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George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775) [1889]

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Title Page
1450.02 toc
Original Table of Contents or First Page

Edition used:

George Washington, 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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About this Title:

Vol. 2 covers the years 1758 to 1775 and includes some of his early journals and many letters.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

Fair use statement:

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

Of this Letter-press Edition 750 Copies have been Printed for Sale


June, 1889

Edition: current; Page: [iii]
Vol. II.
The Knickerbocker Press
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

Press of

G. P. Putnam’s Sons

New York

Edition: current; Page: [v]


  • 1758.
    • To John Blair, January 31st . . . . . page 1

      Indian affairs—Gist’s embarrassments—Unfortunate time of visit.

    • To Colonel Stanwix, March 4th . . . . 3

      Major Smith’s project absurd—His unfitness to command—Has thoughts of resigning because of ill-health.

    • To Brigadier-General Stanwix, April 10th . . 6

      Congratulates him on his promotion—Asks to be recommended to General Forbes—An early campaign expedient—Indians and their mercenary characters—The place of rendezvous.

    • To Major Francis Halket, April 12th . . . 8

      Satisfaction on prospects.

    • To the President of the Council, April 17th . . 9

      Accidental shooting of some soldiers—Needs of the regiment—Resignation of Joshua Lewis, and promotions incident to it—Appointment of a chaplain.

    • To Sir John St. Clair, April 18th . . . . 11

      Attitude towards Indians—Number of allies—The building of flats—Votes of the Assembly.

    • To the President of the Council, April 24th . . 13

      Ordering out the militia—Mercer’s request for exchange of officers most extraordinary—Rutherford’s company more useful in Virginia than in the south—The recruiting service.

    • To the President of the Council, May 4th . . 16

      Defeat of provincial troops—Reinforcements of militia needed at South Branch—Public arms—Roads—Recruiting expenses—Case of John Berry—Appointments in the regiments.

    • To Major Francis Halket, May 11th . . . . 23

      No prisoners taken by friendly Indians this season—Cherokees moving to Virginia—Trickery of the Raven warrior—Importance of the Indians.

      Edition: current; Page: [vi]
    • To the President of the Council, May 28th . . 26

      Wants of the force—Allowance to officers—Differences of pay—Clothing—Promotions—Completing the regiment—The case of Lt. Steenbugen—Fort Loudoun—The ranging company—Indians and desertions.

    • To General Forbes, June 19th . . . . . 32

      Unfortunate arrival of Cherokees—Necessity of Indians, and their utility—Agent should be sent to Cherokee nation with presents—Indians at Duquesne.

    • To Governor Fauquier, June 19th . . . . 37

      March of Prince William militia—Short of men and of arms—Expence.

    • To Colonel Henry Bouquet, July 3d . . . 39

      Has marched from Winchester—Question of forage—Maryland forces and stores—Drawing of provisions by servants—Tools and men scarce—How forts were garrisoned—Clothes—Indian dress recommended.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, July 7th . . . . . 43

      Arrival of Col. Byrd—Orders and directions needed—Sharpe’s road—Catawba Indians have misbehaved.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, July 13th . . . . . 46

      Encounter with Indians.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, July 13th . . . . . 47

      Slow progress of road—Indian dress approved for the men.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, July 16th . . . . . 49

      Parties sent out to harass the enemy—Plan for an irruption into enemy’s country criticised—Roads and Indians—Currency exchanges.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, July 19th . . . . . 51

      Dagworthy’s party returned and working on bridge—Election at Winchester.

    • To Mrs. Martha Custis, July 20th . . . . 53
    • To Colonel Bouquet, July 21st . . . . . 54

      Will not attend election at Winchester—Progress on the road—Asks to be among the first to go forward—Covers for locks.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, July 25th . . . . . 55

      Second convoy of wagons—Offers his views on the road—No tolerable road from Rays Town—Provisions—Commissaries at fault—Returns of forces.

      Edition: current; Page: [vii]
    • To Gabriel Jones, July 29th . . . . . 58

      Thanks him for assistance at election—Backwardness of expedition—Conference on road.

    • To Colonel James Wood, July — . . . . 59

      Thanks for part he took in election—Entertainment of friends.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, — . . . . . . 60

      Considerations on a proposed expedition—Provisions—Attack in the woods of little advantage.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, August 2d . . . . 62

      The question of the road—History of the Braddock road—Difficulties to be overcome in constructing another—Forage of importance—Rivers to be passed—Comparative distances—Objections to dividing the army—Advancing by deposites; first at Great Meadows, second at Salt Lick—Time required.

    • To Major Francis Halket, August 2d . . . 72

      Bouquet determined as to road—If the General coincides, all is lost—His own motives.

    • To Governor Fauquier, August 5th . . . . 73

      Fatal resolution of opening new road—Considerations urged on Col. Bouquet—Small-pox among troops—Orders received to open new road.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, August 6th . . . . 75

      Orders as to road will be obeyed—Duty to king and colony induced him to express opinion—Men at work.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, August 18th . . . . 79

      Wishes to be sent forward—Kelly on the comparative merits of roads—Strong parties to be kept out—Sickness in camp—Convoy from Winchester.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, August 21st . . . . 82

      Arrival of Indians—Questions as to Gov. Sharpe’s rank.

    • To Colonel Bouquet, August 28th . . . . 83

      Melancholy reflections on campaign—The roads.

    • To John Robinson, September 1st . . . . 85

      Fatal inactivity—All is lost—Conduct of the leaders—The question of roads—Strength of French at Duquesne—Representation should be made to the king—Virginia a victim to the craft of her neighbors.

      Edition: current; Page: [viii]
    • To Governor Fauquier, September 2d . . . 88

      Progress on road—Much time consumed—Advance of army—Condition of road taken—Number of the French force—Intelligence—Considerations urged with Col. Bouquet—The General prejudiced by Pennsylvanians—Garrison at Loyal Hanna—Major of brigade requisite—Indians—Letters on road sent.

    • To Mrs. George William Fairfax, September 12th . 95

      Correspondence reopened—A votary of love—Mrs. Custis—Mrs. Spotswood a reigning toast in camp.

    • To Governor Fauquier, September 25th . . . 98

      The expedition of Major Grant—Death of Major Lewis—Bravery of Virginia troops—Consequence of this affair.

    • To Mrs. George William Fairfax, September 25th . 101

      Defeat of Major Grant—Probable failure of expedition—Personal gossip.

    • To Governor Fauquier, September 28th . . . 104

      Grant’s defeat—Prisoners sent to Montreal—Condition of the new road.

    • To General Forbes, October 8th . . . . 105

      Line of march proposed.

    • To Governor Fauquier, October 30th . . . 108

      Army matters—Governor Sharpe at Fort Cumberland—The road.

    • To General Forbes, November 17th . . . . 110

      Orders to Armstrong—Indians needed to gain intelligence—Release of sergeant requested.

    • To General Forbes, November 17th . . . . 112

      Acknowledges orders—The road.

    • To General Forbes, November 18th . . . . 113

      Advance reported—Errors of distance—Fortifying and provisioning the camp.

    • To Governor Fauquier, November 28th . . . 116

      Fort Duquesne fallen—Future movements—Little Carpenter’s conduct—Indians suing for peace—Trade with the Indians.

    • To Governor Fauquier, December 2d . . . 119

      Force to be left at Fort Duquesne—Post should be taken at Redstone Creek—Indian trade—Condition of Virginia regiment.

    • To General Forbes, December 30th . . . . 124

      Measures to be taken by Virginia—Confinement of troops a piece of rashness.

      Edition: current; Page: [ix]
  • 1759.
    • To Robert Cary and Co., May 1st . . . . 126

      Announces marriage with Mrs. Custis—Will consign tobacco as usual—Prices—Invoice of goods.

    • To Richard Washington, September 20th . . 130

      Hopes to visit England—Successes in America—His retirement.

    • To Robert Cary and Co., September 20th . . 131

      Former letters—Poor returns for tobacco—The duty—Three accounts should be opened—Shipment of tobacco—Proposes tobacco for his Shenandoah estate—Invoice of goods required.

    • To Robert Cary and Co., November 30th . . 139

      Loss of vessel—Goods ordered—Tobacco.

  • 1760.
    • Journal, January-May . . . . . . 140
    • To Richard Washington, August 10th . . . 170

      Disappointed in sales of tobacco—Interest charged—American affairs—Prospects of his going to England remote.

    • To Robert Cary and Co., August 10th . . . 172

      Interest on bank stock—Tobacco—Complaint against prices and quality of goods—Ships to the Potomac—Prospects of tobacco crop—Drafts.

    • To Captain Robert Mackenzie, November 20th . 177

      Reply to a request for a recommendation to General Amherst.

  • 1761.
    • To Richard Washington, July 14th . . . . 178

      Tobacco consignment—Canada and the Indians.

    • To Rev. Charles Green, August 26th . . . 180

      Journey to the springs—Provisions—His health—Stages of journey.

    • To Richard Washington, October 20th . . . 183

      His sickness—Operations against the Cherokees—Clothes ordered.

  • 1762.
    • To [George William Fairfax], October 30th . . 186

      Death of his mare.

      Edition: current; Page: [x]
  • 1763.
    • To Charles Lawrence, April 26th . . . . 188

      Order and measurements for suits.

    • To Robert Stewart, April 27th . . . . . 189

      His financial condition—Heavy debts—Will send £300.

    • To Robert Stewart, August 13th . . . . 192

      Paper emissions.

    • Notes on the Dismal Swamp, October 15th . . 194
  • 1764.
    • To Robert Cary & Co., August 10th . . . . 200

      Reasons for his indebtedness—Interest on money.

  • 1765.
    • To Carlyle & Adam, March 9th . . . . . 203

      Sale of wheat—Manner of weighing.

    • To Colonel Burwell Bassett, August 2d . . . 205

      Drought and condition of crops—Elections.

    • To Francis Dandridge, September 20th . . . 207

      Reasons for writing—The Stamp Act and its effect on the colonies—closing of the courts—His situation.

  • 1766.
    • To Captain Joh. Thompson, July 2d . . . 211

      Has a negro to sell in the Islands—His qualities—Purchases to be made with proceeds.

  • 1767.
    • To Captain John Posey, June 24th . . . . 213

      Surprise at request for a new loan—Consideration of assets—Cannot be security for further sums—Advice to sell and move to the western country—Depression general.

    • To William Crawford, September 21st . . . 218

      As to lands in Pennsylvania—Must be rich—Proceedings to be taken—Lands in the king’s part—Wishes to take some up in spite of proclamation—A good deal to be secured—Plan to be kept a secret.

    • To Colonel Armstrong, September 21st . . . 224

      Lands in disputed territory—What proceedings necessary to obtain lands under Pennsylvania laws—Crawford instructed.

      Edition: current; Page: [xi]
    • To Captain John Posey, September 24th . . . 226

      His demands and security examined—Reasons for past advances—Mason’s loan—His prospects—Will go on his bond to Col. Mason.

  • 1768.
    • Diary—January-December . . . . . 230

      Indian outbreak and Bouquet’s expedition—Need of money.

    • To Rev. Jonathan Boucher, May 30th . . . 257

      Wishes him to take Custis as a pupil—Acquirements and provision to be made—What will be necessary?

    • To Robert Cary & Co., June 6th . . . . 259

      Directions for a chariot.

  • 1769.
    • To William Ramsay, January 29th . . . . 262

      As to sending his son to college—Will contribute to his expenses.

    • To George Mason, April 5th . . . . . 263

      Measures necessary to counteract British aggression—Starving their trade—Advantages and obstacles—Colonial debts and distress—Extravagance—What steps should be taken?

    • To Colonel Bassett, June 18th . . . . . 268

      To go to the springs—The association.

    • To Colonel John Armstrong, August 18th . . 270

      At the springs—Land speculations—Indian disturbances misrepresented.

  • 1770.
    • To Lord Botetourt, April 15th . . . . . 272

      Walpole’s grant—Extent of claim—Covers the grant to the officers and soldiers—Rights of the troops.

    • To Dr. Boucher, April 20th . . . . . 276

      Jack Custis’ inoculation.

    • To Dr. Boucher, May 13th . . . . . 277

      Proposition for Mr. Custis to travel—Position of a guardian—Some plan should be laid down—Opinion on advantages of travelling—His source of income.

    • Session of the House of Burgesses, May-June . . 280
    • To George William Fairfax, June 27th . . . 282

      Assembly matters—New association—Stone.

      Edition: current; Page: [xii]
    • To Dr. Boucher, July 30th . . . . . . 283

      Dissatisfaction with association—Hopes for its success.

    • Journal of a Tour to the Ohio River . . . 285
    • To Dr. Boucher, December 16th . . . . 316

      Custis’ tastes—Should be carefully guarded.

  • 1771.
    • To. Dr. Boucher, January 2d . . . . . 319

      Custis’ return delayed—His studies.

    • To Dr. Boucher, June 5th . . . . . . 320

      Makes a remittance—Proposed trip to England—Necessity of further education—Advantages of Boucher’s guardianship—Progress in studies.

    • To — Colston, June 24th . . . . . 324

      Western lands—Expenses of survey—Opposition to grant.

    • To Dr. Boucher, July 9th . . . . . . 329

      Division of opinion on expediency of Custis’ travelling—His responsibilities in the matter—Education not sufficient—Should see something of America—His position doubtful—The mother’s wishes.

    • To Robert Cary & Co., July 20th . . . . 334

      Disadvantages of indirect shipments—Error in satisfying orders—Cash purchases—The association.

    • The Annapolis Races, September 21st . . . 339
    • To George Mercer, November 7th . . . . 339

      Claims for lands—Difficulties encountered in their settlement—Petition for ascertainment of shares rejected by governor—No inducements for explorations—Locating the grant.

    • To Robert Stobo, November 22d . . . . 345

      Claim for lands on the Ohio—Expenses of determining the grant.

  • 1772.
    • To Dr. Boucher, May 4th . . . . . . 347

      Assembly measures.

    • To Dr. Boucher, May 21st . . . . . . 349

      Peale is painting his portrait—Sheep.

    • To Lord Dunmore, June 15th . . . . . 351

      Grant of lands to the officers and soldiers.

    • To Matthew Campbell, August 2d . . . . 354

      Purchase of goods—A matter of prices.

      Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
    • To Lord Dunmore and Council, November 5th . 356

      Land grants to soldiers—Payment of expenses by participants.

  • 1773.
    • To Colonel Bassett, February 15th . . . . 363

      Paper money—Corn—Personal gossip.

    • To Captain John Dalton, February 15th . . . 364

      Action of vestry—Conditions of subscription to church—Protests against change.

    • To Rev. Dr. Thruston, March 12th . . . . 366

      Land due to his son—History of negotiations and proceedings under grant—Charge of partiality answered.

    • To James Wood, March 13th . . . . . 372

      Florida lands.

    • To James Wood, March 30th . . . . . 373

      Lands in Florida—Directions for obtaining—Conditions of grant.

    • To Benedict Calvert, April 3d . . . . . 376

      Custis’ engagement to Miss Calvert.

    • To Lord Dunmore, April 13th . . . . . 379

      Trip to the north—Plan for a western journey.

    • To Colonel Bassett, April 25th . . . . . 380

      Sympathy for loss of daughter—Trip to the north—Custis’ engagement.

    • Journey to New York, May 10th . . . . 382
    • To Colonel Bassett, June 20th . . . . . 384

      Death of Patsy Custis.

    • Advertisement of the Ohio Lands, July 15th . . 386
    • To William Crawford, September 25th . . . 388

      Directions for taking up lands—Pennsylvania plans—Salt springs—His journey to the west.

    • To Michael Cresap, September 26th . . . . 392

      Protests against occupation of his claims.

    • To Colonel Armstrong, October 10th . . . 394

      Grant of lands by Lord Dunmore.

    • To Lord Dunmore, November 2d . . . . 395

      Western lands—Effect of order in Council—Right of governor to issue patents—Occasion for action.

      Edition: current; Page: [xiv]
  • 1774.
    • To William Black, January 17th . . . . 398

      Mrs. Black refuses to acknowledge her right of dower to lands—The withholding of the mills—Return of bond denied—His intentions.

    • To Colonel Bassett, February 12th . . . . 402

      Postponement of western journey.

    • To Henry Riddell, February 22d . . . . 403

      Desires to import Palatines—Inducements offered—Manner of reaching the lands—Queries in the matter.

    • To Thomas Lewis, May 5th . . . . . 408

      Survey and settlement of Ohio lands—Mr. Cresap’s pretensions.

    • Session of the House of Burgesses, May 5th . . 412
    • To Bryan Fairfax, July 4th . . . . . 417

      Wishes him to stand at election—His political sentiments—Conduct of Parliament—Measures against Massachusetts colony—Withholding of remittances.

    • To Bryan Fairfax, July 20th . . . . . 420

      Reasons for not reading his letter—Futility of petitioning Parliament—Right of taxation involved in the controversy—Severity of measures against Boston—Steps to be taken—Nonimportation scheme.

    • Virginia Convention, August 1st . . . . 426
    • To Richard Henry Lee, August 7th . . . . 428

      Statement of trade—Tithables.

    • To Bryan Fairfax, August 24th . . . . . 429

      Reply to his loyalist views—Has no new light to offer—Conduct of Parliament and the Ministry.

    • The Continental Congress of 1774, August 30th . 437
    • To Robert Mackenzie, October 9th . . . . 441

      Conduct of Massachusetts people—His own views in the matter—Not for independence, but for rights.

    • To James Mercer, December 26th . . . . 446

      Purchase of lands—Differences in surveys—Terms of warranty—Wheat—Cattle purchase.

      Edition: current; Page: [xv]
  • 1775.
    • Instructions for James Cleveland, January 10th . 451
    • To John West, January 13th . . . . . 455

      Education of young West—His business engagements—Will accept trust—Suggestion as to will.

    • To John Connolly, February 25th . . . . 457

      Affairs in the West—Indian matters—Attitude of British ministry.

    • To John Washington, March 6th . . . . 458
    • Instructions for William Stevens, March 6th . . 459
    • To John Augustine Washington, March 25th . . 464

      The Assembly—Deeds—Independent company.

    • To Lord Dunmore, April 3d . . . . . 465

      Land surveys—Rumors of their being invalid—The troops deserving of their reward—Proclamation of 1754—Injustice of proceeding.

    • To — Montague, April 5th . . . . . 469

      Col. Mercer’s affairs—Mortgage to Miss Wroughton—Family differences—Depression in estates.

    • To George Mercer, April 5th . . . . . 472

      Raising of companies—Col. Stewart.

    • Advertisement, April 23d . . . . . . 473
    • To George William Fairfax, May 31st . . . 474

      Engagement with king’s troops in Massachusetts—General Gage’s admissions—Narrow escape of regulars from destruction.

