Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. II (1758-1775).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
TO GOVERNOR FAUQUIER.
Loyal Hanna, 2 December, 1758.
The enclosed was wrote with the intention to go by an express of the General’s, but his indisposition prevented that express from setting out for three days afterwards; and then the General thought, that my waiting upon your Honor would be more eligible, as I could represent the situation of our affairs in this quarter more fully, than could well be done by letter. This I accordingly attempted; but, upon trial, found it impracticable to proceed with despatch, for want of horses, (now having near two hundred miles to march before I can get a supply,) those I at present have being entirely knocked up. I shall, notwithstanding, endeavor to comply with the General’s request, as I cannot possibly be down till towards the 1st of next month, (and the bearer may much sooner.)
The General has, in his letters, told you what garrison he proposed to leave at Fort Duquesne,1 but the want of provisions rendered it impossible to leave more than two hundred men in all there. These, without great exertions, must, I fear, abandon the place or perish. To prevent, as far as possible, either of these events happening, I have by this conveyance wrote a circular letter to the back inhabitants of Virginia, setting forth the great advantages of keeping that place, the improbability of doing it without their immediate assistance, that they may travel safely out while we hold that post, and will be allowed good prices for such species of provisions as they shall carry. Unless the most effectual measures are taken early in the spring to reinforce the garrison at Fort Duquesne the place will inevitably be lost, and then our frontiers will fall into the same distressed condition that they have been in for some time past. For I can very confidently assert, that we never can secure them properly, if we again lose our footing on the Ohio, as we consequently lose the interest of the Indians. I therefore think, that every necessary preparation should be making, not a moment should be lost in taking the most speedy and efficacious steps in securing the infinite advantages which may be derived from our regaining possession of that important country.
That the preparatory steps should immediately be taken for securing the communication from Virginia, by constructing a post at Red-stone Creek, which would greatly facilitate the supplying of our troops on the Ohio, where a formidable garrison should be sent, as soon as the season will admit of it. That a trade with the Indians should be upon such terms, and transacted by men of such principles, as would at the same time turn out to the reciprocal advantage of the colony and the Indians, and which would effectually remove those bad impressions, that the Indians received from the conduct of a set of rascally fellows, divested of all faith and honor, and give us such an early opportunity of establishing an interest with them, as would be productive of the most beneficial consequences, on getting a large share of the fur-trade, not only of the Ohio Indians, but, in time, of the numerous nations possessing the back country westward of it. And to prevent this disadvantageous commerce from suffering in its infancy, by the sinister views of designing, selfish men of the different provinces, I humbly conceive it absolutely necessary that commissioners from each of the colonies be appointed to regulate the mode of that trade, and fix it on such a basis, that all the attempts of one colony undermining another, and thereby weakening and diminishing the general system might be frustrated. To effect which the General would (I fancy) cheerfully give his aid.1
Although none can entertain a higher sense of the great importance of maintaining a post on the Ohio than myself, yet, under the present circumstances my regiment is, I would by no means have agreed to leave any part of it there, had not the General given an express order for it. I endeavored to show, that the King’s troops ought to garrison it; but he told me, as he had no instructions from the ministry relative thereto, he could not order it, and our men that are left there, are in such a miserable situation, having hardly rags to cover their nakedness, exposed to the inclemency of the weather in this rigorous season, that, unless provision is made by the country for supplying them immediately, they must inevitably perish, and if the first Virginia regiment is to be kept up any longer, or any services are expected therefrom should forthwith be clothed as they are. By their present shameful nakedness, the advanced season, and the inconceivable fatigues of an uncommonly long and laborious campaign, rendered totally incapable of any kind of service; and sickness, death, and desertion must, if not speedily supplied, greatly reduce its numbers. To replace them with equally good men will, perhaps, be found impossible. * * * With the highest respect, I am, &c.
[1 ]General Forbes had determined to leave at Fort Duquesne two hundred of the provincial troop of Pennsylvania, with a proportionable number of Virginia and Maryland forces.
[1 ]While the capture and destruction of Fort Duquesne, and the occupation by the English removed for the time the fear of a French invasion, the western and northern tribes of Indians were still too closely bound to the French, and offered a more dangerous and insidious weapon of offense against the frontiers of the colonies than any line of French forts or number of French troops could have supplied. French influence still controlled among the Indians of the upper country, though shaken by the retreat from Fort Duquesne: French missionaries were more active in maintaining and extending French interests; French traders divided with the English the rich fur trade of the western country; and a greater liberality and a more intelligent exercise of authority gave the French a hold upon the tribes that the English in vain long sought to break. The high utility of Indian allies, and the importance of maintaining their influence over the tribes, were clearly recognized by Montcalm, de Vaudreuil, and other of the French commanders, and no effort was spared to establish that influence the more firmly. To counteract these endeavors, the colonies sought first, to so intimidate the openly hostile tribes, as to induce them to break with the French, and become allies of the English, or, at all events, neutral in case of war; and secondly, to remove all causes of complaint by prohibiting settlement on lands claimed by the Indians, and by regulating the system of conducting trade with the Indians.