Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO LORD DUNMORE, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA. 1 - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
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TO LORD DUNMORE, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA. 1 - 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).
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TO LORD DUNMORE, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.1
Mount Vernon, 15 June, 1772.2
The very obliging offer your Lordship was pleased to make, the day I left Williamsburg, in behalf of the officers and soldiers, who, under the faith of government, lay claim to two hundred thousand acres of land, on the waters of the Ohio, promised them by proclamation in 1754, I did not embrace, because it is evident to me, who am in some degree acquainted with the situation of that country, and the rapid progress now making in the settlement of it, that delay at this time in the prosecution of our plan would amount to the loss of the land, inasmuch as immigrants are daily and hourly settling on the choice spots, and waiting a favorable opportunity to solicit legal titles, on the ground of preoccupancy, when the office shall be opened. I therefore hoped, and the the officers and soldiers, who have suffered in the cause of their country, still hope, that, although your Lordship was of opinion you could not at that time vest them with an absolute and bonâ fide grant of the land, yet that you will permit them to take such steps, at their own expense and risk, as others do, to secure their lands agreeably to proclamation, especially as their claim is prior to any other, and better founded, they having a solemn act of government and the general voice of the country in their favor.
This is the light, my Lord, in which the matter appeared to me, and in this light it is also considered by the officers with whom I have lately had a meeting. The report gains ground, that a large tract of country on the Ohio, including every foot of land to the westward of the Allegany Mountains, is granted to a company of gentlemen in England, to be formed into a separate government. If this report is really well founded, there can be no doubt of your Lordship’s having the earliest and most authentic accounts of it, since it so essentially interferes with the interests and expectations of this country.
To request the favor of your Lordship to inform me whether this report be true, and, if true, whether any attention has been or probably will be paid to the order of Council and proclamation of 1754, may be presumptuous; but, as the officers and soldiers confide in me to transact this business for them, and as it would be a real advantage to them to know the truth of this report, and how it is likely to affect them, there needs no other apology for my taking the liberty of addressing to you this request, in the hope that your Lordship will condescend to do me the honor of writing a line on the subject by the next post to Alexandria, which will be acknowledged as a peculiar obligation conferred on, my Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient servant.
[1 ]Mr. Sparks prints this letter as dated 1771; but Lord Dunmore did not reach Virginia until early in 1772, and the Assembly was prorogued June 10, 1772, thus allowing for the meeting to which Washington alludes in his opening sentence.
[2 ]The position of John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, in Virginia was not a little curious, and in the absence of full information has not been interpreted by historians of the colony to his credit. He was transferred from New York to Virginia, and became unpopular almost from the beginning of his rule (1772). Burk charges that he went on a “party of pleasure to the back settlements” and meeting Dr. John Connolly, a man of “some taste, an intimate knowledge of Indian affairs, a considerable knowledge of the world, and a lax morality,” plotted with him to engage Pennsylvania and Virginia in a civil war about their territorial boundaries, and to incite the Indians against the settlers. (History of Virginia, iii., 375, et seq.) Doddridge asserts that “it was the general belief among the officers of our army, at the time, that the Earl of Dunmore, while at Wheeling, received advice from his government of the probability of the approaching war between England and the colonies, and that afterwards, all his measures, with regard to the Indians, had for their ultimate object an alliance with these ferocious warriors for the aid of the mother country in their contest with us.” (Notes on the Wars West of the Allegany.) Jacob, in his Life of Cresap, repeats what Burk wrote, and these charges are accepted, with some reserve, by Howison, in his History of Virginia, ii., 72, 73. Campbell believes the governor’s proceedings were actuated “rather by motives of personal interest, than of political manœuvre.” History of Virginia, 593, 594. Brantz Mayer regards the charge as “not altogether proved against the British earl” (Logan & Cresap, 81). The differences that arose between Virginia and Pennsylvania respecting the disputed territory, and the curious performances of Connolly, are described in Force’s American Archives.