    • Acceptance of Command of the Army, June 15th . 476
    • Commission, June 19th . . . . . . 482
    • To Mrs. Martha Washington, June 18th . . . 483

      His appointment—Not of his seeking—Cannot refuse—Her happiness—His will.

    • To John Parke Custis, June 19th . . . . 486

      His appointment—Concern about Mrs. Washington—Can no longer assist in management of estate.

    • To Col. Bassett, June 19th . . . . . 487

      Reasons for accepting appointment—Currency to be issued by Congress—Urges visits to Mount Vernon.

      Edition: current; Page: [xvi]
    • To the Captains of the Several Independent Companies in Virginia, June 20th . . . . . 489

      His farewell—Appointment—Urges that discipline be maintained.

    • To John Augustine Washington, June 20th . . 491

      His appointment—Acts of Congress—The majors-general.

    • To the Continental Congress, June 24th . . . 493

      His arrival at New York—Powder wanted—Governor Tryon.

    • To the Continental Congress, June 24th . . . 497

      News from Massachusetts—Powder.

    • To General Schuyler, June 25th . . . . 497

      Instructions for commanding in New York department—Governor Tryon—Col. Guy Johnson.

    • Answer to an Address of the New York Provincial Congress . . . . . . . . 500
Edition: current; Page: [1]



George Washington
Washington, George
31st Jany., 1758
John Blair
Blair, John


Honble. Sir,

I wrote to your Honor yesterday.2 Since which your favor of the 25th is come to hand, I am greatly distressed to know what conduct to observe with regard to the Indians that are coming to our assistance. I would notwithstanding the ill state of health I am in, go directly to Winchester, cou’d I flatter myself that the Service wou’d reap any real advantage from it; but as I am not entrusted with the management of Indian Affairs, farther than directing their war-route’s (and even here, they are governed by caprice and whim rather than by real design), I am of opinion, I should only share in Mr. Gist’s embarrassments, without rendering him, the desired assistance. Because, if he informs me rightly, he is in no wise prepared for the reception of such a party, either with arms, or proper goods, and how he can be timely supplied with either, I know not. But this I am certain of; that were I on the spot, all their disappointments Edition: current; Page: [2] would be attributed to me, as they look upon the commanding officer to be culpable in all those cases.

Never was any thing more unlucky, perhaps, than these Indians coming at this time, having very little to apprehend, and the season being too rigorous to admit of incursions into the Enemy’s country. If they were sent out to war, it is more than probable that they would return to their nation as soon as they came in; by which means we should need their assistance in the Spring, when they would be of infinite service in offensive or defensive measures; and to feed and clothe them thro’ the winter, if they could be prevailed with to stay, would be attended with great expence.

Upon the whole, it appears to be a very ill judged step, the sending them in at this time and an affair of so much importance, that I do not care to meddle in it, without particular instructions from your Honor.

I have dispatched a special messenger to Mr. Gist, apprizing him of this matter, and shall wait at this place for your Orders, as to my own conduct. I am, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [3]
George Washington
Washington, George
4 March, 1758
Mount Vernon,
Colonel Stanwix
Colonel Stanwix


My Dear Colonel,

Your favors of the 13th January and the 24th ultimo, with the extract of a letter from Lord Loudoun, were this day delivered to me. In the latter you condescend to ask my opinion of Major Smith. Pray, does not his plan sufficiently indicate the man? Can there be a better index to his abilities, than his scheme for reducing the enemy on the Ohio, and his expeditious march of a thousand men to Detroit? Surely, he intended to provide them with wings to facilitate their passage over so mountainous and extensive a country, or what way else could he accomplish it in?

I am unacquainted with the navigation of the rivers he proposes to traverse, and, consequently, cannot be a competent judge of his scheme in this respect; but the distance is so great, and that through an enemy’s country, that, I candidly confess, it appears to me a romantic plan, in general, that may exist in the imagination, but cannot be executed. For, if we are strong enough to attempt the reduction of the Ohio, what necessity is there for our making such a circuitous march, and leaving Fort Duquesne behind us, which is the source from whence flow all our ills? And if we are too weak to attempt this place, what have we not to dread from leaving it in our rear?

These, Sir, are my sentiments upon Major Smith’s plan. With regard to the person, if I have been Edition: current; Page: [4] rightly informed, he actually had a commission to command a ranging company, and obtained it by making promises, he never could comply with. He was adjudged, by persons better acquainted with him than I am, to be quite unfit to command even a company, and lost the Block-House, in which he commanded, by suffering his men to straggle from it at pleasure, which the Indians observing, took advantage of his weakness, and attacked him at a time when he had no men in his works. It is, nevertheless, agreed on all hands, that he made a gallant defence, but I never before heard of any capitulation that was granted to him.

I have not had the pleasure of seeing Major Smith, though I have been favored with a letter from him, in which he politely professes some concern at hearing of my indisposition, as it prevented him from seeing me at Winchester; but desires, at the same time, that I will attend him at his house in Augusta, about two hundred miles hence! or in Williamsburg by the 20th instant, when, I suppose, he intends to honor me with his orders.1

I have never been able to return to my command, since I wrote to you last, my disorder at times returning obstinately upon me, in spite of the efforts of all the sons of Æsculapius, whom I have hitherto consulted. At certain periods I have been reduced to great extremity, and have now too much reason to Edition: current; Page: [5] apprehend an approaching decay, being visited with several symptoms of such a disease.

I am now under a strict regimen, and shall set out to-morrow for Williamsburg to receive the advice of the best physicians there. My constitution is certainly greatly impaired, and as nothing can retrieve it, but the greatest care and the most circumspect conduct, as I now have no prospect left of preferment in the military way, and as I despair of rendering that immediate service, which my country may require from the person commanding their troops, I have some thoughts of quitting my command, and retiring from all public business, leaving my post to be filled by some other person more capable of the task, and who may, perhaps, have his endeavors crowned with better success than mine have been. But, wherever I go, or whatever becomes of me, I shall always possess the sincerest and most affectionate regards for you; being, dear Sir, your most obedient and obliged humble servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [6]
George Washington
Washington, George
10 April, 1758
Fort Loudoun,
Brigadier-General Stanwix
Stanwix, Brigadier-General


Dear Sir,

Permit me,—at the same time that I congratulate you, (which I most sincerely do) on your promotion, you have met with and justly merited,—to express my concern at the prospect of parting with you. I can truly say, it is a matter of no small regret to me, and that I should have thought myself happy in serving this campaign under your immediate command. But every thing, I hope, is ordered for the best, and it is our duty to submit to the will of our superior. I must, nevertheless, beg, that you will add one more kindness to the many I have experienced, and that is, to mention me in favorable terms to General Forbes,1 (if you are acquainted with that gentleman,) not as a person, who would depend upon him for further recommendation to military preferment, for I have long conquered all such inclinations, (and serve this campaign merely for the purpose of affording my best endeavors to bring matters to a conclusion), but as a person, who would gladly be distinguished in some measure from the common run of provincial officers, as I understand there will be a motley herd of us.

Edition: current; Page: [7]

Nothing can contribute more to his Majesty’s interest in this quarter, than an early campaign, or a speedy junction of the troops to be employed in this service. Without this, I fear the Indians will with difficulty be restrained from returning to their nation before we assemble, and, in that event, no words can tell how much they will be missed. It is an affair of great importance, and ought to claim the closest attention of the commanding officer; for on the assistance of these people does the security of our march very much depend.

There should be great care taken, also, to lay in a supply of proper goods for them. The Indians are mercenary; every service of theirs must be purchased; and they are easy offended, being thoroughly sensible of their own importance. Upwards of five hundred are already come to this place, the greatest part of whom are gone to war. Many others are daily expected, and we have neither arms nor clothes (proper) to give them. Nor, indeed, is it reasonable to expect, that the whole expense accruing on account of these people should fall upon this government, which hath already in this as well as in many other respects, exerted her utmost abilities for his Majesty’s interest, and, in the present case, shares only an equal proportion of the advantages arising from Indian services.

These crude thoughts are hastily thrown together. If you find any thing contained in them, which may be useful, be pleased to improve them for his Majesty’s interest. The latitude which you have hitherto Edition: current; Page: [8] allowed me, joined to my zeal for the service, has encouraged me to use this freedom with you, Sir, which I should not choose to take unasked with another.

If it is not inconsistent, I should be glad before I conclude to ask what regular troops are to be employed under Brigadier-General Forbes, and when they may be expected? Also, where they are to rendezvous.

Fort Frederic, I hear, is mentioned for this purpose, and, in my humble opinion, a little improperly. In the first place, because the country people all around are fled, and the troops will, consequently, lack those refreshments so needful to soldiers. In the next place, I am fully convinced there never can be a road made between Fort Frederic and Fort Cumberland, that will admit the transportation of carriages. For I have passed it with many others, who were of the same opinion; and lastly, because this is the place [Fort Loudoun] to which all Indian parties, either going to, or returning from war, will inevitably repair.

I am with most sincere esteem, dear Sir, your most obedient and obliged humble servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
12 April, 1758
Fort Loudoun,
Francis Halket
Halket, Francis


My dear Halket,

Are we to have you once more among us? And shall we revisit together a hapless spot, that proved so fatal to many of our (former) brave companions? Edition: current; Page: [9] Yes; and I rejoice at it, hoping it will now be in our power to testify a just abhorrence of the cruel butcheries exercised on our friends, in the unfortunate day of General Braddock’s defeat; and, moreover, to show our enemies, that we can practise all that lenity of which they only boast, without affording any adequate proofs at all.

To cut short, I really feel a degree of satisfaction upon the prospect of meeting you again, although I have scarce time to tell you so, as the express is waiting.

I am with most sincere regard, dear Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
17 April, 1758
Fort Loudoun,


Honble. Sir

An unlucky, but unavoidable accident happened in the neighborhood of Patterson’s fort the other day.

The proceedings of an examining court of officers on that occasion (which are herewith sent) will bring your Honor acquainted with the circumstances. I caused a very strict enquiry to be made into the conduct of Mr. Chew, that equal justice might be done to the dead and to the living; and it appeared that Mr. Chew had acted with great spirit and activity in pursuing the tracks of those people; and that in shooting them (altho’ it was unlucky in the event) he had done nothing that was not strictly warrantable, Lane and Cox appearing both in dress, disguise and behavior, to be no other than Indians.

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I think it incumbent on me to be informed by your Honor, how the regiment under my command is to be furnished with tents, ammunition, cartridge-paper, and many other requisites, that may be wanted in the course of the campaign. We expect it is here to be furnished with all those articles from his Majesty’s stores, but it is necessary for me to learn this from your Honor.

Captain Joshua Lewis, of the Virginia regiment has applied to me for leave to resign, urging as a reason, that his interest lies in the navy, and if longer neglected, it may be very detrimental to him. He has therefore obtained my consent to do so, and my promise of mentioning the thing to your Honor.

Captn. Thomas Bullet will in this event, by seniority, succeed to his company; which with the death of Lt. Milner, and the removal of Mr. Wm. Henry Fairfax to the northward, cause two or three vacancies (to be filled up, I hope, by the volunteers who have served for that purpose) and some promotions of Ensigns to Lieutenants, which will require at least half a dozen blank commissions. I therefore beg the favor of your Honor to send them to me; and you may depend, that in filling them, I shall have strict regard to justice, and will act conformably to the rules of the army. I have, at this time, four or five blank commissions of Govr. Dinwiddie’s signing, but they are now useless.

The last Assembly, in their Supply Bill, provided for a chaplain to our regiment, for whom I had often very unsuccessfully applied to Governor Dinwiddie. Edition: current; Page: [11] I now flatter myself, that your Honor will be pleased to appoint a sober, serious man for this duty. Common decency, Sir, in a camp calls for the services of a divine, and which ought not to be dispensed with, altho’ the world should be so uncharitable as to think us void of religion, and incapable of good instructions.

I now enclose a monthly return for March, and am, honorable Sir, your most obedient, humble servant.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 April, 1758
Fort Loudoun,
Sir John St. Clair
Clair, Sir John St.



Your letter of the 13th addressed to Captain Bullet, came to my hands about an hour ago. I have not words to express the great pleasure I feel, at finding General Forbes and yourself so heartily disposed to please the Indians, who are our steady friends and valuable allies.1

Mr. Gist will send you a return of the number of Indians who have come to our assistance,—of what nations they are composed; how many are gone to war; and what number is yet expected in; and I shall enclose you a return of the Virginia Regiment, for the month Edition: current; Page: [12] of March last. The Indians seem hearty in our cause, and full of spirits at the prospect of an Expedition, which they have long been wishing for. But I fear the rendezvous of the troops at the mouth of Conococheague will give them some disgust; because from long use, this place is become perfectly known and familiar to them; and it is here they repair upon every occasion. Here, also all their scouting parties, that are gone to war, will return, and at this place, the earliest intelligence of occurrencies on the frontiers, will always arrive.

I have taken great pains to encourage all that have gone to war, since my return here to take each a prisoner; and if they should get more than one, to keep them asunder; which they have promised to do.1

That part of your letter relative to the building flats, I have communicated to Lt. Smith, and we shall endeavor to get plank and other materials in readiness; but at the same time I must observe, that all the men of this garrison are employed (by authority of this government) in finishing the works here; and I do not know how far my conduct may be justified in withdrawing them from them, as I have received Edition: current; Page: [13] no order from the President to regard any instructions but his own.

I now flatter myself, that this settlement will be able to furnish a pretty number of waggons, & willingly; but what quantity of forage may be had, I am unable to say. I have, however, made your desires known to the people on this occasion.

I have advice, that our Assembly have voted 2,000 men for the expedition; who are to be commanded by General Forbes, besides militia, for the security of the frontiers; and that they have also voted an additional fund of £6,000 for Indian expences.1

Your express with letters of the 7th came safe to this place, on the 12th in the Evening, and was dispatched early next morning. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
24 April, 1758
Fort Loudoun,



Your letter of the 19th instant, intended to come by Colonel Stephen, was delivered me to-day about noon by express. As there are several matters contained in it of an interesting nature, I chose to be Edition: current; Page: [14] aided in my determinations by the advice of my officers, and have enclosed your Honor their and my opinion on the several heads.

I could by no means think of executing, (willingly,) that discretionary power, with which you were pleased to invest me, of ordring out the militia.1 It is an affair, Sir, of too important and delicate a nature for me to have the management of; for much discontent will be the inevitable consequence of this draft.

Your Honor will no longer be at a loss for a return, after you receive my letter by Jenkins; and lest any accident may have happened to that, I herewith enclose another for the same month.

When the relief of our outposts in Augusta marches, Major Lewis, who commands on that quarter, should be advised thereof, and he will order them to their stations.

That was a most extraordinary request of Colonel Mercer, concerning the exchange of officers, and calculated, it would seem, rather to breed confusion, and to gratify his own vanity, than to benefit the other regiment.2 There is not an ensign there, that would not rather quit the service, than accept of a company in the other regiment, so much do they disapprove Edition: current; Page: [15] Colonel Mercer’s proposal; and I have neither inclination nor power to force their compliance.

Captain Rutherford’s company was raised and posted on this quarter by Governor Dinwiddie’s express orders, and can be more useful here, than any other men whatever, being all sons of the neighboring farmers, men of property, young, active, and entirely acquainted with the woods on these frontiers. Whereas, if they go to the southward, they will be utter strangers to the enemy’s haunts, and of no more use there, than the militia of an adjacent county; while their places here must be supplied by militia equally ignorant of these woods as they will be of any others; besides giving them a useless march of two hundred miles, and exposing the frontiers in the mean time. Another reason may be urged; their property all lies in this county. Interested motives induced them to enlist, and to be vigilant in defending it, and, I believe, they would desert, rather than go to the southward.

Your Honor will please to remember, it was one among the last questions, I had an opportunity of asking, if I should send parties a recruiting? You replied, “that, as the Assembly was so near meeting, you would defer giving any directions on that head,” and as I had no money for the purpose, I hope it will not seem surprising, that we have recruited but a few men since, and that I have been waiting for orders to complete the regiment. I shall now use my best endeavors, with what few officers, can be spared from Edition: current; Page: [16] the garrisons, (which will be very few, indeed!) dispersed as we are. I shall also be under a necessity of sending down for money to carry on this service; and should be glad that your Honor would order it to be ready immediately to prevent delay of the officer, who will set off to-morrow, or the next day after at the farthest. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
4 May, 1758
Fort Loudoun,


Honble. Sir,

The enclosed letter from Capt. Waggener, will inform your Honor of a very unfortunate affair. From the best accounts I have yet been able to get, there are about 60 persons killed and missing. Immediately upon receiving this Intelligence, I sent out a Detachment of the Regiment, and some Indians, that were equipped for war, in hopes of their being able to intercept the Enemy in the retreat. I was fearful of this stroke, but had not time enough to avert it, as your Honor will find by the following account which came to hand just before Capt. Waggener’s letter, by Captn. McKenzie.

Lieutenant Gist with 6 soldiers and 30 Indians marched the 2d of April from the South Branch; and after a tedious march (occasioned by the deep snows on the mountains) got on the waters of the Monongahela, where Mr. Gist was lamed by a fall from a steep bank, and rendered incapable of marching. The white people and some of the Indians remained with him; and the rest of the Indians divided themselves into three parties & separated. Edition: current; Page: [17] Ucahula and two more went down the Monongahela in a bark canoe and landed near Ft. Duquesne, on the north side, where they lay concealed for two days. At length an opportunity offered of attacking a canoe, in which were two French men fishing; those they killed and scalped in sight of two other canoes with French men in them, and came off safe.

When he got about 15 miles on this side Ft. Duquesne, he came upon a large Indian Encampment, from the size of which, and the number of tracks, judged to be at least 100, making directly for the frontiers of Virginia, as they again discovered by crossing their tracks.1

At present I have nothing more to add to your Honor, having written several times lately on matters, to which I have received no answer.

I had wrote thus far, and was going to send off an Express with this melancholy account, when I received Edition: current; Page: [18] advice, that the Particulars relative to those murders had been transmitted from Augusta, to your Honor. I thereupon thought it most advisable to postpone sending ’till I should receive answer to my several letters by Jenkins and Mr. Gist; which I was accordingly honored with, the 7th and last night.

May 10th. After due deliberation on your Honor’s letter of the 2d by Gist, I am of opinion, that the number of Militia you have ordered for the defence of the Posts, to be evacuated by the regiment, will be sufficient, unless the completing the works at this place should be thought necessary.

As it can not be supposed that the Enemy will attempt any formidable incursion after the march of our army; and as to the depredations to be feared from their small scalping-parties, it would be out of the power of thrice the proposed number (or indeed of any number) effectually to prevent them. But, as you are pleased to desire my opinion—I beg leave to offer a few things relative to the disposition you propose.

