Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL ANDREW LEWIS, VIRGINIA. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL ANDREW LEWIS, VIRGINIA. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VII (1778-1779).
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TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL ANDREW LEWIS, VIRGINIA.
Fredericksburg,in the State of New York,
Your favor of the 8th of Augt. came safe to my hands, tho’ delayed in the conveyance. I am very glad that the Board prevailed upon you to act as a Commissioner at Fort Pitt, tho’ I am apprehensive the end designed, so far as an Indian treaty was in view, will not be answered by it; and am sorry that you met with so many disappointments in the beginning, on acct. of the non-attendance of the gent. in behalf of Pensylvania.
No man can be more thoroughly impressed with the necessity of offensive operations against Indians, in every kind of rupture with them, than I am; nor can any man feel more sensibly for General McIntosh, than I do, on two accts., the Public and his own. But ours is a kind of struggle designed, I dare say, by Providence to try the patience, fortitude, and virtue of men. None, therefore, who is engaged in it, will suffer himself, I trust, to sink under difficulties, or be discouraged by hardships. General McIntosh is only experiencing upon a small Scale, what I have had an ample share of, upon a large one; and must, as I have been obliged to do in a variety of Instances, yield to necessity; that is, to use a vulgar phraze, “shape his coat according to his cloth,” or, in other words, if he cannot do as he wishes, he must do what he can.
If the Enemy mean to hold their present Posts in the United States, the presumption is, that their operations next Campaign will be vigorous and decisive; because feeble efforts can be of no avail, unless, by a want of virtue, we ruin and defeat ourselves, which I think is infinitely more to be dreaded, than the whole force of G. Britain, assisted as they are [by] Hessian, Indian, and Negro allies; for certain I am, that, unless Extortion, forestalling, and other practices, which have crept in and become exceedingly prevalent and injurious to the common cause, can meet with proper checks, we must inevitably sink under such a load of accumulated oppression. To make and extort money in every shape that can be devised, and at the same time to decry its value, seems to have become a mere business and an epidemical disease, calling for the interposition of every good man and body of men.
We have for more than a month been kept in an awkward state of suspense, on acct. of the Enemy’s preparations for embarking at New York. Many circumstances indicate a total evacuation of that City and its dependencies; others tend more to prove that it is only a partial one. Some time ago I inclined to the former opinion; at present I lean more to the latter. Certain it is they are about to detach Troops, and I believe to the West Indies; but the weight of evidence, in my judgment, is on the side of their garrisoning New York and Rhode Island, this winter at least. In this case, it would appear clear to you, if you knew the circumstances of the army, that no aid, or very trifling, can go from hence to Genl. McIntosh; but I should think that the Frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, and Pensylvania could furnish men fully competent to an Expedition to Detroit, and of such kind as the Service requires. Two very common errors should be avoided in getting them, if militia; namely, not to draw the men together till every thing else is prepared; and, next, not to engage them for too short a time. For Militia are soon tired of waiting, and will return at the expiration of their term of service, if they were upon the eve certainly of reaping the most important advantages.
Before I conclude, let me ask if we have any prospect of getting Lands, which have been Surveyed & located under the proclamation of 1763, but which might not have been patented? This is the case with some that I had in my own right and by purchase. Having had no liezure, even in thought, to attend to the matter for near four years, it would be rather hard upon me therefore under the circumstances to be a loser, or put to difficulty to get my right. Was I not concerned with you in the Burning Spring? Is the land Patented & secured?
If Congress are not convinced of the impropriety of a certain irregular promotion, they are the only sett of Men who require further and greater proofs, than have already been given, of the fallibility of the measure.1
With sincere regard and esteem, I am, &c.
[1 ]Alluding to the appointment of major-generals on the 19th of February, 1777, in which Arnold and Lewis were superseded. See above, vol. v., 270. General Lewis resigned his commission in consequence of that measure.