Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JOHN ROBINSON, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. I (1748-1757)
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TO JOHN ROBINSON, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES. - 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 JOHN ROBINSON, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES.
Fort Loudoun, 30 May, 1757.1
We receive fresh proofs every day of the bad direction of our Indian affairs. It is not easy to tell what expenses have arisen on account of these Indians, how dissatisfied they are, and how gloomy the prospect of pleasing them appears, while we pursue our present system of management.
I therefore beg leave to propose a plan, which I know is exactly agreeable to the French policy, and which may, if properly executed, be a means of retrieving our lost credit with this people, and prove of infinite advantage to the country. The French, Sir, have a proper person appointed to the direction of these affairs, who makes it his sole business to study their dispositions, and the art of pleasing them. This person is invested with power to treat with and reward them for every piece of service, and, by timely presents on suitable occasions, obtain very great advantages. There is always a store of goods committed to his care to answer these purposes, and no other person is suffered to meddle with it; by which means the whole business is thrown into one channel, and it thereby becomes easy and regular. Whereas, with us it is every body’s business, and no one’s, to supply. Every person attempts to please, and few succeed in it, because one promises this, and another that, and few can perform any thing, but are obliged to shuffle and put them off, to get rid of their importunities.
Hence they accuse us of perfidy and deceit! I could recapitulate a great number of their reproachful complaints, if I judged it necessary to confirm what I have already advanced. But I believe, Sir, you are convinced from what you have seen, that there can be no deception in my story. Therefore, I shall endeavor to remark with candor, freedom, and submission, that, unless some person is appointed to manage the Indian affairs of this colony, under the direction of the Governor, or the southern agent, a vast expense and but little advantage will accrue from the coming of those Indians among us. And I know of no person so well qualified for an undertaking of this sort as the bearer, Captain Gist.1 He has had extensive dealings with the Indians, is in great esteem among them, well acquainted with their manners and customs, is indefatigable, and patient,—most excellent qualities indeed where Indians are concerned. And for his capacity, honesty, and zeal, I dare venture to engage. If he should be appointed to this duty, or, if this plan should take effect, I dare say you will judge it advisable to send for a large assortment of those species of goods which are the most likely to carry on the abovementioned business.1
Bullen, a Catawba warrior, has been proposing a plan to Captain Gist for bringing in the Creek and Chickasaw2 Indians. If such a scheme as this can be effected by the time we shall march for Fort Duquesne, it would be a glorious undertaking, and worthy the man. I am, &c.
[1 ]The Assembly, “having considered the great expense the Virginia regiment has cost the country from the number of companies it has consisted of, and those companies not half complete in proportion to the vast charge of officers,” remodelled its form, and made it consist of ten companies of 100 men each, reducing all Captains but seven. The force was distributed as follows:—
Washington was to remain at Winchester, and was deprived of all “concern with or management of Indian affairs,” Mr. Atkin being appointed the King’s agent to take charge of all affairs relating to the Indians, who inhabited the country between Pennsylvania and Georgia.
[1 ]“When I proceed to the southward, I shall appoint some person to act for me in this colony according to my instructions during my absence, who I believe will be Capt. Gist, who resigns his post in the Virginia regiment. He is so well recommended to me, and does I believe understand the Indian affairs so much better than any man else I can find or hear of in this colony, that I hope he will give satisfaction to all that will be interested in his behaviour.”—Atkin to Gov. Sharpe, 30 June, 1757.
[1 ]Washington’s experience with Indian allies was not such as to give him great confidence in them. “The Catawbas have been of little use, but a great expence to this Colony, and are now gone home. The Cherokees, I apprehend, will follow their example. There is a party of 70 or 80 of them, with some soldiers, now out commanded by Major Lewis of the regiment; but I expect very little from them, as I conceive it will scarcely be in the power of the officers to carry them far enough to do much service.”—To Col. Stanwix, 28 May, 1757.
[2 ]In his letter to Dinwiddie he says Cherokee.