I humbly conceive therefore, that it would be infinitely more for the interest of the service, to order the 100 from Prince William to the South Branch, and continuing Rutherford’s company in its present station, making this its headquarters. For, as that company is perfectly acquainted with all that range of mountains, extending from the Potomack to the Augusta Line, and thro’ which the Enemy make incursions into this settlement, they could with greater Edition: current; Page: [19] facility obstruct their inroads and assist the inhabitants of this valley (of whom they themselves form a very great part) than those who are ignorant of the ground. The militia from Prince William, equally know the Branch and this vicinity, and therefore may be supposed to do as much there, as here; whereas moving Rutherford’s there, would be stripping them of those essential advantages which they may derive from their thorough knowledge of these parts, and removing them from defending their immediate rights (the sole motive of the enlisting).

One half of this company, were it continued here, might be constantly ranging, and the other left in this fort, which is centrical to their present station.

If the works here are to be completed, which from their great importance I should think highly necessary, in that event, an additional number of 60 or 80 good men from the militia, for that particular service, would be wanted; and I do not know any person so capable of directing the works as Major Joseph Stephen, of Caroline County. He formerly had the overlooking of them, and managed with remarkable industry.

A part of the militia ordered for the Branch should take post at Edwards’s (on Cacapehon) and at Pearsalls, for the security of convoys passing from hence to Fort Cumberland.

I really do not know what method can be practised to compel the country people to deliver up the public arms, unless there could be a general search in every county.

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Governor Dinwiddie, if I remember right, issued two or three proclamations ordering them in, to no purpose.

With regard to opening the roads, I think it would be most advisable to postpone all attempts, ’till Sir Jno. St. Clair’s arrival, as he is expected so soon. For Pearsalls, altho’ it is the most convenient road for the Virginia, may not be used by the northern troops; as I understand their rendezvous is ordered at Fort Frederick in Maryland. This may also (altho’ I cannot yet absolutely say) render garrisons at Edwards and Pearsalls, useless, unless it be a few to preserve the forts and the families gathered into them.

As several of our best sergeants were made officers in the Carolina Regiment (besides some other vacancies in that Rank) parting with 10 for the use of the new Regiment will be a very great hardship at this juncture.

We are likewise short of our number of Drummers, and many of those we have are raw and untutored. As the General expects not regularity from the new levies, well knowing how little any attempts towards it, in a short time, would avail; I can not help being surprized at their requesting your Honor to give directions for doing what would be of no real service to the new Regiment, and would be of vast prejudice to that I have the honor to command.

In consequence of your orders for completing the Regiment (with all possible despatch) by recruiting, I sometime ago sent all the officers I could spare to Edition: current; Page: [21] those parts of the Country where there is the greatest probability of success and furnished them with all the money I had, and directions to draw upon me for whatever sum they might want for that service. I likewise engaged some of the most popular of the country gentlemen to recruit for me, giving them the same liberty to draw upon me. Well knowing the difficulty of getting any tolerable number in a short time, I exerted myself in prosecuting every measure, that afforded a prospect of success, having then not the least reason to doubt of being duly supplied with money: But how great is my surprise at that paragraph of your Honor’s letter, that you can not send me any for that service. As I had immediate demands upon me, which I put off until Mr. Gist’s arrival, I consulted with my officers about applying the £400, sent for contingencies, towards these demands; and enclose you their opinion on that head; and I must earnestly request, that you will be pleased to fall upon some measures of sending me 800 or 1,000£ more; as your honor, the honor of the Colony, as well as mine, and the officers, together with that of those gentlemen above-mentioned, whom I have employed, is so nearly and immediately interested in the completion of those engagements, which I have, in consequence of your orders, entered into. Surely it cannot be imagined that I can pay the money (if I had it to deposit) out of my own private fortune; nor does the shortness of the time, nor the circumstances I am under, admit of any other alternative.

I will chearfully bespeak, and can easily procure, Edition: current; Page: [22] the Stage Horses you desire—when furnished with money for that purpose.

As Jno. Berry was made a soldier (how legally the Court of Officers &c, that sent him can better declare) I must think it not only repugnant to law, but to the articles of War, and the customs of the army, to allow him to enlist in any other corps; for, by this means, if there were no other bad consequences attending it, he defrauds the Country of double-bounty-money.

I shall make a prudent use of the power you have been pleased to give me, respecting the issuing orders to the parties of militia.

Your favor of the 3d by Mr. French Mason, I have just been presented with; and would gladly have appointed him Ensign in the regiment, had not the vacancies been disposed of, in the following manner, before it came to hand, vizt.:

Capt. Lt. Bullet, to Joshua Lewis’s company—Mr. Duncanson, oldest Ensign, to the Lieutenancy occasioned by this removal: and Mr. Thomas Gist and Mr. Allen, volunteers, and John McCully & John Sallard, worthy Sergeants, (all of whom had served a considerable time with credit and reputation) to be Ensigns.—I had likewise before the receipt of yours, promised Major Hite, of this County, a gentleman of good character, the Colors that would become vacant; upon the event of Colo. Mercer’s Company being filled up; as he in consideration, had engaged to recruit 50 men, for the service—which I then thought would be a vast advantage. I am, &c.

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George Washington
Washington, George
11 May, 1758
Fort Loudoun,
Francis Halket
Halket, Francis


Dear Sir,

I am this day favored with yours of the 4th instant, and would have thought myself extremely culpable and deficient in my duty, had I delayed one moment in transmitting to the General any intelligence I could procure; much less such a material one as that he has had information of. I must, therefore, beg that you will, from me, assure the General, the Catawbas have not this year brought in one prisoner or scalp to this place, nor indeed to any other that I ever heard of. There hath been no prisoner taken by any of our friendly Indians this season, and no scalps, except the two taken near Fort Duquesne by Ucahula, of which, and all the intelligence of the enemy in that quarter, which that young warrior was able to give, I, by the last post, sent to the General a full and circumstantial account. Nor would I have failed to have kept him duly informed of every interesting occurrence, even had it not been recommended to me.

It gave me no small uneasiness when I was informed of the resolution which some of the Cherokees had made of wandering towards the Indian settlements in Maryland and Pennsylvania, clearly foreseeing the bad consequences such a peregrination would produce. I therefore represented the matter to Captain Gist in the strongest manner, and must do him the justice to say, that nothing in his power was left unessayed to prevent it. But our efforts proved ineffectual, as those two provinces Edition: current; Page: [24] last year, very impolitically I humbly conceive, made those Indians presents, and encouraged their returning thither this spring. And such is the nature of Indians, that nothing will prevent their going where they have any reason to expect presents, and their cravings are insatiable when there is any farther prospect of getting a benefit.

I and my officers constantly have, and always will pay, the strictest regard to every circumstance, that may contribute to put and keep the Indians in a good humor. But, as Governor Dinwiddie ordered me not to meddle or interfere with Indian affairs on any pretence whatever, the sole management of them being left to Mr. Atkin and his deputy Mr. Gist, and those orders having never been countermanded, neither I, nor my officers, have adventured to do any thing relative to them, but in a secondary manner through Mr. Gist.

The Raven warrior was on a scout,1 in which he was unsuccessful. On his return hither, he produced two white men’s scalps, which he brought from his own nation, and wanted to pass them for the enemy’s, taken in his unsuccessful scout. In this villany he was detected by the other warriors, who were highly offended at so base a deceit, and threatened to kill him for it. A consciousness of his guilt, and a dread of being called to a severe account by his own countrymen, were the reasons which many of them assigned for his going away in so abrupt (but by no means dissatisfactory) a manner to the Edition: current; Page: [25] English.1 As Captain Bosomworth was here transacting Indian affairs, under the immediate orders of the Commander-in-chief, when the Raven warrior returned and was detected, I only wrote in mine to General Forbes superficially on the subject, referring to Captain Bosomworth for particulars imagining it more properly belonged to him to do so.

It gives me infinite pleasure, that the General seems (by the great pains he takes) to be so well satisfied of the importance their services will be of; but cannot help being under some uneasiness that it will be almost impracticable to keep them until they will be wanted. They say that they did not leave home with an intention of staying any considerable time, that they can see no appearance of our being soon able to take the field, that staying any time for our assembling, and afterwards for our slow motions, would detain them too long from their own nation; but that they would go home and be back again by the time they are wanted. These and many things to the same purpose are used by most of the parties that come in from war, as reasons for going off; and altho’ we have (here) done every thing in our power to remove these objections and to prevent their going, yet a party of 25 Cherokees went off this morning. But on receipt of your letter I followed them, told them it was from the General, and by its assistance at last prevailed on them to return. Yet I Edition: current; Page: [26] dread that unless they see the troops assemble soon, it will be very difficult if not impossible to retain any number of the Cherokees, altho’ nothing in my power will be wanting to prevent their leaving us, which might be of the most fatal consequences to this part of the continent.

Enclosed is my return for April, but you will please to observe that Captn. Woodward’s is made out from his last, as his great distance from hence puts it out of his power to send it in due time.

I beg you will inform the General, that I shall, with great alacrity, obey all the orders, with which he may honor me. In the mean time, I am, with unfeigned regard, dear Halket, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
28 May, 1758


Honble. Sir,

I came here at this critical juncture, by the express order of Sir John St. Clair, to represent in the fullest manner the posture of our affairs at Winchester, and to obviate any doubts, that might arise from the best written narrative. I shall make use of the following method, as the most effectual I can at present suggest, to lay sundry matters before you, for your information, approbation, and direction. And I hope, when your Honor considers how we are circumstanced and how absolutely necessary [is] despatch, that you will please to give me explicit and speedy answers, on the several points which are submitted. For without the latter the service will be greatly impeded, Edition: current; Page: [27] and wanting the former, my conduct may be liable to error and to censure. To begin:

1st. Sir John St. Clair’s letter will, I apprehend, inform your Honor of our principal wants, namely, arms, tents, and other sorts of field-equipage,—articles so absolutely and obviously necessary, as to need no argument to prove, that the men will be useless without them, and that the vast sums of money which have been expended in levying and marching them to the place of rendezvous, will be entirely lost, besides impeding if not defeating the expedition, and losing every Indian now on our frontiers by delay.

2. The officers will be entirely unprovided with the means of taking the field, till they have an allowance made to them of baggage, forage, and bat-money. Governor Dinwiddie, from what cause I could never yet learn, thought proper to discontinue this allowance to the companies that remained in Virginia, at the same time that he allowed it to those who went to Carolina, although I produced evidence under General Stanwix’s hand, (the then commanding officer on this quarter) that all officers were entitled to it, and that it was indispensably necessary to equip them for, and enable them to take the field. General Forbes has obtained this allowance for the Pennsylvania troops, and desired Sir John St. Clair (who has given me a copy of it signed) to urge it strongly on this government also. See the copy.

3. The different pay of the two Virginia regiments will, I conceive, if a stop is not put to it, be productive of great discontent, and many evils. For the Edition: current; Page: [28] soldiers of the first regiment think their claim upon the country equally good, if not better than that of the second, because their services are not limited.1 They have lacked the great bounty, which the others have received, and have had no clothes for near two years, when in strictness they have an annual call for and an equal right to expect them.

4. As our regimental clothing cannot possibly last the campaign, will it not be advisable to send for a supply against next winter? I have sent to Philadelphia for one thousand pair of Indian stockings, (leggings), the better to equip my men for the woods; and should be glad to know whether I am to pay for them in behalf of the country, or deduct the cost out of their pay. As they have not received the clothing they are entitled to, they may think this latter rather hard.

5. Should not the pay of the surgeon’s mates in the first regiment be equal to that of those in the second? The latter have four and the former only three shillings per day, and should there not be the same number of surgeon’s mates allowed to the old as are to the new regiment?

6. It will cause great dissatisfaction in the regiment, if Lieutenant Baker is put over the heads of older officers. It is granted, that Mr. Baker is a very deserving officer, but there are others equally deserving, and have adventured equally to seek glory, Edition: current; Page: [29] and to merit applause. Ensign Chew, for instance, was with him when the scalps were taken; Capt. McKenzie, Lt. Gist, Mr. Woodward and many others have adventured as far into the enemy’s country, tho’ with less success. I therefore hope (to prevent the disorders consequent upon his advancement) that your Honor will suffer Colo. Mercer’s company to be given to Mr. Stewart, the oldest Lieutenant, as Captn. Lewis’ in the like case was to Mr. Bullet.

7. Sir John St. Clair directs in consequence of orders from the General, that the first Virginia regiment shall immediately be completed, and leaves the mode of doing it to your Honor. I should be glad of direction in this affair. The season, I fear, is too far advanced to attempt it now by recruiting.

8. Lt. Steenbugen, having been guilty of several irregular and ungentlemanly practices, and finding his conduct was about to be inquired into, begged leave to resign, which I granted so far as depended upon me; because the crimes he was then accused of, were not sufficient to break him, altho’ quite sufficient to give the whole corps the most indifferent opinion of his morals. This resignation, and Captn. Lt. Stewart’s promotion will cause two vacancies in the regiment; to fill up which, and to make the several promotions hereby occasioned will require five blank commissions.

9. I should be glad to know if the works at Fort Loudoun are still to go on? In what manner to be forwarded, and under whose direction? Nothing surely will contribute more to the public weal, than Edition: current; Page: [30] his fort when completed; because it will be a valuable repository for our stores, if the event of our enterprise prove successful, and an asylum for the inhabitants, (and place of retreat for our troops,) in case of a defeat.

10. Great advantages must consequently arise, by appointing Lieutenant Smith to that direction, and to the command of Fort Loudoun. First, because he has had the overlooking of the works for nearly two years, is, by that means, become perfectly well acquainted with every thing intended to be done, and is exceedingly industrious. Secondly, because there must necessarily be many sick and lame soldiers left at that garrison, who may require the eye of a diligent officer to keep them together. Thirdly, because all the regimental stores and baggage must be left at that place, and ought to be under the care of an officer, who can be made accountable for his conduct; and not left to the mercy of an ungovernable and refractory militia. And fourthly, it is necessary, if for no other reason than to preserve the materials for finishing the works that are now lying there.

11. I conceive we shall be ordered to take with us the greatest part of the ammunition now at Fort Loudoun. It will be necessary, therefore, to have a supply laid in at that place for the use of the frontier garrisons.

12. I did in a late letter endeavor to point out, in what manner the service would be benefited, by continuing Rutherford’s rangers in the parts they now are, and sending the militia of Prince William to the Branch in their stead, and I again recommend it, for Edition: current; Page: [31] the reasons then given, and for many others, which might be given.

I must now conclude, with once more begging, that your Honor will come to some speedy determination on these several matters. From what Sir John St. Clair has wrote, from my orders, and from what I have here set forth, I conceive it must sufficiently appear, that the greatest dispatch is absolutely necessary,—the success of our expedition, in a manner, depending upon the early commencement of it. Every delay, therefore, may be attended with pernicious consequences.

The Indians, glad of any pretence for returning home, will make use of delays for a handle; and a spirit of discontent and desertion may spring up among the new levies for want of employment.

These are matters obvious to me, and my duty requires, that I represent them in this free and candid manner.1

Edition: current; Page: [32]
George Washington
Washington, George
19 June, 1758
Fort Loudoun,
John Forbes
Forbes, John



Pardon the liberty I am going to use—a liberty that nothing but the most disinterested regard for the safety and welfare of these Colonies would induce me to take. How far my Ideas on what I am about to observe are compatible with reason, and may correspond with your Sentiments on the matter, I candidly submit to your Excellency’s determination.

The unfortunate arrival of the Cherokees into these Governments so early in the Spring, and the unavoidable accidents that have hitherto prevented a Edition: current; Page: [33] junction of the Troops intended for the Western Expedition, have caused them (as they are naturally of a discontented temper) to be tired of waiting: and all except those who came last, with Colo. Byrd, and a few others that have joined since, to return home. How long these can be prevailed upon to remain with us, I will not take upon me to affirm; but I can venture to say it will not be 6 weeks if it requires that time to form our Magazines, and prepare for our march—as Colo. Bouquet seemed to think it would. Now, in this event, we shall be left to perform without them a march of more than 100 miles from our advanced Post, before we shall arrive at Fort du Quesne; a great part of which will be over mountains and Rocks, and thro’ such Defiles, as will enable the Enemy, with the assistance of their Indians, and Irregulars, and their superior knowledge of the country, to render extremely arduous, unsafe, and at best, tedious, our intended Expedition; unless we also can be assisted by a Body of Indians; who I conceive to be the best if not the only Troops fit to cope with Indians in such grounds. For, I beg leave further to add, that I do not suppose Success in such a country as I have described, is to be the consequence of numbers. On the contrary, I conceive the march of an unwieldy Body of Troops, covering their convoys, may be penetrated by a few who are light and unencumbered:—Of this, however, I am certain, they may be greatly harrassed, and their march much incommoded by the skulking Enemy we have to deal with.

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From what has, and might be said on this occasion, it should appear that Indians, to us, are of the utmost importance; and as I understand your Excellency proposes to keep open the communication with the Inhabitants, and to secure a retreat, (if it should be our misfortune) by the establishment of Posts at advantageous situations and at proper distances, as the Army advances (a work truly of the greatest importance, especially as we shall but too probably begin our march with a hand-full of Indians) I think it would be practicable, during the prosecution of this plan, to get a number of the Indians to our assistance (by sending a person of abilities and address immediately for them) before we could approach Fort du Quesne: and I think it is not likely we shall meet with any formidable opposition till we get pretty near that place.

Another great advantage that might be derived from sending a person to the Cherokee nation would be to reconcile (tis to be hop’d) those differences that have lately happened between them and some of the frontier inhabitants of this colony; which, if not properly, and timously attended to may be productive of the most serious consequences to the British Interest in America, and terminate in the ruin of our Southern Settlements. The Southern Indians, of late, seem to be wavering; and have, on several occasions, discovered an inclination to break with us. I think it will admit of no doubt, that, if we should be unsuccessful in this Quarter, which Heaven avert! the united force of several powerful nations of them might Edition: current; Page: [35] be employed against us; and that such an acquisition to the Enemy would enable them to desolate our Southern Colonies, and make themselves masters of that part of the continent, is not to be questioned. Wherefore, that nothing should be omitted that might contribute to prevent so dreadful a calamity, I suggest the idea of sending a proper person immediately to the Cherokee nation; who may not only heal the differences which now subsist, but get a Body of them to join the army on their march, and no person, surely, who has the interest of our important cause at heart, wou’d hesitate a moment to engage in such a Service, on the event of which our all, in a manner, depends.

There is now a large cargoe of proper Goods for trading with them just arrived from England in this Colony. Necessary supplies might be drawn from thence and laid in at proper places, for them, which would prevent those delays and disappointments, which they have had too much cause to complain of.

