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French and Indian War

George Washington to Governor Robert Dinwiddie, November 5, 1757

extracted from

The Writings of George Washington, Volume II, by Jared Sparks
(Boston: Charles Tappan, 1846), pages 268-270


To Governor Dinwiddie.
Fort Loudoun, 5 November, 1757.

Sir,

Duty to my country, and his Majesty’s interest, indispensably require, that I again trouble your Honor on the subject of Indian affairs here, which have been impeded and embarrassed by such a train of mismanagement, as, if continued, must produce melancholy consequences.

The sincere disposition of the Cherokees heartily to espouse our cause has been demonstrated beyond every doubt; and, if they were rewarded in a proper manner, it would, in all probability, be the means of effecting a favorable change in the present unhappy situation of this part of his Majesty’s dominions.

But, instead of meeting with the encouragement, which their services and bravery have merited, several of them, after having undergone the toils and fatigues of long marches, destitute of the conveniences and almost of the necessaries of life, have, in that situation, gone to war, and behaved nobly, from which we have reaped a signal advantage. When returned here, with their trophies of honor, they must have gone home without any kind of reward or thanks, or even provisions to support them on their march, justly fired with resentment, had not I and my officers procured them some things, of which they were in absolute want, and made it the object of our care, in various respects, to please them.

Another party of those Indians since arrived opportunely to our assistance, at the very juncture the enemy made an irruption into this settlement, pursued their tracks, came up with three of them, scalped two, and wounded the third. They are now returned from the pursuit, and are nearly in the same situation with those abovementioned. I applied to Captain Gist in their behalf, and told him I must represent the matter to your Honor. But he assures me, that he has neither goods, money to procure them, nor even an interpreter, being thereby incapable of doing any kind of service. It is surprising, that any man should be entrusted with transacting such important affairs, and not be possessed of the means. Thus he, and several others, who receive high pay from Virginia, are not only rendered useless, but our interest with those Indians is at the brink of destruction. Whenever any of them arrive here, they immediately apply to me; but I have neither any thing to give them, nor any right to do it. Nor is there a person, who can inform them to what these and their other disappointments are owing; which reduces me to a dilemma, from which I would most gladly be extricated.

I must likewise beg leave to mention once more the vast hardships, which many of the people groan under here, from having been so long kept out of the money, that the country owes them on account of the Indians.

When I proposed going down to Williamsburg, several of them brought their accounts to me, which I intended, had you given me liberty, to lay before your Honor. I mention this circumstance, not with any view of being employed in examining and paying off those accounts, which for many reasons I can by no means undertake, but in hope that your Honor will be pleased to give directions, and appoint some person to that duty, by the neglect of which so many poor people greatly suffer. I am, &c.


French and Indian War Documents

West Virginia Archives and History