Mind and Body for these six Mo’s in doing every Th’g I conceiv’d proper for our Defence, but the two Proprietary Gov’ts to the No’w’d seem to be very indolent and inactive. Pensylvania voted £ 60,000, w’ch I hear is expended in build’g a few Stockadoe Forts, and pay’g y’r Private Men 18d. [per] Day, besides Subsistence, w’ch makes great Uneasiness Amo’g our Forces, who have only 8d. [per] Day. The Quakers who do not like fight’g, and the many Ger’n Rom’n Catholics, makes our dependence on ‘em very uncert’n. M’yl’d voted £ 40,000, but the Taxes for rais’g it, not agreeable to the Gov’r’s Instruct’s from the Proprietary, a Land Tax of 12d., each 100 Acres of Land, was objected to, unless the Propriet’s Manours and Private Est’es were exempted from y’t Tax, w’ch I think by no means proper, as the Expedit’n is for protect’n of the whole. I wish the Crown w’d purchase those Proprietaries, for I conceive noth’g essential can be done till they are bro’t under the same Construct’n with the other King’s Gov’ts. M’yl’d has a great No. of Rom’n Catholics, y’t I fear they w’d not be uneasy at the success of the Fr. In short, Great Sir, I think the Col’s on y’s Cont’t in a very unhappy Situat’n, and must continue so unless some proper measures are taken to make a more strict Coalition of ‘em, and to be under one Gen’l Direct’n. Our Assem’y has voted £ 35,000 more; but y’t’s only keep’g the Expedit’n alive, with’t proper Strength to support it with Spirit (tho’ I must say they have done more y’n the other Colon’s), and I was oblig’d to ascent to the issu’g of y’t Sum in Pap’r Curr’y, or stop entirely any Action for our Defence, for the Silver and Gold has been Collected for Bills of Excha., and sent to N. York for pay’g the Forces, &c.; y’t I verily think there is not £ 20,000 Cash in the whole Co’try, and at pres’t the Exp’ce is near £ 1,500 [per] Mo. For these Reasons, I hope my assent’g to a P. Curr’y will be approv’d of, as it’s redeemable in 1760. I hear the Earl of Loudon is appointed to Com’d-in-Chief the Forces on y’s Cont’t, and also app’d Gov’r of y’s Dom’n in the room of the Earl of Albemarle, w’ch I am very glad of, and hope to hear of his safe arrival very soon, as such an experience’d officer is greatly wanted at pres’t. Aff’s do not appear to be properly conducted; some animosities among the Officers subsist’g, but doubt not, on E. of Loudon’s arrival every Th’g will be conducted with Unanimity and proper Spirit. I hope You will please to excuse the Length of y’s L’r. With great deference and Dutiful Respects, I rem’n.

R’t Hon.,
Y’r Lordship’s most ob’d’t and faithful h’ble serv’t.

French and Indian War Documents

West Virginia Archives and History