It would I confess require much time before Indians (who are now to be sent for) could join us: but, as the delays are to be expected in forming our Magazines, establishing our Posts, and marching thro’ such an extent, will also require time, it may, I think be effected, and the farther the Summer is advanced, the more will our want of Indians, and our march be facilitated and secured by means of them. For, if a decisive Action should happen to the northward, and the Enemy prove victorious, they would, in that case, add strength to their Garrisons on the Edition: current; Page: [36] Ohio—by Indians at least: who would easily be induced, by the prospect of plunder, to come to their aid—But no delay, in expectation of Indians, or on any other account, ought to be admitted: because among other Evils, resulting from it, would be the expiration of the term of service of the Second Virginia Regiment, who stand engaged to the 1st of December only.1

What time the French may require to assemble a formidable Body of Indians at Fort du Quesne,—how they are provided for victualling such a Body there, and how far they may be able to prevail upon them to wait the uncertain march of our Army, when they have assembled them,—are matters I profess myself to be ignorant of.—But, if we are allowed to draw inferences from our own difficulties in these cases, we may in the first place conclude, I think, that our preparations, &c., have sufficiently alarmed them;—and that they have got together what Indians they can,—next,—that those Indians will require the same Provisions, and perhaps the same humoring that Edition: current; Page: [37] ours do; and lastly; that they may also get dissatisfied at waiting, and return home like ours have done, thinking our preparations a feint only to draw off their attention from the northward.

My solicitude on account of Indians sufficiently appears throughout all I have said.—Your Excellency is the best judge of the Plan you have to execute, and the time it will require to bring your operations to bear. You are also a proper judge of the time it will take to accomplish the Scheme I have proposed of getting Indians to our assistance, and how far it may correspond (in point of time) with other measures, and, therefore it wou’d be presuming too much after I have endeavored (tho’ a little indigestedly) to shew the necessity of Indians, and the advantages and disadvantages of a late campaign to say any thing further, unless it be to apologize once more for the freedom I have taken of mentioning matters, which I suppose you are equally (if not better) acquainted with than I am: and to assure your Excellency that I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
19th June, 1758
Fort Loudoun,
Governor Fauquier
Governor Fauquier


Honble. Sir,

The letter herewith enclosed woud have been sent according to the date, but I have been waiting ’till now for Capt. Rutherford’s pay-roll; his company being much dispersed in the Ranging Service.

This day the Prince William Militia are to march for the South-Branch, to relieve two companies of my Edition: current; Page: [38] Regiment, agreeably to orders—Enclosed is a return of their present strength. I should think myself deficient in duty, were I to pass over in silence the conduct and state of this company from their first coming out—about the 20th ultimo—until the present moment.

One hundred Militia were ordered from Prince William County, (but at what time I can not exactly say), by Mr. President Blair. Instead of that number 73 only came: and every one of them unprovided with arms and ammunition, as the Law directs; by which means they were not only useless, but really burthensome to the Country; as they were eating its Provisions and had their pay running on. This matter was represented to Colo. Henry Lee, Lieutenant of that county, by Sir John St. Clair, then commanding officer here. The consequence of this representation was, that about the 1st of this instant, near 100 arms were sent up by his order; out of which number scarce five were serviceable, and not more than 30 coud be made to fire. This was also represented to Colo: Lee, who, after expressing his concern for it, said, the County expected arms from England every day, and has taken no farther notice of the matter since, that I have yet heard. I immediately set Smiths to repairing their arms, and have, with the assistance of 35 old muskets, which I caused to be delivered out of the Store here, got this company, which ought to have consisted of 100 men (tho’ there are but 68) at last completed.

’Till this time they have been a dead expence to the Public, and of no service to the inhabitants. This, Edition: current; Page: [39] Sir, is a true statement of Facts, and really merits reprehension: for, if such Behavior is suffered to escape unnoticed, the most destructive consequences may accrue. In the present case: if the Troops had marched agreeable to the orders I at first received, the companies on the South-Branch would have been drawn off, and the inhabitants thereby left destitute of support; or must have come off with them which it seems they were determined to do. This I understand actually did happen in Augusta County, when Major Lewis came from thence, by the negligence (I suppose) of the County-Lieutenants. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
3 July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



Your favors of the 27th ulto and first inst. I have had the honour to receive.

According to order I marchd from Winchester the 24th, and arrivd at this place Yesterday in the afternoon, with five Companies of the first Virginia Regiment, and a company of Artificers of the second, as you may observe by the enclosed returns.

My March, by bad Teams and bad Roads, (notwithstanding I had sent the Artificers and a Covering Party on three days before) was much delayed.

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I herewith send a return of the Provisions and Forage that came up under my Escort. We lost three Bullocks, and that in driving. I can’t absolutely say for what purpose the Forage is intended, or where to be lodged. It was engaged by Mr. Walker at Sir Jno. St. Clair’s request, and I believe for the light Horse. The principal part of it met us at Pearsalls, on the South Branch; and neither myself, nor any person else was empowered, or even desird, to receive and pay for it. I was at a loss how to act, but thought it most advisable to bring it on. If it is not intended for the light Horse, as I apprehend, I shoud be glad of your directions concerning it; for Captn. Stewart, who possibly may be Instructed for this purpose, I left equipping his Troop at Winchester, and is not yet joind me.

As I can’t suppose you intended to order any part of my men upon the Roads, till joind at this place by Colonel Byrd, I shall decline sending any upon that Service till his arrival, which I suppose may be to-morrow, as he was preparing to march the 26th after me.

I enclose you an exact return of the Maryland Troops in Garrison at this place, also of their Provisions and of the King’s stores, and shoud be glad to know what strength you woud have this Garrison consist of, how many days’ Provisions left for them, and what quantity of Ammunition. I brought one half of all that was orderd from Winchester by Sir Jno. St. Clair, and left the other half to follow with Colo. Byrd—Powder excepted. And of that Article there was only 16 barrels in the store there, besides Edition: current; Page: [41] 6 others that were made up into Cartridges—which are also brought up between us.

Mr. Walker, in consequence of Instructions from Mr. Hoops, (who I believe purposd to supply us from Rays Town), put a stop to a further purchase of Provisions. You will see by the Returns for what number of days I am supplied, and I desird Colo. Byrd to bring as much to this place as would serve his Men a fortnight at least. I am at a loss to know whether officers’ servants, that are not Soldiers, are allowd to draw Provisions, and shoud be thankfull for your directions, as I have had many applications on that head.

There are few tools1 for the Services requird; but before a supply coud be got to this place from Sir Jno. St. Clair or Governor Sharpe, the Work (with what few we have) I hope may be near finishd. Rum too, I fear, will be a scarce article with us.

Pray what will be done with the company of Byrd’s Regiment ordered to take post at Edwards’s and Pearsalls? Shall they continue there, or join their Regiment? I left, in consequence of your Orders, an Officer and thirty Men Invalids at Fort Loudoun Edition: current; Page: [42] for safety of the stores, &c., lodgd there, and also a sergeant and 12 at Pearsalls, to secure that Post and keep open the Road for Expresses (for no more can be expected from so small a Command). Byrd, I hope, will leave 6 or 8 of his invalids or bad Men at Edwards’s, for the same purpose.

There came 28 wagons to this place with me, and I believe, if they were wanted, 10 more might be had upon the South Branch, strong and good; but carrying-Horses are certainly more eligible for the service we are destind.

I have used my best endeavors to get my men equipd with Powder Horns and Shott Pouches, and have procured 330 of the former and 339 of the latter; besides the Linnen ones, with which we are compleated.

I have received a very scanty allowance of Tents for the 5 companies with me, vizt., sixty-nine only. Out of these most of the officers must be supplied, or lye uncoverd. They will readily pay for what they receive, if requird. No Bell Tents were sent to us.

My men are very bare of cloaths (Regimentals, I mean), and I have no prospect of a Supply. This want so far from my regretting during this campaign, that were I left to pursue my own Inclinations, I woud not only order the Men to adopt the Indian dress, but cause the Officers to do it also, and be the first to set the example myself. Nothing but the uncertainty of its taking with the General1 causes me to hesitate a moment at leaving my Regimentals at this Edition: current; Page: [43] place, and proceeding as light as any Indian in the Woods. ’T is an unbecoming dress, I confess, for an officer; but convenience, rather than shew, I think, shoud be consulted. The reduction of Bat Horses alone is sufficient to recommend it; for nothing is more certain than that less baggage will be requird, and that the Publick will be benefited in proportion.

I was desirous of being thus full in my Letter to you. How far it may be consistent with good Policy, as there is at least a possibility of its falling into the Enemy’s hands, I know not; but I shall be directed in these affairs by you.1

George Washington
Washington, George
7 July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



Colo. Byrd with eight companies of his Regt. arriv’d here yesterday. He left many sick Men behind him, as may be seen by the enclosed report; which, with the company he posted at Edward’s and Pearsalls, reduces our strength considerably.

I am a good deal at a loss, therefore, to know how to act for the best, as your last orders for joining you at Rays Town were not positive, and seemed to be given on a supposition that Mr. Walker either coud not, or was not to supply us with Provisions here. Your doubts will in some measure be obviated when you see Mr. Walker’s Letter to me on this head, and the returns of our Provisions, which I now Edition: current; Page: [44] send. If this, therefore, was your motive for desiring a Garrison to be left at this place, and for me to march on to Rays Town with the remainder of the Virginia Troops, you will, I presume, countermand our march to that place, for the following reasons: first, because 300 men may I think, open the Communication to Rays Town with safety, and with much greater ease and convenience, than if our whole Body marches on incumbered with a number of Wagons. Secondly, it will, if the army is obliged to take this route,1 as I am told from all hands it certainly must, prevent the fatigues2 of a Counter-march to Men and Horses just going upon Service. Thirdly, it will afford us an opportunity of lodging our Provisions and Stores here, while the Wagons may return for another Convoy, and save by that means the great expense of transporting them to there and back again, if we should not be able to proceed from thence.3 And fourthly, Colo. Byrd assures me that the Indians with him absolutely refuse to march any other road than this they know.4

I was advised to hint these matters5 to you and wait6 the result of your answer before I put the whole7 in motion. Whatever you direct8 under these circumstances I shall9 execute with the greatest punctuality and Expedition in my power. I enclose return of the No. of waggons now at this place, that you may be judge10 of the Expense.

Edition: current; Page: [45]

Captn. Dagworthy telling me that Governor Sharpe is to open the Road to the Town Creek (which is within 15 miles of this place) and as Maryland has near 200 Men here fit for Duty, I hope you will be of opinion that they are sufficiently strong to proceed on the Fort Frederick Road without needing a reinforcement from us; especially if you will please to consider at the same time that they are in a manner coverd by the Troops at this place, and those which may be employd on the Road to Rays Town, on which I shall send a detachment to work tomorrow.1

I had wrote thus far when your Letter of yesterday came to hand. As we lye so contiguous, and can hear in so short a time from you, I shall only be preparing to obey your Orders, but shall not actually march till I hear from you again.2

A pretty good stock of Liquor came up with the last convoy. We have no Hay at this place; ’twas corn I calld forage. We shall have Tools sufficient for opening the Road to Rays Town among the artificers of Colo. Byrd’s Regiment, and I enclose a list of what is here, belonging to Maryland, that you may be able to judge of their wants.

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I am sorry to hear that the Cattawbas have so egregiously misbehaved. When I write to Govr. Fauquier, which I expect may be in a few days I shall touch on this subject.1

George Washington
Washington, George
July 13th, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



Abt. 4 Oclock this afternoon—after I had closed my letter to you—I received information3 that two men were killed and a third taken prisoner on the Road about a mile from this place. I got the Indians to go,4 and sent a command of 50 men immediately to the spot, where they took the Track of six Indians and followed them till near dark, when the Indians returned, as did our party also.

They discovered that one of the men5 killed was a soldr. of the second regiment, and that the other two were herds6 going to our7 grass guards in the most careless,8 straggling, manner, contrary to repeated, and positive orders given to prevent small parties9 stragling from camp.10

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The mischief was done abt. 8 this morning—Our discovery of it1 too late to give us a chance to overtake2 the enemy—I thought it advisable, nevertheless, to give you Intelligence3 that the enemy are about, and that I expect we shall be pester’d with their parties4 all this morn,5 haunting our camps, and watching our motions.

I have apprizd Colo. Mercer, Captn. Dagworthy and all our out parties of this murder, that they may be strictly6 upon their guard marching—and vigilant in their Camps.

The Inclosd I this instant received from Captn. Dagworthy—If it is not in your power to afford him assistance7—tis entirely out of mine to do it.

P. S. Captn. Bosomworth &c, are safely arrivd here; he and Colo. Byrd join me in their compliments.8

George Washington
Washington, George
13th July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



Your favor of the 11th by Doctr. Johnston, I had the pleasure to receive the same day—nothing extraordinary since my last has occurr’d.

By a party from Colo. Mercer to this place for provisions I find, they have opend the road only 6 miles; and that they proceed much slower in this service than I expected: this possibly may arise from the pains they take to make the road9 good, and from the Edition: current; Page: [48] width of it (30 feet), which I directed, that two waggons might conveniently go a brest.—If you don’t open on your side in this manner, I shoud be obligd to you to direct1 Colo.2 Mercer otherwise,3—as it will be useless to have one part wide and the other narrow.4

It gave5 me great pleasure to find you approv’d6 of the dress I have put my men into. I have really done it from a good intention.7 Caprice and whim had no share in causing of it—on the contrary,8 ’t is evident I think, that soldiers in such a dress9 are better able to carry their provisions; are fitter for the active Service we are engaged10 in; and less liable to sink under the fatigues of a long11 march, besides the advantages of contracting, by this means, our Line of march which must extend always in proportion as we are incumber’d with carriages or horses.12

I have heard nothing from Captn. Dagworthy since he marched; but expect the waggons are at Winchester by this time that I dispatched the same day.13—I beg pardon for the liberty I have taken in recommending a letter for Majr. Halket to your care.

Edition: current; Page: [49]
George Washington
Washington, George
16 July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



I was favored with yours of the 14th instant, at eleven o’clock last night. The express, who brought it, informs me, that he was fired at twice by six Indians, and obliged to abandon his horse.

There have three parties gone from hence towards the enemy’s country within these few days. The largest of them, (consisting of an officer and eighteen Cherokees,) marched three days ago. I always send out some white people1 with the Indians, and will, to-day or to-morrow, send an officer and some alert2 white men with another party of Cherokees, as you desire it; tho’, I must confess, that I think these scalping parties of Indians we send out will more effectually harass the enemy, (by keeping them under continual alarms,) than any parties of white people can do; as small parties of ours3 are not equal to the undertaking, (not being so dexterous at skulking as Indians;) and large ones will be discovered by their scalping parties4 early enough to give the enemy time to repel them by5 a superior force. And, at all events, a6 great probability of losing many of our best men, and fatiguing many more,7 before the most essential services are8 entered on, and am afraid, not answer the proposed end.9

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You are pleased to desire my opinion with regard to1 making an irruption into the enemy’s country with a strong party. As such an enterprise, at this juncture, when we may suppose the enemy have,2 or are collecting, their principal3 force in that vicinity,4 would require a formidable party, the supplying of which with provisions, etc., immediately might be difficult and the march of such a body so considerable a distance must be discovered, as they have parties continually watching our motions, which would too probably terminate in the miscarriage of the enterprise and perhaps the destruction of our party. I should think it more eligible to defer it, till the army reaches pretty near that country.

I shall direct the officer, that marches towards the enemy, to be at particular pains in reconnoitring General Braddock’s road, tho I have had repeated accounts of it wanting such small repairs, as can with ease be done as fast as the army can march. It is impossible for me to send out any men to repair it, as Colo. Mercer and Captn. Dagworthy got every tool for that purpose I had. If we had tools, to go upon the roads, the second company of artificers would no doubt be wanted here; but, as it is, I imagine they will be better employed with you.

The malbehaviour of the Indians gives me great concern.5 If they were hearty in our interest, their Edition: current; Page: [51] services would be infinitely valuable. As I cannot conceive the best white men to be equal to them in the woods. But I fear they are too sensible of their high importance to us, to render us any very acceptable service.

As the par of exchange between Virginia and Pennsylvania is, by the laws of the two provinces, settled at twenty-five per cent in favor of the former, I apprehend we can have no right to settle on any other footing; especially as any material deviation therefrom might be productive of very bad consequences.

Since writing the above, the warriors of the party of Cherokees insisted on marching instantly, and that but one white man should go. They are gone, and I have given the white man the necessary orders relative to the roads, &c.

Inclosed is a return of our provisions; since which was made out the Marylanders drew for 200 men for ten days. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
19 July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



Your obliging favor of this date I just now had the pleasure of receiving. You make me quite happy by your coinciding with me, relative to the proposed expedition.

Captain Dagworthy’s party returned hither yesterday in consequence of orders from Sir John St. Clair, Edition: current; Page: [52] forwarded by the commanding officer at Fort Frederick. I have directed him to finish a bridge at this place, which I imagine he will effect by to-morrow night; with his tools I will next day send out a party on General Braddock’s road, which I shall be able to reinforce when Colonel Mercer returns.1

I am excessively obliged by the very handsome and polite manner, by which you are pleased to give me leave to attend the election at Winchester. Tho’ my being there on that occasion would, at any other time, be very agreeable to me, yet at this juncture I can hardly persuade myself to think of being absent from my more immediate duty, even for a few days. However, I will not come to any absolute determination in this matter, till I receive answers to some letters on that subject, (which I expect this night or to-morrow).2 I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [53]
George Washington
Washington, George
July 20, 1758
Martha Custis
Custis, Martha


We have begun our march for the Ohio. A courier is starting for Williamsburg, and I embrace the opportunity to send a few words to one whose life is now inseparable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as another Self. That an all-powerful Providence may keep us both in safety is the prayer of your ever faithful and affectionate friend.1

Edition: current; Page: [54]
George Washington
Washington, George
21 July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



Before Colonel Stephen came to this place last night I had abandoned all thoughts of attending personally at the election in Winchester, determining rather to leave the management of that matter to my friends, than be absent from my regiment, when there is a probability of its being called upon. I am now much pleased, that I did do so. Colonel Byrd has given me your letter of yesterday, in consequence, I send you a return of the forage. And he writes to Mr. Gist, concerning vermilion for the Indians.

We participate in the joy felt for the success of his Majesty’s arms at Louisburg, &c, but sincerely lament the loss of that brave and active nobleman Lord Howe.

We have got the bridge finished at this place, and to-morrow Major Peachy, with three hundred men, proceed to open General Braddock’s road. I shall direct their going to George’s Creek, ten miles advanced. By that time I may possibly hear from you. If they go farther, it may be requisite to reinforce the party. But this matter, I suppose, will be ordered according to the route determined on by the General, for it will be needless to open a road that no use is made of.1

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Colonel Stephen gives me some room to apprehend, that a body of light troops may soon move on. I pray your interest, most heartily, with the General, to get my regiment and myself included in the number. If there needs any argument to obtain this favor, I hope without vanity I may be allowed to say, that, from long intimacy and scouting in these woods, my men are as well acquainted with all the passes and difficulties, as any troops that will be employed, and therefore may answer any purpose intended by them, as well as any other body.

