Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757)
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TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889-1893). Vol. I (1748-1757).
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TO GOVERNOR DINWIDDIE.
Alexandria, 24 November, 1756.
At this place, on my way to Williamsburg, I received your Honor’s letter of the 18th instant,3 and shall take care to pay the strictest obedience to your orders, and the opinion, so far as I can. The detachment ordered from Winchester exceeds, I believe, the number of enlisted men we have there; and the drafts, which made our strength at that place to consist of about one hundred and sixty men, will leave us in seven days. I have no hope of enlisting any, nor prolonging their stay, as we have heretofore engaged those, who were willing to serve. However my true endeavors shall be strictly aiding for this (more than ever) necessary purpose.
I am very sorry any expression in my letter should be deemed unmannerly. I never intended insults to any; on the contrary, have endeavoured to demean myself in that proper respect due to superiors. In the instance mentioned, I can truly say, so far from intending a charge or affront of any kind, it was distant from my thoughts; and I meant no more than to show what strange, what unaccountable infatuation prevailed among the magistrates, &c., of the back parts of Carolina; who were so regardless of the common cause, as to allow fifty Catawbas to return, when they had proceeded near seventy miles on their march, for want of provisions and a conductor to entice them along. This was a fact I did not suppose your Honor was uninformed of, knowing Colonel Cobb had wrote you on the subject. I therefore thought I might be less explicit, and not have incurred this censure by that means.
I seem also to be reprimanded for giving a vague account of my tour to the southward. I was rather fearful of blame for prolixity and impertinence, in meddling with matters I had no immediate concern with; and related them rather as hints, to set you upon inquiring, than as a circumstantial account of the facts. And this I chose more especially to do, as Colonels Lewis and Buchanan, from whom, being heads of the militia, these representations, fully authenticated, more properly came. And they were represented, at least by the latter, then on his road to do so; and had as he told me, taken the testimony and depositions of several persons for this purpose, in order to demonstrate the thing more clearly and to show who had and who had not done their duty. When I went to Augusta, it was with a good design,—to relieve, if possible, a much distressed settlement; but, finding this impracticable without men, and hearing some complaints of Captain Hog, and at the same time being desirous of seeing in what manner he proceeded, I continued on in no small danger; yet pleased with reflecting on this extraordinary duty, and of bringing myself more intimately acquainted with the situation of our frontiers, which, Sir, I related as well as I was capable, with a design, from which I have never intentionally swerved, to serve my country. And am sorry to find, that this, and my best endeavours of late, meet with unfavorable constructions. What it proceeds from, I know not. If my open and disinterested way of writing and speaking has the air of pertness and freedom, I shall correct my error by acting reservedly, and shall take care to obey my orders without offering any thing more. I should not have presumed to have appointed a commissary, had not your first instructions been plain and explicit on this point, and reiterated letters since that invested me with power. The omission of the name was a neglect indeed accidental, not designed. The gentleman intended was Mr. Ramsay of this place, well-known, well-esteemed, and of unblemished good character, practised in business and comes now properly recommended. I should not have appointed this gentleman or any other to serve as commissary, had not Mr. Walker in repeated letters desired it, and his absence from and neglect of duty rendered another highly necessary. This, I presume, you were unacquainted with, when you desired his continuance. Nor may you know that Mr. Walker intends to reside at home and act by a deputy, which, if I may be allowed to say, is equally inconsistent, as if I were to do it. This it is that encourages Mr. Ramsay to wait upon your Honor to be thoroughly informed. As the duty now will become more divided between Fort Cumberland and the lower forts, it may not be thought amiss if Mr. Ramsay is appointed to join a second in the commission. The business by this means must be conducted infinitely better, and in that case I would beg leave to mention Mr. Carlyle, who is willing to act, and whose knowledge and experience in this business are so well known, and need no recapitulation. They are both agreed to hold it in conjunction upon the same terms that Mr. Walker now has it.
When I spoke of a chaplain, it was in answer to yours. I had no person in view, tho’ many have offered; and only said, if the country would provide subsistence, we could procure a chaplain, without thinking there was offence in the expression.
Because I was told the commissary had endeavored, but could get no one to accept of it. When I spoke about scalps, I had the Indians chiefly, indeed solely, in my view, knowing their jealous, suspicious natures are apt to entertain doubts of the least delay and a suspension of rewards causes a dissatisfaction and murmuring among them, which might be productive of bad events at this critical juncture.1 So soon as I march from Winchester, which will immediately happen, as I am setting out thence, and sent orders by Jenkins to have the troops paid and in readiness to march, I shall write your Honor a more distinct account of the situation of that place, which will be left entirely destitute of all protection, notwithstanding it now contains all the public stores of any importance, as they were removed from Fort Cumberland, and in the most dangerous part of our frontiers, at least in a part that has suffered this summer more than any (which has been so well secured) by the ravages of the enemy. The works, which have been constructed and conducted on with infinite pains and labor, will be unfinished and exposed; and the materials for completing the building, which have been collected with unspeakable difficulty and expense, left to be pillaged and destroyed by the inhabitants of the town; because, as I before observed, one hundred men will exceed the number, I am pretty confident, which we have there, when the drafts go off. So, to comply with my orders, (which I shall literally do, if I can,) not a man will be left there to secure the works, or defend the King’s stores, which are almost wholly removed to that place.
[3 ]Dinwiddie had written:—
[1 ]Atkin disapproved of offering high rewards to Indians for scalps, as it encouraged “private scalping, whereby the most innocent and helpless persons, even women and children” were murdered for their scalps. He instanced also some case where the Indians picked quarrel among themselves that the scalp of the killed might be sold. Further the high rewards sharpened the ingenuity of the Indians; “for the Cherokees in particular have got the art of making four scalps out of one man killed.” Atkin asserted that he was “well assured Lord Loudoun detests that practice [of purchasing scalps], and that the French general Montcalm in Canadas does the same. Sir Wm. Johnson gives no reward at all in particular for scalps by name.”—Penn. Archives, iii., 199.