The General directs, that the troops be provided with covers to their locks. Where to get these I know not. There is but one possible way of succeeding, and that is, by taking the neat hides, and these will fall short. The commissaries ask eighteen shillings apiece for them. I should be glad of your advice in this case, as also, what will be done with the wagons expected up in our next convoy. I cannot say exactly what number there may be of them, but suppose the provisions, forage, and stores, cannot employ less than fifty.

Please to offer my compliments to Mr. Glen, & forward a letter herewith sent to Majr. Halket.

George Washington
Washington, George
25 July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry


Dear Sir,

I wrote to you by Colonel Stephen. Since which I have been favored with your kind and obliging letter of yesterday.

Edition: current; Page: [56]

We have received advice, that our second convoy of seventy-odd waggons (an account of the contents of which I enclosed you yesterday,) will be at the South Branch to-day; where I expect they will be joined by some waggons with forage, the number I can not ascertain and will all proceed to this place immediately. On friday I shall look for them. I shall most chearfully work on any road, pursue any route; or enter upon any Service, that the General or yourself may think me usefully employed in, or qualified for; and shall never have a will of my own when a Duty is required of me. But since you desire me to speak my sentiments freely, permit me to observe, that, after having conversed with all the Guides, and having been informed by others who have knowledge of the country that a road to be compared with Genl. Braddocks (or indeed that will be fit for transportation even by pack horses) cannot be made, I own I have no predilection for the route which you have in contemplation for me; (not because difficulties appear therein,) but because I doubt the giving satisfaction in the execution of the plan.

I know not what reports you may have received from your reconnoitring Parties; but I have been uniformly told that if you expect a tolerable road by Rays Town you will be disappointed; for no movement can be made that way, without destroying our horses.

I should be extremely glad of one hour’s conference with you when the General arrives; I would then explain myself more fully, and I think I could Edition: current; Page: [57] demonstrate the advantages of pushing out a body of light troops on this Quarter.

I would make a trip to Rays Town with great pleasure, if my absence here could be dispensed for a day or two, of which you can best judge.

We shall want no Provisions from you. The second convoy, added to what we have, will furnish us with a tolerably good stock. If Major Livingston, or any other officer at this place, draws more than one ration, it is contrary to orders, and without my knowledge, and must be attributed to the Commissary whose fault alone it must be in delivering it. We have been obliged, for the sake of our Cattle, to move the grass guard to Cresaps, 15 miles hence. There the provision is slaughtered and served to the guard, and to the troops of light-horse (also at that place.) It is therefore necessary that Mr. Dow, or an attendant of the Commissary, should be present and see to the issuing of it.

There were two Commissaries at this place, beside a numberless train of butchers, herdsmen, &c., so immensely lazy, that I was under the necessity of ordering some of them to attend the guard; for the Commissaries looking upon cattle to be at the King’s risque, were quite indifferent what became of them, and of course gave themselves no trouble about them.

I send you a return of Colonel Byrd’s Regiment, and of the Maryland troops at this place. I should have done the same with respect to the first Regiment, had not the adjutant accompanied Colo. Edition: current; Page: [58] Stephen to Rays Town and locked it up. I can only send one for the companies here present, and this is forwarded to him, that it may be completed there for your use.

Kelly & Stalnaker (two of our guides) are on the road with Major Peachy. The rest at this place, I have directed to attend you. It would be extremely inconvenient for me at this time to Garrison the Block-house on the Rays Town road having such large detachments already out, and the camp-duty very hard upon us. I am, &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
29th July, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Gabriel Jones
Jones, Gabriel


Dear Sir,

Permit me to return you my sincerest thanks for your great assistance at the late election, and to assure you that I shall ever return a lively sense of the favor. I am extreme sorry that you neglected your own election in Augusta by this means, but I hope you are secure in Hampshire.

Our expedition seems overcast with too many Ills to give you any satisfaction in a transient relation of them. God knows what’s intended; for nothing seems ripe for execution; backwardness, and I would if I dare, say more, appears in all things.

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Tomorrow I am summon’d to a conference with Colonel Bouquet on the Ray’s Town Road, when I shall warmly urge the advanced Season and every other argument that the Important matter requires to hurry things forward and shall endeavor to obtain leave (if possible) to advance on with the Virginians to the crossing at least, opening the Road & constructing Posts as we go. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
July, 1758
James Wood
Wood, James


My Dear Colonel,

If thanks flowing from a heart replete with joy and Gratitude can in any Measure compensate for the fatigue, anxiety and Pain you had at my Election, be assured you have them; ’tis a poor, but I am convinced, welcome tribute to a generous Mind. Such, I believe yours to be.

How I shall thank Mrs. Wood for her favorable Wishes, and how acknowledge my sense of obligations to the People in general for their choice of me, I am at a loss to resolve on. But why? Can I do it more effectually than by making their Interest (as it really is) my own, and doing everything that lyes in my little Power for the Honor and welfare of the Country? I think not; and my best endeavors they may always command. I promise this now, when promises may be regarded, before they might pass as words of course.

I am extreme thankful to you and my other friends for entertaining the Freeholders in my name. I hope Edition: current; Page: [60] no Exception was taken to any that voted against me, but that all were alike treated, and all had enough. It is what I much desired. My only fear is that you spent with too sparing a hand.

I don’t like to touch upon our Public Affairs. The Prospect is overspread by too many ills to give a favourable account. I will, therefore, say little, but yet say this; that backwardness appears in all things but the approach of winter—That joggs on apace.1

George Washington
Washington, George
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry


Dear Sir,

You will be surprisd (till I give you a reason for it) at receiving a letter from a person in the same camp with you, and who has free access at all times to your tent.—But when I tell you that we were interrupted while conversing on a very important matter, and that I did not certainly know whether I might have another opportunity of renewing the conversation till you had some how or other settled the point with the General, I flatter myself you will excuse the freedom I now beg leave to use with you. I don’t doubt, Sir, but you have thoroughly considered the practicability of the scheme you this night mentioned to me and the good or evil consequences to be derived there from, according to its success—It Edition: current; Page: [61] might therefore seem unreasonable to offer the following crude thoughts, did I not believe you are desirous of hearing opinions, at least on this occasion.

How far then do you believe our stock of provisions—to say nothing of other matters—will allow you to execute this plan? Will it last ’till we could reduce Fort Duquesne and march back to the inhabitants—or receive a supply elsewhere?—If it would do this, the measure may be right; but if it will not, what is the consequence? Is it not neglecting the strengthening of this place, consuming the provisions that should support a garrison here, and abandoning our artillery either to the enemy or a general destruction? It appears to me in that light.

Now suppose the enemy gives us a meeting in the field and we put them to the route, what do we gain by it? Perhaps triple their loss of men in the first place, tho’ our numbers may be greatly superior (and if I may be allowed to judge from what I have seen of late, we should not highten much that “good” opinion they seem to have of our skill in wood fighting). Therefore to risk an engagement when so much depends upon it, without having the accomplishment of the main point in view, appears in my Eye, to be a little imprudent—Could we suppose the Enemy would immediately evacuate their Fort in case of a defeat in the wood,—or, as I before observd, could we be certain of provisions in the other event, I think not a moment’s time is left for hesitation. But one or t’other of these we ought to be assurd of. You, I am sensible, stand very little in need of any of these Edition: current; Page: [62] suggestions,—which are thrown together in haste, as I waited ’till this moment almost, expecting to see you. You will at least pardon this liberty, and believe me to be, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
2 August, 1758
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry



Those matters we talked of relative to the Roads, has since our parting been the object of my closest attention; and so far am I from altering my opinion, that the more time and attention I give thereto, the more I am confirmed in it; the validity of the reasons for taking the old road appear in a stronger point of view. To enumerate the whole of these reasons would be tedious—and to you who are become so much master of that subject, unnecessary; therefore I will only briefly mention a few which I conceive so obvious in themselves, as must to any unbiassed mind effectually remove what is objected to General Braddock’s Road, and urged in favor of a road to be opened from Rays Town.—

Several years ago the Virginians and Pennsylvanians commenced a trade with the Indians settled on the Ohio, and to remove the many inconveniences a bad road subjected them to, they, after reiterated efforts to discover where a good one might be made were found ineffectual, employed several of the most intelligent Indians, who in the course of many years’ hunting acquired a perfect knowledge of Edition: current; Page: [63] these mountains to attempt it. But these Indians after having taken the greatest pains to gain the rewards then offered for this discovery declared the track leading from Wills-Creek was infinitely preferable to any that could be made at any other place. Time and experience so clearly demonstrated this truth, that the Pennsylvania traders commonly carried their goods thither by Will’s Creek. Therefore the Ohio Company in 1753, at a considerable expense opened a road thither. In 1754 the troops I then had the honor to command, greatly repaired it as far as Gist’s Plantation; and in 1755 it was widened, and completed by General Braddock within 6 miles of Fort Duquesne. Consequently, a road that has been so long opened, so well repaired,—and so often, must be much firmer, and better than a new one, allowing the ground to be originally, equally as good.

But supposing it was practicable to make a road from Rays Town quite as good as General Braddock’s, I ask if we have time to do it?—Certainly not. Surmounting the vast difficulties to be encountered, in making it over such monstrous mountains, covered with woods and rocks, would require so much time as to blast our otherwise well grounded hopes of striking the long wished for, and important stroke this season; and deferring it, to another year, would, I am morally certain be productive of the most destructive consequences to the Southern, and middle colonies; for they have to make a noble push towards ending those calamities under which they so long have groaned; granted supplies, beyond their abilities—these Edition: current; Page: [64] funds will, in a few months be exhausted, the troops of course disbanded,—their inability and discouragement from so great a disappointment, will prevent their attempting a similar effort against another season; and experience evinces that expence and numbers, must be encreased in proportion to our delays.

The Southern Indians have from our bad success and inactivity, long looked upon us in a despicable light, have already committed hostilities on our frontiers, and only wait the result of this campaign to unmask themselves; which would be such an acquisition to the enemy as might terminate in our destruction.

The favorable accounts some give, of the forage on the Rays Town road being so much better than the other, are certainly exaggerated greatly, as every unprejudiced person who is acquainted with both, agrees that the only difference between the mountains here and there is, that those are more inaccessible. And it is well known that in both, the rich valleys between the mountains abound with good food, and those that are stony and brushy are destitute. Col. Byrd and the Engineer who accompanied him confirm this truth. And surely the meadows on this road, would greatly overbalance the advantage of having grass to the foot of the ridge (on this side the mountain) on the Rays Town Road; and all agree that a more barren road is no where to be found than Rays Town to the inhabitants, which is likewise to be considered with the badness of the road.

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And the principal objection made to General Braddock’s Road is that of the waters to pass. But these very rarely swell so much as to obstruct the passage. The Yaughyaughgane which is the most rapid and soonest filled, I, with a body of troops, have crossed after 30 odd days almost constant rain. In fine, any difficulties that may arise therefrom are so trivial, that they are really not worth mentioning. The Monongahela, the largest of all these rivers, may, if necessary, be easily avoided (as Mr. Frazer, the principal guide,) informed me, by passing a defile, which I cannot conceive to be so bad as commonly represented; but even that he tells me may be shunned.

It is said again, that there are many defiles on this road—I grant there are some, but know of none that cannot be traversed if found necessary; and I should be glad to know if a road can be had over these mountains not subject to this inconvenience—unless they kept the heights always,—and that is impracticable.

The shortness of the road from Rays Town to Fort Duquesne by Loyal hanny,1 is used as an argument in disfavor of this road; and bears some thing in it unaccountable to me, for I must beg leave to ask here, if it requires more time, or is it more difficult and expensive, to go 145 miles in a good road already made to our hands, or to cut a road 100 miles in length, great part of which over almost inaccessible mountains,—and,—to say, or think, we can do nothing Edition: current; Page: [66] more this fall than to fortify some post on the other side of the mountains, and prepare against another campaign—I must pray Heaven, most fervently, to avert! till we find it impracticable at least to prosecute with prudence the enterprise in hand. We have yet time enough to transport Provisions to last the siege, and to support the Troops that may Winter there, as I shall endeavor hereafter to shew,—at any rate it never can be an argument for opening the other road at this time, because supposing we are not able to do more than construct a Post on t’other side the mountains—that Post undoubtedly should be on a road that has the easiest, and nearest communication with the settlements, where supplies are to be drawn from; for to say nothing of the great advantage of water carriage this way, which certainly is immense, (as you will find by Doctr. Ross’s estimation that you shewed me) or of the infinite odds in the goodness of the Roads, which is very evident to all who have travelled both,—either from the inhabitants to the advanced posts, or from the advanced posts to Fort Duquesne,—I say, to put these reasons aside, (altho’ they ought to have their due weight,) yet this way, as being so much nearer the settlements has much advantage.—That it is nearer Winchester in Virginia, and Fort Frederick, in Maryland, by many miles, are incontestable facts: and I here shew the difference of the two roads to Carlyle; by giving you the distance of the different stages; some of which I have from information only, but believe them to be just:—

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From Carlyle to Fort Duquesne, by Rays Town.
From Carlyle to Shippensburg 21 miles.
From Shippensg to Fort Loudoun 24 miles.
From Ft. Loudoun to Ft. Lyttleton 20 miles.
From Ft. Lyttleton to Juneattasing 14 miles.
From Juneatta to Rays Town 14 miles.
From Rays Town to Ft. Duquesne 100
From Carlyle to Ft. Duquesne by Ft. Fredk. and Cumberland.
From Carlyle to Shippensg 21 miles.
From Shippensg to Chambers 12 miles.
From Chambers to Paulins 12 miles.
From Paulins to Ft. Frederick 12 miles.
From Ft. Fredk. to Ft. Cumberland 40 miles.
From Ft. Cumberland to Ft. Duquesne 115

By this computation there appears to be a difference of 19 miles only. Were all the supplies obliged to come from Carlyle, it is well known that the goodness of this road is a sufficient compensation for the shortness of the other, as the wrecked and broken waggons there clearly demonstrate.

I shall next give you my Reasons against dividing the Army in the manner you propose, and after that endeavor to shew how the grass on the other Road can be made proper use of.

First then, by dividing our Army we divide our strength, and by pursuing quite distinct routes put it entirely out of the power of each division to succor the other, as the proposed new Road, has no communication with the old.

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Secondly, to march in this manner will be attended with many inconveniences. As, first, if we depart from our advanced posts at the same time, and make no deposits by the way; those troops who go from Rays Town, as they will be light, having carrying horses only, will arrive at Fort Duquesne long before the others; and must, if the enemy are strong there, be expos’d possibly to many insults in their intrenchments from the cannon of the enemy, which they may draw out upon them at their pleasure: if they are not strong enough to do this to that Division, we have but little to apprehend from them, go which way, or how we will. Thirdly, if that division that escorts the convoy is permitted to march first, we risk our all in a manner, and are ruined if any accident happened to the artillery, to the stores, &c. And lastly, if we advance on both roads by deposites, we must double our number of troops over the mountains, and distress ourselves by victualling of them in these deposites: besides losing the proposed advantage, that of stealing a march. For we cannot suppose the French, who have their Scouts constantly out, can be so difficult in point of intelligence, as to be unacquainted with our motions when we are advancing by slow degrees towards them.

Now, Sir, the advantage I would propose to make of the forage along the other path is, to support all the carrying horses that can possibly be collected, and sent that way after we are fortunate enough to lie before Fort Duquesne. Here not only the carrying horses that were to be used out as such, but Edition: current; Page: [69] officers’ horses, and even the waggon horses also, may be employed in this service, if saddles or packs are provided in the meantime at Rays Town for them to return with.

Great advantages may be derived from such a measure, because as the food of the old road would be entirely eaten up going, and the horses get weak, it would be impossible that the waggons could return for another convoy: tho’ the horses might nevertheless be in a condition to come down light, along a road abounding with food, and be able to carry up another convoy, giving them two or three days rest at the most convenient feeding places. By this means the waggon horses would be eased of the fatigue of bringing down even the empty waggons, which is something along a Road stripped of the food. In the condition the horses by this time may be supposed to be, they will, I conceive, carry near or quite as much weight on their back as they could draw in a waggon.

From what has been said relative to the two roads, it appears, I think very clearly, that the old one is infinitely better than the other can be made; and, that there is no room to hesitate a moment which to take, when we consider the advanced Season, and little time left to execute our plan in. I shall therefore in the last place offer (as desired,) my sentiments on advancing by deposites; the first of which I should have been for getting at the Little Meadows, would time have permitted; but, as the case now stands, I suppose at the Great Crossing, or Great Edition: current; Page: [70] Meadows our first must be formed. The Great Crossing I esteem the most advantageous post on several accounts, especially that of water, and security of the passage; but then it does not abound in food as the Great Meadows, nor has not so much level land about it fit for culture.

To this latter place a body of 1500 men may march with 300 waggons or carrying horses (which would be much better,) equivalent. Allowing each waggon to carry 800 lbs of flour, and 400 of Salt meat, you carry 40 days’ provisions of the former, and 20 of the latter for 6000 men; besides your live Cattle, any number of which might, but ought not to be carried for these two reasons: first, they would destroy your pasturage—and next your men being employed at work, you would have none to attend or guard them. Your next convoy, which I suppose to consist of 500 provision waggons and all the Army, will, at the above rate, carry 66 days’ provisions of flour, and 33 of salt flesh, besides 6 days which the men may carry on their backs; as it is supposed the 1500 are to do also, so that you have at the Meadows according to this calculation, 113 days’ Flour, and 56 salt meat, deducting the daily consumption. Now, to accomplish this, I allow 26 days; to wit: to the Great Meadows 8, to unload and return 6; then I allow the army 12 days more to prepare and arrive in; by which I apprehend our works may be finished, and the whole ready to proceed.

Our next deposite probably will be at Salt Lick, about 35 miles from the Meadows. To this place I Edition: current; Page: [71] conceive it necessary to send 2500 men to construct some post; taking 6 days’ provisions only, which are sufficient to serve them till the convoy comes up; against which time I suppose an Intrenched camp, or some other kind of defensible work, may be effected. And from hence I conceive it highly expedient to detach 3000 or 4000 of the best troops to invest the place, and prevent if possible an ingagement in the woods, which of all things ought to be avoided. The Artillery and stores may be up from Salt Lick in four days, and from that time I will allow 18 days more for the carrying horses to perform a trip to Rays Town for provisions; passing along the old path by Loyal hanny. In this time they may do it; as the horses will go down light; but what quantity of provisions they can bring up, I cannot say, that depending upon the number of horses fitted out with saddles, &c.

From this state of the matter (which is really a candid one) and from my calculations, in which large allowances are made for the quantity of provisions, as well as for the time of transporting them; it appears, that from the time the front division begins its march from hence, till the whole army gets before Fort Duquesne, is 34 days, at which time there will be 87 days’ provisions on hand, allowing for the consumption on the march; and that 18 days added to this make 52 in all; which is required for our operations, and these ought to be finished if possible by the middle of October.

I have offered nothing, but what to me appears Edition: current; Page: [72] beyond a probability. I have nothing to fear but for the general service, and no hopes but the advantages it will derive from the success of our operations; therefore cannot be supposed to have any private interest or sinister views, by any freedom my regard for the benefit of the service on this occasion has induced me to use. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
2 August, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Francis Halket
Halket, Francis


My dear Halket,

I am just returned from a conference held with Colonel Bouquet. I find him fixed, I think I may say unalterably fixed, to lead you a new way to the Ohio, thro a road, every inch of which is to be cut at this advanced season, when we have scarce time left to tread the beaten track, universally confessed to be the best passage through the mountains.

If Colonel Bouquet succeeds in this point with the General, all is lost,—all is lost indeed! Our enterprise will be ruined, and we shall be stopped at the Laurel Hill this winter; but not to gather laurels, (except of the kind that covers the mountains.) The southern Indians will turn against us, and these colonies will be desolated by such an acquisition to the enemy’s strength. These must be the consequences of a miscarriage; and a miscarriage the (almost) necessary consequence of an attempt to march the army by this new route. I have given my reasons at large to Colonel Bouquet. He desired that I should Edition: current; Page: [73] do so, that he might forward them to the General. Should this happen, you will be able to judge of their weight.

I am uninfluenced by prejudice, having no hopes or fears but for the general good. Of this you may be assured, and that my sincere sentiments are spoke on this occasion. I am, dear Halket, most affectionately yours.

George Washington
Washington, George
5th August, 1758
Fort Cumberland
Governor Fauquier
Governor Fauquier


Honble. Sir,

Your favor of the 20th ultimo I was honored with the day before yesterday. I am sorry to find that Mr. Smith has not sent you a return of the arms, nor Mr. Ramsay a return of the Provisions. I will write to both those gentlemen to know the reason. Enclosed is a Return of the first Regiment.

I have delayed till now, purposely since my last of the 10th ultimo, to give your Honor any account of our movements, hoping to be furnished with something agreeable. Being disappointed in this, I am sorry to inform you that we are still encamped here, and have little prospect of de-camping, unless a fatal resolution takes place, of opening a new road from Rays Town to Fort du Quesne. In this event, I have no doubt that the Virginia troops will be honored with a full share of the labor as they have already been, in opening a communication from hence to Rays Town, and doing the principal part of the work at that place.

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I am just returned from a conference held with Colo. Bouquet on this occasion, the General lying indisposed at Carlyle. In this conference I urged in the most forcible terms I was master of, the advanced season as an argument against new discoveries. I pressed also the difficulties attending the cutting a road over these mountains,—known to me from experience; the length of time it must require to do it; the little time left for that Service; the moral certainty of its obstructing our march, beyond what the advanced Season will admit—and the probable miscarriage of the Expedition from that cause, and lastly I endeavored to represent the distressed condition the Colonies would be reduced to consequent thereon. In fine I said every thing which the importance of the subject suggested to me, to avert a measure that seemed to forebode the manifest ruin of the Expedition.

This is the light in which it presents itself to my mind. I pray Heaven my fears may not be realized! But the thoughts of opening a Road 100 miles, over mountains almost inaccessible, at this advanced Season, when there is already a good road made,—A road universally confessed to be the best that either is or can be found anywhere thro’ these mountains, prognosticates something not quite favorable.

I have now drawn up a representation of real Facts to be presented to the General; in which I think the advantages of going the old road, and moral certainty of failing in the new are so clearly demonstrated that they must strike every unbiassed mind.

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The Small-pox getting among the Troops, is another unpromising circumstance. An officer and two men of my regiment are now confined with it at Rays Town.

From this short narrative of our affairs your Honor may draw conclusions. You may depend the statement is true; free from exaggerations and flowing from a mind deeply affected at the prospect before us. I hope, as I once before said, that I see matters in too strong a point of view, and, that my apprehensions for the consequences of opening a new road, are groundless. I am, &c.

P. S. I was this moment presented with a letter from Colo. Bouquet telling me, that the General had directed the other road to be opened. I expect therefore to be ordered that way immediately.

Orders are not yet arrived.

George Washington
Washington, George
6th August, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry


Dear Sir,

The General’s orders,—or the order of any Superior Officer will, when once given, be a law to me. I shall never hesitate in obeying them; but, till this order came out, I thought it incumbent upon me to say what I could to divert you (the Commanding Officer present) from a resolution of opening a new road, of which I had the most unfavorable reports, and believe from the hight of the hills,—the steepness of them, the unevenness of the ground in general,—and Edition: current; Page: [76] what above all principally weighed with me the shortness of the Season, that it was impossible to open a road in time to answer our purpose. I am still in this opinion, partly from my own observations of the country, and partly from the information of as good judges as any that will be employed.1 My duty therefore to his Majesty, and the Colony whose troops I have the honor to command, obliged me to declare my sentiments upon the occasion with that candor and freedom of which you are witness. If I am deceived in my opinion, I shall acknowledge my error as becomes a gentleman led astray from judgment, and not by prejudice, in opposing a measure so conducive to the public Weal as you seem to have conceived this to be. If I unfortunately am right, my conduct will acquit me of having discharged my duty on this important occasion; on the good success of which, our all, in a manner depends.2

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I have repaired the road over the mountain at this place as Sir Jno. St. Clair desired. I had also sent the 2nd company of artificers to make bridges on the Rays Town road, according to your orders transmitted Edition: current; Page: [78] by Colo. Stephen to me.—’Twas yesterday before I could get them in, and to-day they march.

Nineteen waggons came here yesterday loaded with Ball (musket Ball), from Fort Frederick; 18 more left their loads at the Old Town, and are gone back.—The first 19 wagons and an escort are gone to bring up their load, and will be here to-day. I can’t send you a return of the contents having received none.

The waggoners are constantly applying for grain. I should be glad if you would direct how I am to act in this case.

Inclosed is a return of provisions wanting to serve us till our next convoy arrives from Winchester. We have not above 5 days flour upon hand. I shall therefore send the waggons to Rays Town to-morrow for this article, &c., after they return from the old Town.

Twelve Tents was the number I returned for, and they are arrived safe.

If you approve of it, I would send 50 men the length of the great ring to way lay the road thereabouts; I think it the most eligible method of getting a prisoner for intelligence. The enemy are watchful when they are near our garrisons, and it is too far and unsafe to bring one from their own.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
18th Augt., 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry


Dear Sir,

I am favored with yours of yesterday, intimating the probability of my proceeding with a body of troops on General Braddock’s road, and desiring my retaining for that purpose, a month’s provisions at this place, a thing which I should be extreme fond of, but as I cannot possibly know what quantity of provisions may be necessary for that time, without knowing the number of men I may probably march with, and when it is likely we may leave this, I hope you will be pleased to give me the necessary information on this head. As also how this place is to be garrisoned, and what provisions and stores should be left.

I have talked a good deal with Kelly upon the nature of the intervening ground, from the new road to Braddock’s, and from what he says I apprehend it impracticable to effect a junction with the troops on the new Road till we advance near the Salt Lick, which is no great distance from Fort Duquesne. And how far it may be advisable to send a small body of troops so near the enemy at so great a distance from the army without any kind of tools (which is certainly our case) for repairing the roads, or throwing up any kind of defence in case of need, I shall not presume to say, but I cannot help observing, that all the guides and Indians are to be drawn Edition: current; Page: [80] from hence, and that the greatest part of my regiment is on the other road; so that I have but few remaining with me of the first regiment, and 8 companies of the second only, whose officers and men can be supposed to know little of the Service, and less of the country, and near, or I believe, quite a fifth of them sick. I thought it incumbent on me to mention these things, that you might know our condition; at the same time I beg leave to assure you that nothing will give me greater pleasure than to proceed with any number of men, that the general or yourself may think proper to Order.—

With regard to keeping out a succession of strong parties on this road from the troops here,1 I must beg leave to observe, that we have not so much as one carrying horse to take provisions out upon, being under a necessity t’other day of pressing five horses from some countrymen, (that came to Camp on business,) before I could equip Captn. McKenzie’s party for a 14 days march.2 That we have not an oz. of salt provisions of any kind here, and that it is impossible to preserve the fresh, (especially as we have no Edition: current; Page: [81] salt neither) by any other means than Barbacuring it in the Indian manner; in doing which it loses near a half; so that a party who receives 10 days provisions will be obliged to live on little better than 5 days’ allowance of meat, kind—a thing impracticable. A great many of Colo. Byrd’s men are, as I before remarkd, very sickly, the rest became low spirited and dejected. Of course the greatest share of that service must fall upon the 4 companies of the first regiment. This sickness and depression of spirits, cannot arise I conceive from the situation of our Camp, which is, undoubtedly the most healthy and best aired in this vicinity, but is caused, I apprehend, by the change in their way of living, (most of them till now having lived in ease and affluence,) and by the limestone water and air. The soldrs. of the first would be sickly, like those of the 2d Regiment, was it not owing to some such causes as these.

Captn. McKenzie’s party is not yet returned. I will advertise you of his discoveries, if any are made by him.1

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We have reasons to believe that parties of the enemy are about us likewise. Yesterday afternoon a waggoner had his horse shot under him about three miles from hence.

The convoy from Winchester has been detained much longer than was expected. Mr. Walker desired a party to reinforce the escort at Pearsalls (30 miles distant), the 15th Inst., which was accordingly sent; but I have since been informed that the waggons did not leave Winchester till a few days ago.

We have no Indian goods of any kind here. It gives me great pleasure to hear that the General is getting better and expected soon at Rays Town.1 I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
21st August, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry


Dear Sir,

Thirty2 Cuttawba’s came here this Evening and the Convoy may be expected on Wednesday, as it was at Pearsalls last night.3

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Governor Sharpe I am told will be here in a day or two—I am at a loss to know how he ranks, and whether he is entitled to the command—In the Army he ranks as Lieut. Colonel only—but what his pretentions as Governor in his own Province are, I really don’t know, or whether he has any or not. I should therefore be glad of your advice, being unwilling either to dispute the point wrongfully, or to give up the command to him if it is my right, neither of which I would do knowingly. At all events I shall keep it till I hear from you.1 I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
28th Augt., 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Henry Bouquet
Bouquet, Henry


Dear Sir,

Your favor by Mr. Hoops has in some measure revivd a hope that was almost extinguishd, of doing something this Campaign. We must doubtless expect Edition: current; Page: [84] to encounter many difficulties in opening a new road thro’ bad grounds in a woody country of which the enemy are possest, but since you hope our point may be carried I would feign expect the surmounting these obstacles.

’Tis a melancholy reflection tho’ to find there is even a doubt of success, when so much is depending, and when in all Human probability we might have been in full possession of the Ohio by now, if rather than running ourselves into difficulties and expence of cutting an entire new road the distance we have, first and last Braddock’s had been adopted.

Every one knows what could have been done [on] the old road—few can guess what will be [done on] the new, their being not only the difficulties of the Road to encounter, but the chance of a French reinforcement also, but it is useless to add on this head. I should rather apologise for what I have said.

All the waggons at this place fit for service, come to you under the escort ordered for Mr. Hoops.

Any Troops not of Virginia, shall be forwarded to you according to Order—and I could wish most sincerely that our route was fixed that we might be in motion; for we are all of us most heartily tired, and sick of inactivity. Colo. Byrd in particular is really ill.

Frazer having left this with the Convoy must be with with you e’er now. I am very glad to Edition: current; Page: [85] hear that your artillery pass the Alligany with so much ease.

A letter which Colo. Byrd recd. from the Genl. of the 19th Inst: gives room to imagine that the destination of the Virginia troops will be fixed upon so soon as he arrives at Rays Town, as he there expresses a desire of [seeing] Colo. Byrd and I there immediately.

Mr. Walker was a long time as he enformed me, under doubtful Orders in regard to his purchase of cattle, so that he was obligd at last to pick up what he coud get at a short warning; which is I believe, the real reason of the cattle not having [been] so good as they other wise might be.1 I am, etc.

George Washington
Washington, George
1 September, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
John Robinson
Robinson, John


My Dear Sir,

We are still encamped here, very sickly, and quite dispirited at the prospect before us.2

That appearance of glory, which we had once in view, that hope, that laudable ambition of serving our country, and meriting its applause, are now no more; but dwindled into ease, sloth, and fatal inactivity. In a word, all is lost, if the ways of men in power, like (certain) ways of Providence, are not inscrutable. But why may not? For we, who view the actions of great men at a distance, can only form Edition: current; Page: [86] conjectures agreeably to a limited perception; and, being ignorant of the comprehensive schemes, which may be in contemplation, might mistake egregiously in judging of things from appearances, or by the lump. Yet every fool will have his notions,—will prattle and talk away; and why may not I? We seem then, in my opinion, to act under an evil genii. The conduct of our leaders, (if not actuated by superior orders,) is tempered with something I do not care to give a name to. But I will say they are 1 or something worse to P—j—v—n2 artifice, to whose selfish views I ascribe the miscarriage of this expedition; for nothing now but a miracle can bring this campaign to a happy issue.

In my last, (if I remember rightly,) I told you, that I had employed my small abilities in opposing the measures then concerting. To do this, I not only represented the advanced season, the difficulty of cutting a new road over these mountains, the little time left for that service, the moral certainty of its obstructing our march, and the miscarriage of the expedition consequent thereupon. But I endeavored to represent, also, the great struggle Virginia had made this year in raising a second regiment upon so short a notice, and the great expense of doing it, and her inability for a future exertion in case of need. I spoke my fears concerning the southern Indians, in the event of a miscarriage, and in fine I spoke all unavailingly, for the road was immediately begun, and since then from one to two thousand men have Edition: current; Page: [87] constantly wrought on it. By the last accounts I have received, they had cut it to the foot of Laurel Hill (about thirty-five miles); and I suppose by now fifteen hundred men have taken post at a place called Loyal Hanna, about ten miles further, where our next fort is intended to be constructed.

We have certain intelligence, that the French strength at Fort Duquesne, on the 13th ultimo, did not exceed eight hundred men, Indians included, of whom there appeared to be three or four hundred. This account is corroborated on all hands—two officers of the first Virginia regiment, vizt. Chew and Allen, having come from thence, since that time (both in different parties, and at different times,) after lying a day or two concealed in full view of the fort, and observing the motions and strength of the enemy. See, therefore, how our time has been misspent. Behold how the golden opportunity is lost, perhaps never more to be regained! How is it to be accounted for? Can General Forbes have orders for this? Impossible. Will, then, our injured country pass by such abuses? I hope not. Rather let a full representation of the matter go to his Majesty. Let him know how grossly his glory and interest, and the public money, have been prostituted. I wish I were sent immediately home, as an aid to some other on this errand. I think, without vanity, I could set the conduct of this expedition in its true colors, having taken some pains, perhaps more than any other man, to dive to the bottom of it. But no more.

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Adieu, my dear Sir. It hath long been the luckless fate of Virginia to fall a victim to the views of her crafty neighbors, and yield her honest efforts to promote their common interests, at the expense of much blood and treasure! whilst openness and sincerity have governed her measures. We now can only bewail our prospects, and wish for happier times, but these seem to be at so remote a distance that they are indeed rather to be wished, than expected.

Colonel Byrd, (who is really unwell,) joins me in compliments to you, the Attorney-General, and the rest of our friends.1

George Washington
Washington, George
2d Sept., 1758
Fort Cumberland,
Governor Fauquier
Governor Fauquier


Honble. Sir,

Your favor of the 17th ultimo I had the honor to receive the 30th following. If you are surprized to find us still encamped at this place, I shall only remark, that your surprize can not well exceed my own.

In my last I informed your Honor that a resolution was taken to open a new road from Rays Town to Fort Duquesne—It was instantly begun, and since that time from one to two thousand men have wrought on it continually. They had, by the last accounts I received, cut it to the foot of Laurel-Hill about 35 miles, and I suppose by this time have taken Edition: current; Page: [89] posts at Loyal Hanning 10 miles farther, where I understand another fort is to be built, in which to deposit our provisions.

What time it will require to build a fort at Loyal Hanning, and after that is accomplished, what further time is necessary to cut the road thro’ very rugged grounds to Fort Duquesne (grounds of which the Enemy are actually possessed [of] and know every advantageous post to harass and dispute with us in)—I say what time is required for the completion of all this, I must leave to time, that faithful expositor of Events, to reveal, not caring even to guess at it myself.

The first division of the artillery has passed the Alleghany hill, and I suppose may by now be got up with the advanced working party. The second division, I believe may have marched by this; and they talk of putting all the troops in motion immediately. We have not in our stores at Rays Town two months’ provisions for the army; and if the best judges are to be credited, the nipping frosts will soon destroy the herbage on the mountains; and then, altho’ the communication be not quite stopped, the subsistence for horses is rendered very difficult, till snows and frosts prevent all intercourse with the Ohio; and these set in early in November. The road from Rays-town to Carlyle, whence the provisions and stores chiefly come, [is] perhaps worse than any other on the continent, infinitely worse than any part of the road from hence to Fort Duquesne, along Genl. Braddock’s road, and hath already worn out the greatest Edition: current; Page: [90] part of the horses that have been employed in transporting the provisions, the carriage of which alone, it is said (and I have it from good authority,) stands the Crown upwards of 40 / every hundred weight.

We have certain advices that the French on the 13th ult. had received no new reinforcements at Fort Duquesne, from Canada, and that their total strength at that garrison, could not exceed 800 men, Indians included.

This intelligence is brought by two officers of the first Virginia Regiment, vizt. Chew & Allen—who at different times and in different Parties since the aforesaid 13th have been to Fort Duquesne, and there lay in wait in view of the fort, observing the works and strength for several days. Their accounts exactly agree and have given great satisfaction to the commanding officer at Rays Town (from whence they were sent,) being corroborated by Indian intelligence also, a party of Cherokee’s having been out there, and some Delawares just come in. What a golden opportunity have we lost! but this is past, and I fear irretrievably gone! A party of our Troops (75 in number) is now 40 miles advanced, way-laying the road, from whom I hope a prisoner if the enemy should be passing or re-passing. I sent out also the day before yesterday, a Sergeant and 5 men to Fort Duquesne for intelligence. They will be back in fourteen days. I can give your Honor no satisfactory account of the General. He lay ill at Carlyle a long time of a flux, from thence (gathering a little strength,) he moved to Shippensburgh, where his disorder Edition: current; Page: [91] returned, and where I am told he now is. By a letter received from him the other day, he hopes soon to be at Rays-town, where he desires to see Colo. Byrd and myself. But alas, the Expedition must either stand or fall by the present plan.

In the conference which I had with Colonel Bouquet, and of which I gave your Honor an account in my last, I did, among other things, to avert the resolve of opening a new road, represent the great expence the colony of Virginia had been at to support the War; the charge of raising a second Regiment at so short notice; the time limited for the service of it; and therefore the cruelty of risquing the success of an Expedition upon such precarious measures, when so much depends on it, and our inability to do more. I then expressed my apprehensions of the southern Indians in case of a miscarriage, and the increase of French strength by new alliances; and after this I demonstrated, very clearly (or endeavored so to do,) the time it would take us to proceed on the old road; and at how much less expence, even if we were obliged to get all our provisions and stores from Pennsylvania (and surely there is no occasion for this).

In fine I urged every thing then that I now can do; and repeated it by letters, copies of which I have now to shew if required—but urged in vain! The Pennsylvanians, whose present as well as future interest it was to conduct the Expedition thro’ their Government, and along that way, because it secures at present their frontiers and the trade hereafter—a Edition: current; Page: [92] chain of Forts being erected—had prejudiced the General absolutely against this road; made him believe we were the partial people; and determined him at all events to pursue that rout. So that their sentiments are already known on this matter and to them, as instigators, may be attributed the great misfortune of this miscarriage—for I think now nothing but a miracle can procure success.

The contractor has orders to lay in, at Loyal Hanning for 4,000 men the winter. Whence it is imagined, that our expedition for this campaign will end there. Should we serve to make up the troops which garrison that place, our frontiers will thereby not only be exposed, but the soldiers, for want of clothing and proper conveniences must absolutely perish, few of them having a whole coat to their backs, and many none at all. This is a matter I have fully and repeatedly written about these 12 month’s past: I hope it will now merit the Assembly’s notice.

A major of Brigade is an officer absolutely necessary for the Virginia troops while there is more than one regiment:—The General has repeatedly urged this matter; and Colo. Byrd, who once recommended another gentleman, who is now found to be too deeply engaged in Indian Affairs, joins me in proposing Captn. Robert Stewart for this office, a gentleman, whose assiduity and military capacity are second to none in our Service. We beg the favor therefore, of a commission for him, and that your Honor would be pleased to leave the date of it, Edition: current; Page: [93] blank, in order that he may take Rank, before some other majors of Brigade, to which his longer services entitle him.

The First Virginia Regiment have August’s pay due to them, and no money in the Paymasters hands—This he will inform your Honor more particularly of, as desired.

Captains Bullen and French, two Cuttawba’s much esteemed for their bravery and steady attachment to our interest, were killed about 10 days ago, on their way from Winchester to this camp by the enemy of which we got very early notice (it happening within 3 miles,) and sent out several parties to pursue; which they did fruitlessly!

I have written to Mr. Gist; who had the direction of Indian affairs, to make out such a return as your Honor requires, and forward it to you. He is now at Rays-town. Enclosed is a return of my regiment. I believe it is exact, but as six of the companies are upon the new road I cannot absolutely say what alterations have happened therein since my last advices.

Thus, Sir, I have given your Honor a full and impartial account of the present posture of affairs here; of which any use may be made you shall think proper. I may possibly be blamed for expressing my sentiments so freely,—but never can be ashamed of urging the truth; and none but obvious facts are stated here. The General, I dare say from his good character, can account fully, and no doubt satisfactorily, for these delays, that surprize all who judge from appearances only; but I really can not.

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Colo. Byrd, being very unwell, has desired me to offer his compliments to your Honor [and] an excuse (which is sickness) for his not writing.

P. S. Upon second thought, I have transmitted copies of some of the letters which I wrote to Colo. Bouquet, (who commands in the General’s absence,) upon the posture of our affairs; particularly my sentiments of the new road. It will give your Honor some trouble to peruse them; and they will at the same time shew, that nothing in my power has been wanting to bring this Expedition, to a speedy (and I hoped) to a happy conclusion. As I well foresaw that every delay still subjected us to further difficulties, and the chance of encountering a French reinforcement, which very clearly appears they had not received in the middle of August, long before which might we have been there, had the old Road been timely adopted.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
12th September, 1758
Fort Cumberland,
George William Fairfax
Fairfax, George William


Dear Madam,

Yesterday I was honored with your short but very agreeable favor of the first inst. How joyfully I catch at the happy occasion of renewing a correspondence which I feared was disrelished on your part, I leave to time, that never failing expositor of all things, and to a monitor equally faithful in my own breast, to testify. In silence I now express my joy; silence, which in some cases, I wish the present, speaks more intelligently than the sweetest eloquence.

If you allow that any honor can be derived from my opposition to our present system of management, you destroy the merit of it entirely in me by attributing Edition: current; Page: [96] my anxiety to the animating prospect of possessing Mrs. Custis, when—I need not tell you, guess yourself. Should not my own Honor and country’s welfare be the excitement? ’Tis true, I profess myself a votary of love. I acknowledge that a lady is in the case, and further I confess that this lady is known to you. Yes, Madame, as well as she is to one who is too sensible of her charms to deny the Power whose influence he feels and must ever submit to. I feel the force of her amiable beauties in the recollection of a thousand tender passages that I could wish to obliterate, till I am bid to revive them. But experience, alas! sadly reminds me how impossible this is, and evinces an opinion which I have long entertained, that there is a Destiny which has the control of our actions, not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of Human Nature.

You have drawn me, dear Madame, or rather I have drawn myself, into an honest confession of a simple Fact. Misconstrue not my meaning; doubt it not, nor expose it. The world has no business to know the object of my Love, declared in this manner to you, when I want to conceal it. One thing above all things in this world I wish to know, and only one person of your acquaintance can solve me that, or guess my meaning. But adieu to this till happier times, if I ever shall see them. The hours at present are melancholy dull. Neither the rugged toils of war, nor the gentler conflict of A — B — s,1 is in my choice. I dare believe you are as happy as you say. Edition: current; Page: [97] I wish I was happy also. Mirth, good humor, ease of mind, and—what else?—cannot fail to render you so and consummate your wishes.

If one agreeable lady could almost wish herself a fine gentleman for the sake of another, I apprehend that many fine gentlemen will wish themselves finer e’er Mrs. Spotswood is possest. She has already become a reigning toast in this camp, and many there are in it who intend (fortune favoring) to make honorable scars speak the fullness of their merit, and be a messenger of their Love to Her.

I cannot easily forgive the unseasonable haste of my last express, if he deprived me thereby of a single word you intended to add. The time of the present messenger is, as the last might have been, entirely at your disposal. I can’t expect to hear from my friends more than this once before the fate of the expedition will some how or other be determined. I therefore beg to know when you set out for Hampton, and when you expect to return to Belvoir again. And I should be glad also to hear of your speedy departure, as I shall thereby hope for your return before I get down. The disappointment of seeing your family would give me much concern. From any thing I can yet see ’tis hardly possible to say when we shall finish. I don’t think there is a probability of it till the middle of November. Your letter to Captain Gist I forwarded by a safe hand the moment it came to me. His answer shall be carefully transmitted.

Col. Mercer, to whom I delivered your message Edition: current; Page: [98] and compliments, joins me very heartily in wishing you and the Ladies of Belvoir the perfect enjoyment of every happiness this world affords. Be assured that I am, dear Madame, with the most unfeigned regard, your most obedient and most obliged humble servant.

N.B. Many accidents happening (to use a vulgar saying) between the cup and the lip, I choose to make the exchange of carpets myself, since I find you will not do me the honor to accept mine.1

George Washington
Washington, George
25th Septemb., 1758
Governor Fauquier
Governor Fauquier


Honble. Sir,

I think it incumbent upon me to give you the following account—altho’ it is with very great concern I am furnished with the occasion.

The 12th instant Major Grant, of the Highland-battalion, with a chosen detachment of 800 men marched from our advanced post, at Loyal Hannan, for Fort Duquesne;—what to do there (unless to meet the fate he did) I can not certainly inform you. However, to get intelligence and annoy the Enemy, was the ostensible plan.

Edition: current; Page: [99]

On the 13th, in the night, they arrived near that place, formed upon the hill in two columns, and sent a party to the fort to make discoveries, which they accomplished accordingly—and burned a log-house not far from the walls without interruption. Stimulated by this success, the major kept his post and disposition until day, then detached Major Lewis and part of his command 2 miles back to their baggage guard and sent an Engineer with a covering party in full view of the fort, to take a plan of the works,—at the same time causing the revilé to beat in several different places.

The enemy hereupon sallied out, and an obstinate Engagement began, for the particulars of which I beg leave to refer your Honor to the enclosed letters and return of the Regiment. Major Lewis it is said met his fate in bravely advancing to sustain Major Grant. Our officers and men have acquired very great applause for their gallant behavior during the action. I had the honor to be publickly complimented yesterday by the General on the occasion. The havock that was made of them is a demonstrable proof of their obstinate defence, having 6 officers killed, and a 7th wounded out of 8. Major Lewis who chearfully went upon this Enterprise (when he found there was no dissuading Colonel Bouquet from the attempt) frequently there and afterwards upon the march, desired his friends to remember that he had opposed the undertaking to the utmost. He is a great loss to the Regiment, and is universally lamented. Captn. Bullet’s behavior is matter of Edition: current; Page: [100] great admiration and Capt. Walter Stewart, the other surviving officer, distinguished himself greatly while he was able to act. He was left in the field, but made his escape afterwards.1

What may be the consequence of this affair, I will not take upon me to decide, but this I may venture to declare, that our affairs in general appear with a greater gloom than ever; and I see no probability of opening the road this Campaign: How then can we expect a favorable issue to the Expedition? I have used my best endeavors to supply my men with the necessaries they want.2 70 blankets I got from the General upon the promise to return them again. I therefore hope your Honor will direct that number to be sent to Winchester for his use. I must also beg the favor of having blank-commissions sent to me,—it will take near a dozen for the promotions and vacancies.—I must fill up the vacancies with the volunteers I have, and some of the best Sergeants. I marched to this Camp the 21st instant, by order of the General.

Having little else of moment to relate; I beg leave to assure your Honor that I am, &c.

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George Washington
Washington, George
25th Sept’r. 1758
Rays Town,
George William Fairfax
Fairfax, George William


Dear Madam:

Do we still misunderstand the true meaning of each other’s Letters? I think it must appear so, tho’ I would feign hope the contrary as I cannot speak plainer without.—But I’ll say no more and leave you to guess the rest.

I am now furnished with news of a very interesting nature. I know it will affect you, but as you must hear it from others I will state it myself. The 12th past, then Major Grant with a chosen detachment of 800 men, march’d from our advanced post at Loyal Hanna against Fort Duquesne.

On the night of the 13th he arriv’d at that place or rather upon a Hill near to it; from whence went a party and viewd the Works, made what observations they could, and burnt a Logg house not far from the Walls. Egg’d on rather than satisfied by this success, Major Grant must needs insult the Enemy next morning by beating the Reveille in different places in view. This caus’d a great body of men to Sally from the Fort, and an obstinate engagement to ensue, which was maintained on our Side with the utmost efforts that bravery could yield, till being overpowerd and quite surrounded they were obliged to retreat with the loss of 22 officers killed, and 278 men besides wounded.

This is a heavy blow to our affairs here, and a sad stroke upon my Regiment, that has lost out of 8 officers, Edition: current; Page: [102] and 168 that was in the Action, 6 of the former killd, and a 7th wounded. Among the Slain was our dear Major Lewis. This Gentleman as the other officers also did, bravely fought while they had life, tho’ wounded in different places. Your old acquaintance Captn. Bullet, who is the only officer of mine that came of untouched, has acquired immortal honor in this engagement by his gallant behavior, and long continuance in the field of Action. It might be thought vanity in me to praise the behavior of my own people were I to deviate from the report of common fame,—but when you consider the loss they have sustained, and learn that every mouth resounds their praises, you will believe me impartial.

What was the great end proposed by this attempt, or what will be the event of its failure, I can’t take upon me to determine; it appears however (from the best accounts) that the enemy lost more men then we did in the engagement. Thus it is the lives of the brave are often disposed of. But who is there that does not rather Envy than regret a death that gives birth to honor and glorious memory.

I am extremely glad to find that Mr. Fairfax has escap’d the dangers of the Seige at Louisburg. Already have we experienced greater losses than our army sustained at that place, and have gained not one obvious advantage. So miserably has this expedition been managed that I expect after a month’s further tryal, and the loss of many more men by the sword, cold and perhaps famine, we shall give the expedition over as perhaps impracticable this season, Edition: current; Page: [103] and retire to the inhabitants, condemned by the world and derided by our friends.

I should think our time more agreeably spent believe me, in playing a part in Cato, with the company you mention, and myself doubly happy in being the Juba to such a Marcia, as you must make.

Your agreeable Letter containd these words. “My Sisters and Nancy Gist who neither of them expect to be here soon after our return from Town, desire you to accept their best complimts. &c.”

Pray are these Ladies upon a Matrimonial Scheme? Is Miss Fairfax to be transformed into that charming domestick—a Martin, and Miss Cary to a Fa—? What does Miss Gist turn to — A Cocke?1 That can’t be, we have him here.

One thing more and then have done. You ask if I am not tired at the length of your letter? No Madam, I am not, nor never can be while the lines are an Inch asunder to bring you in haste to the end of the paper. You may be tird of mine by this. Adieu dear Madam, you will possibly hear something of me, or from me before we shall meet. I must beg the favor of you to make my compliments to Colo. Cary and the Ladies with you, and believe me that I am most unalterably.2

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George Washington
Washington, George
28th September, 1758
Governor Fauquier
Governor Fauquier


Honble. Sir,

I forgot to notice in my last of the 25th instant that a flag of truce was sent to Fort Duquesne by Colo. Bouquet. It is now returned, and we learn with certainty (tho’ few things have yet transpired) that Major Grant with two other Highland officers, and Major Lewis, with two officers of the Royal Americans,—and one belonging to Pennsylvania, together with 2 Sergeants and 30 private men, were made prisoners in the late action, and sent immediately to Montreal. From all the accounts I have yet been able to collect, it appears very clear, that this was either a very ill-concerted or very ill-executed plan: perhaps both: but it seems to be generally acknowledged that Major Grant exceeded his orders in some particulars; and that no disposition was made for engaging.

The troops were divided:—which caused the front to give way, and put the whole into confusion, except the Virginians, commanded by Captn. Bullet, who were (in the hands of Providence) a means of preventing all of our people from sharing one common fate.

This mistake, I fear, may be productive of bad consequences to the common cause!

The promoters of opening a new road, either do believe (or would fain have it thought so,) that there is time enough to accomplish our plan this season: but others who judge freer from prejudice, are of a Edition: current; Page: [105] quite contrary opinion. As the road is not yet opened half-way, and not 20 days’ provision for the troops got the length of this place—which cannot be attributed to a juster cause than the badness of the road; altho’ many other reasons are assigned for it. We find that the frosts have already changed the face of nature among these mountains. We know there is not more than a month left for enterprize, we know also that a number of horses can not subsist after that time, on a road stripped of its herbage,—and very few there are who apprehend that our affairs can be brought to favorable issue by that period, nor do I see how it is possible, if every thing else answered, that men half-naked can live in Tents much longer. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
8 October, 1758
John Forbes
Forbes, John



In consequence of your request of the Colonels assembled at your lodgings, the 15th instant,1 I offer the plans (on the other side) to your consideration. They express my thoughts on a line of march thro’ a country covered with woods, and how that line of march may be formed in an instant into an order of battle. The plan of the line of march and order of battle,2 on the other side, is calculated for a forced march with field-pieces only, unincumbered with wagons. It represents, Edition: current; Page: [106] first, a line of march; and, secondly, how that line of march may in an instant be thrown into an order of battle in the woods. This plan supposes four thousand privates, one thousand of whom (picked men,) are to march in the front in three divisions, each division having a field-officer to command it, besides the commander of the whole; and is always to be in readiness to oppose the enemy, whose attack, if the necessary precautions are observed, must always be in front.

The first division must, (as the second and third ought likewise to be,) subdivided for the captains; these subdivisions to be again divided for the subalterns; and the subalterns again for the sergeants and corporals. By which means every non-commissioned officer will have a party to command, under the eye of a subaltern, as the subalterns will have, under the direction of a captain, &c.

N.B. I shall, altho I believe it unnecessary, remark here, that the captains, when their subdivisions are again divided, are to take command of no particular part of it, but to attend to the whole subdivision, as the subalterns are to do with theirs, each captain and subaltern acting as commandant of the division he is appointed to, under the field-officer, visiting and encouraging all parts alike, and keeping the soldiers to their duty. This being done, the first division is, so soon as the van-guard is attacked (if that gives the first notice of the enemy’s approach), to file off to the right and left, and take to trees, gaining the enemy’s flanks, and surrounding them, as Edition: current; Page: [107] described in the second plan.1 The flank-guards on the right, which belong to the second division, are immediately to extend to the right, followed by that division, and to form, as described in the aforesaid plan. The rear-guard division is to follow the left flankers in the same manner, in order, if possible, to encompass the enemy, which being a practice different from any thing they have ever yet experienced from us, I think may be accomplished. What Indians we have, should be ordered to get round, unperceived, and fall at the same time upon the enemy’s rear. The front and rear being thus secured, there remains a body of two thousand five hundred men to form two brigades, on the flanks of which six hundred men must march for the safety of them, and in such order as to form a rank entire, by only marching the captains’ and subalterns’ guards into the intervals between the sergeants’ parties, as may be seen by plan the second. The main body will now be reduced to nineteen hundred men, which should be kept a corps de reserve to support any part, that shall be found weak or forced.2

The whole is submitted to correction with the utmost candor, by Sir, &c.

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George Washington
Washington, George
30 October, 1758
Loyal Hanna,
Governor Fauquier
Governor Fauquier


Honble. Sir:

Colo Byrd promised to apologize to you for my not writing by Jenkins; since which I have been honored with your second favor of the 7th instant, both of which now lie before me for acknowledgement. My sudden march1 from Raystown (the intent of which I presume you are already informed of) allowed Edition: current; Page: [109] me no time to furnish Mr. Boyd with proper estimates for drawing the pay of our regiment, and I was less anxious on that head, as the officers equally with myself considered that our affairs would some how or other come to a conclusion before he could return, and that it might be difficult and very unsafe for him to follow us. I am very much obliged to your Honor for the commissions you were pleased to send. Be assured, Sir, the confidence which you have reposed in me shall never be wilfully abused. I am not less obliged to your Honor for the favor of returning so readily the blankets which I borrowed of the General. I am, however sorry to inform you, that, upon reviewing the six companies of my regiment at this place, (which had been separated from me since my last,) I found them deficient in the necessaries contained in the enclosed return, and consequently I am under an indispensable duty of providing them, or more properly of endeavoring to do so; for I doubt very much the possibility of succeeding. Your Honor, therefore, will not, I hope, be surprised, should I draw on you for the amount, in case of success.

Governor Sharpe in person commanded a garrison of militia, (from his province,) at Fort Cumberland, when the magazine was blown up, and had, I believe, his store-keeper included in the blast. * * *

My march to this post gave me an opportunity of forming a judgment of the road, and I can truly say, that it is indescribably bad. Had it not been for an accidental discovery of a new passage over the Laurel Edition: current; Page: [110] Hill, the carriages must inevitably have stopped on the other side. This is a fact nobody here takes upon him to deny. The General and great part of the troops, &c, being yet behind, and the weather growing very inclement, must I apprehend terminate our expedition for this year at this place. But as our affairs are now drawing to a crisis, and a good or bad conclusion of them will shortly ensue, I choose to suspend my judgment, as well as a further account of the matter, to a future day.1

George Washington
Washington, George
17 November, 1758
Bushy Run,
John Forbes
Forbes, John



After the most constant labor from daybreak till night, we were able to open the road to this place, only about six miles from our last camp. Here it Edition: current; Page: [111] was that Captain Shelby overtook us, and presented me with yours and Colonel Bouquet’s letters, enclosing one to Colo. Armstrong; all of which were forwarded to that gentleman last night by Shelby, as soon as the last of the enclosed came to my hands. A junction with Colonel Armstrong this morning would have prevented the good effects of a fortified camp to-night, and retarded our operations a day at least; for which reason I desired him to march forward this morning at 2 o’clock, to such place as Captn. Shelby should point out (with Capt. Gordon’s approbation of the ground) and there secure himself, as you have directed. If he accomplishes that work before night, he is in that event to begin opening the road towards us. I shall struggle hard to be up with him to-night, being but two and a half miles from his last camp.

I received but thirty six of the forty two axes sent by Colo. Montgomery, and those in the very worst order. Last night was spent in doing the needful repairs to them. We have four carriages with us that follow with great ease.

If Indians ever can be of use to us, it must be now, in the front, for intelligence. I therefore beg you will order their conductors to bring them at all events, and that we may get our bullocks immediately up; otherwise, as our meat will be out to-morrow, we shall possibly be delayed the next day in serving it out, when we should be marching to the next post.

There was a sergeant (Grant) of mine, confined for insolent behavior to an officer of Pennsylvania, Edition: current; Page: [112] and tried at the last General Court-martial; but the sentence was not known when I came away, altho’ the court sat five days before. I applied (thro’ Major Halkett) to get him released, but could not. He is a very fine fellow, and I am as desirous of getting him, as he is to come. I should be glad therefore if the nature of his office will admit of it, with propriety, that he was sent on accordingly.

George Washington
Washington, George
(at night) 17th Novem. 1758
John Forbes
Forbes, John



Colonel Bouquet’s letter came to my hands, (just as the bearer was passing by,) from Colonel Armstrong. I shall punctually observe all the directions contained therein, altho’ I shall at the same time confess I think it much safer and more eligible to have marched briskly on to our second post, leaving the road for Colonel Montgomery to open. We should by that means have been as good as a covering party to him, while we are fortifying a camp, which may be of great importance to the army. Less time would be lost by this means, and a straggling front, (which will ever happen in expeditious cutting,) would be avoided; besides the probable advantage of (perhaps) getting into a secure camp before we might be discovered.

I have opened the road between seven and eight miles to day, and am yet three miles short of Colonel Armstrong, who marched at eight o’clock. I understand Edition: current; Page: [113] by Captain Shelby, who is just come from him, that Col. Armstrong is not yet begun entrenching his camp, which must again retard us to-morrow. Forwarding provisions is highly necessary; hard labor consumes them fast; but all the men are in high spirits, and are anxious to get on.

I shall be much pleased to see the Indians up, and am very glad to hear that Mr. Croghan is so near at hand. The number with him is not mentioned. I wish they were in our front also.

I was extremely sorry to hear of your indisposition to day, being, Sir, yours, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 November, 1758
John Forbes
Forbes, John



I came to this camp about eleven o’clock to-day, having opened the road before me. I should immediately have proceeded on, but, as the bullocks were to [be] slaughter[ed,] and provisions to be dressed, I thought it expedient to halt here till three in the morning, when I shall begin to march with one thousand men, leaving Colonel Armstrong and five hundred more in this camp, until Colonel Montgomery joins [him.] I took care that the road should not be delayed by this halt, for I ordered out a working party, properly covered, before I came here, to cut it forward till night should fall upon them, and then return back again.

I fear we have been greatly deceived with regard Edition: current; Page: [114] to the distance from hence to Fort Duquesne. Most of the woods-men, that I have conversed with, seem to think that we are still thirty miles from it. I have sent out one party that way to ascertain the distance, and the kind of ground between; and two others to scout on the right and left, for the discovery of tracks, &c. To-morrow, Captn. Shelby and Lt. Gist of my regiment, will go off on the like service that the former of these parties has done this day, under Lt. Ryley.

I found three redoubts erecting for the defence of this camp. Mr. Gordon thinks, that it will be sufficiently secured by these means; but, for my own part, I do not look upon redoubts alone, in this close country, to be half as good as the slightest breastwork; indeed, I do not believe they are any security at all where there are no other works.

I enclose you a return of the total strength of this place, and for what time they are served with provisions, by which you will see how much a supply is needed, and I must beg, that commissaries and stilliards1 may be sent forward, otherwise a continual dissatisfaction will prevail, as well on the part of the contractors, as on that of the soldiers, who think they have injustice done them in their allowance, notwithstanding the fifteen bullocks, which were received as provisions for four days, were issued out for three only, by the judgment of an officer of each corps, as well as my own, for I took pains to examine into it myself.

Edition: current; Page: [115]

I had wrote thus far, when your favor of this morning came to hand. I shall set out at three o’clock, as above, leaving the Highlanders to finish the redoubts, according to Mr. Gordon’s plan, and to secure the tools, until Colonel Montgomery comes up, leaving it then to Colonel Bouquet’s option to bring or leave them.

We shall, I am apprehensive, have a great space between this post and the next, as I have before observed, tho’ I shall be a better judge to-morrow night.

The enclosed return shows what provisions each corps ought to have upon hand; but few can make it hold out, so that I must again urge the necessity of a commissary and weights, also of provisions, for were we all completed properly to a certain day, there are yet parties and light-horsemen coming and going, who complain much on this head.

Your chimney at this place is finished. I shall take care to put up one at the next post.1

I shall use every necessary precaution to get timely notice of the enemy’s approach, so that I flatter myself you need be under no apprehensions on that head. A scouting party is just returned, and reports, that, five miles advanced of this they discovered the tracks of about forty persons making towards Kiskemanetes. The tracks appear to have been made to-day, or yesterday. I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [116]
George Washington
Washington, George
28 November, 1758
Fort Duquesne,
Governor Fauquier
Fauquier, Governor


Honble. Sir,

I have the pleasure to inform you, that Fort Duquesne, or the ground rather on which it stood, was possessed by his Majesty’s troops on the 25th instant. The enemy, after letting us get within a day’s march of the place, burned the fort, and ran away (by the light of it,) at night, going down the Ohio by water, to the number of about five hundred men, from our best information. The possession of this fort has been matter of surprise to the whole army, and we cannot attribute it to more probable causes, than those of weakness, want of provisions, and desertion of their Indians. Of these circumstances we were luckily informed by three prisoners, who providentially fell into our hands at Loyal Hanna, at a time when we despaired of proceeding, and a council of war had determined, that it was not advisable to advance beyond the place above mentioned this season, but the information above caused us to march on without tents or baggage, and with a a light train of artillery only, with which we have happily succeeded. It would be tedious, and I think unnecessary, to relate every trivial circumstance, that has happened since my last. To do this, if needful, shall be the employment of a leisure hour, when I have the pleasure to pay my respects to your Honor.

The General purposes to wait here a few days to settle matters with the Indians, and then all the troops, (except a sufficient garrison which will I suppose be left here, to secure the possession,) will march Edition: current; Page: [117] to their respective governments. I therefore give your Honor this early notice of it, that your directions relative to those of Virginia may meet me timely on the road. I cannot help premising, in this place, the hardships the troops have undergone, and the naked condition they now are in, in order that you may judge if it is not necessary that they should have some little recess from fatigue, and time to provide themselves with necessaries, for at present they are destitute of every comfort of life. If I do not get your orders to the contrary, I shall march the troops under my command directly to Winchester; from whence they may then be disposed of, as you shall afterwards direct.

General Forbes desires me to inform you, that he is prevented, by a multiplicity of different affairs, from writing to you so fully now, as he would otherwise have done, and from enclosing you a copy of a letter which he has written to the commanding officer stationed on the communication from hence to Winchester, &c. relative to the Little Carpenter’s conduct, (a chief of the Cherokees). But that, the purport of that letter was to desire, they would deprive him of the use of arms and ammunition, and escort him from one place to another, to prevent his doing any mischief to the inhabitants, allowing him provisions only. His behavior, the General thought, rendered this measure necessary.

This fortunate, and, indeed, unexpected success of our arms will be attended with happy effects. The Delawares are suing for peace, and I doubt not that other tribes on the Ohio will follow their example. Edition: current; Page: [118] A trade, free, open, and upon equitable terms, is what they seem much to stickle for, and I do not know so effectual a way of riveting them to our interest, as sending out goods immediately to this place for that purpose. It will, at the same time, be a means of supplying the garrison with such necessaries as may be wanted; and, I think, those colonies, which are as greatly interested in the support of this place as Virginia is, should neglect no means in their power to establish and support a strong garrison here. Our business, (wanting this) will be but half finished; while, on the other hand, we obtain a firm and lasting peace, if this end is once accomplished.

General Forbes is very assiduous in getting these matters settled upon a solid basis, and has great merit (which I hope will be rewarded) for the happy issue which he has brought our affairs to, infirm and worn down as he is.1 At present I have nothing further to add, but the strongest assurances of my being your Honor’s most obedient and most humble servant.2

Edition: current; Page: [119]
George Washington
Washington, George
2 December, 1758
Loyal Hanna,
Governor Fauquier
Fauquier, Governor



The enclosed was wrote with the intention to go by an express of the General’s, but his indisposition Edition: current; Page: [120] 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 Edition: current; Page: [121] 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 Edition: current; Page: [122] 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

Edition: current; Page: [123]

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 Edition: current; Page: [124] 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.

George Washington
Washington, George
30 December, 1758
John Forbes
Forbes, John



The Governor’s writing fully to [you] upon the posture of affairs here, and the present system of management, leaves me no room to add. I was in hope a General Assembly would have been called immediately; but the Council were of opinion, that, Edition: current; Page: [125] as they had met so lately, and were summoned to attend some time in February, it would be inconvenient to convene them sooner; so that no measures for securing the communication between Fort Cumberland and Fort Duquesne, or, in short, any thing else, can be effected, or even attempted, until their resolutions are known thereupon.

Captain McNeill, (who commanded the first Virginia regiment in my absence,) committed an error, I am informed, at Raystown, in confining Mr. Hoops, the commissary. I am not thoroughly acquainted with the particulars of that affair, but I believe, from the accounts which I have received, that Mr. Hoops was equally culpable in detaining the provisions from half-starved men. This piece of rashness, I am told, is likely to bring McNeill into trouble. I therefore beg the favor of you, Sir, as I am well convinced McNeill had nothing in view but the welfare of his men, to interpose your kind offices to settle the difference. This will be doing a singular favor to Captain McNeill, as well as to myself.

I should be extremely glad to hear of your safe arrival at head-quarters, after a fatiguing campaign, and that a perfect return of good health has contributed to crown your successes.1

Edition: current; Page: [126]


George Washington
Washington, George
1 May, 1759



The inclosed is the minister’s certificate of my marriage with Mrs. Martha Custis, properly, as I am told, authenticated. You will, therefore for the future please to address all your letters, which relate to the affairs of the late Daniel Parke Custis, Esqr., to me, as by marriage I am entitled to a third part of that estate, and invested likewise with the care of the other two thirds by a decree of our General Court, which I obtained in order to strengthen the power I before had in consequence of my wife’s administration.

I have many letters of yours in my possession unanswered; but at present this serves only to advise you of the above change, and at the same time to Edition: current; Page: [127] acquaint you, that I shall continue to make you the same consignments of tobacco as usual, and will endeavor to increase it in proportion as I find myself and the estate benefited thereby.1

The scarcity of the last year’s crop, and the high prices of tobacco, consequent thereupon, would, in any other case, have induced me to sell the estate’s crop (which indeed is only 16 hhd.) in the country; but, for a present, and I hope small advantage only, I did not care to break the chain of correspondence, that has so long subsisted, and therefore have, according to your desire, given Captn. Talman, an offer of the whole.

On the other side is an invoice of some goods, which I beg of you to send me by the first ship, bound either to Potomack or Rappahannock, as I am in immediate want of them. Let them be insured, Edition: current; Page: [128] and, in case of accident, re-shipped without delay. Direct for me at Mount Vernon, Potomack River, Virginia; the former is the name of my seat, the other of the river on which t’ is situated. I am, &c.

Invoice of Sundry Goods to be Ship’d by Robt. Cary, Esq., and Company for the use of George Washington—viz:

1 Tester Bedstead 7½ feet pitch with fashionable bleu or blue and white curtains to suit a Room laid w yl Ireld. paper.—

Window curtains of the same for two windows; with either Papier Maché Cornish to them, or Cornish covered with the Cloth.

1 fine Bed Coverlid to match the Curtains. 4 Chair bottoms of the same; that is, as much covering suited to the above furniture as will go over the seats of 4 Chairs (which I have by me) in order to make the whole furniture of this Room uniformly handsome and genteel.

1. Fashionable Sett of Desert Glasses and Stands for Sweet meats Jellys &c—together with Wash Glasses and a proper Stand for these also.—

2 Setts of Chamber, or Bed Carpets—Wilton.

4. Fashionable China Branches & Stands for Candles.

2 Neat fire Screens—

50 lbs Spirma Citi Candles—

6 Carving Knives and Forks—handles of Stained Ivory and bound with Silver.

A pretty large Assortment of Grass Seeds—among which let there be a good deal of Lucerne & St. Foi, especially the former, also a good deal of English or bleu Grass Clover Seed I have.—

1 Large neat and Easy Couch for a Passage.

50 yards of best Floor Matting.—

2 pair of fashionable mixd. or Marble Cold. Silk Hose.

6 pr of finest cotton Hose.

6 pr of finest thread Hose.

6 pr of midling Hose. to cost abt 5 /

6 pr worsted Hose of yl best Sorted—2 pr of wch. to be white.

Edition: current; Page: [129]

N. B. All the above Stockings to be long, and tolerably large.

1 piece of finest and most fashionable Stock Tape.

1 Suit of Cloaths of the finest Cloth & fashionable colour made by the Inclos’d measure.—

The newest and most approvd Treatise of Agriculture—besides this, send me a Small piece in Octavo—called a New System of Agriculture, or a Speedy Way to grow Rich.

Longley’s Book of Gardening.—

Gibson, upon Horses, the lattest Edition in Quarto—

Half a dozn pair of Men’s neatest shoes, and Pumps, to be made by one Didsbury, on Colo. Baylor’s Last—but a little larger than his—& to have high heels.—1

6 pr Mens riding Gloves—rather large than the middle size.

One neat Pocket Book, capable of receiving Memorandoms & Small Cash accts. to be made of Ivory, or any thing else that will admit of cleaning.—

Fine Soft Calf Skin for a pair of Boots—

Ben leathr. for Soles.

Six Bottles of Greenhows Tincture.

Order from the best House in Madeira a Pipe of the best Old Wine, and let it be securd from Pilferers.

Edition: current; Page: [130]
George Washington
Washington, George
20 September, 1759
Mount Vernon,
Richard Washington
Washington, Richard


Dear Sir,

Inclosd you will receive a Bill [promisd in my last of the 7th May] which please to receive and place to my credit—since mine of the above date your agreable favor of the 26th March covering Invoice of Sundries pr. the desire is come to hand as has the Goods also in good order which is more than most of the Importers by that Ship can boast great part of her cargo being damagd—thro’ the negligence tis said of the Captain.

My Brother is safe arrivd but little benefitted in point of Health by his Trip to England. The longing desire, which for many years I have had of visiting the great Matrapolis of that Kingdom is not in the least abated by his prejudices, because I think the small share of Health he enjoyed while there must have given a sensible check to any pleasures he might figure to himself, and woud render any place Irksome—but I am now tied by the Leg and must set Inclination aside.

The Scale of Fortune in America is turnd greatly in our favor, and success is become the boon Companion of our Fortunate Generals. Twoud be folly in me to attempt particularizing their Actions since you receive accts. in a channel so much more direct than from hence. I am now I believe fixd at this seat with an agreable Consort for Life. And hope to find more happiness in retirement than I ever experienced amidst a wide and bustling World—I thank Edition: current; Page: [131] you heartily for your affectionate wishes—why wont you give me an occasion of Congratulating you in the same manner? None woud do it with more cordiality and true sincerity than, Dear Sir, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
20 September, 1759
Mount Vernon,



This will make the fourth letter I have written to you since my marriage with Mrs. Martha Custis. The two first served to cover invoices of such goods as I wanted, and to advise you at the same time of the change in her affairs, and how necessary it would be to address, for the future, all your letters, which relate to the estate of the deceased Colonel Custis, to me. The last tended only to order insurance on fifteen hogsheads of tobacco, sent by the Fair American.

I shall now endeavor to take notice of such parts of your letters, as require answering, and then advise what is needful to be done as matters are circumstanced at present. In regard to the former, there remains no great deal to be said, unless you will permit me to condemn your premature sales of the estate’s tobacco by Whelden, in which I should have thought a little delay would have appeared absolutely advisable for another reason, besides that mentioned by you, of an additional duty taking place; and that was the great demand for tobacco, and rising price in the country, of which you could not be unadvised from your correspondents in Virginia. Edition: current; Page: [132] However, I dare say you did for the best, and we must therefore be satisfied. And in this place, as an individual, give me leave to offer you my thanks for the opposition you made to this duty. Had all your brethren in the trade merited our acknowledgments in the same manner, this duty, probably, might never have been laid.

I remark the pains you take to show the impropriety of paying the duty of the estate’s tobacco. When money is wanting, it cannot be expected; but, when a sum lies in your hands, it should certainly be applied that way, as far as it will go. I likewise observe the difficulties you have met with in settling for the interest of the bank stock; but I hope that is now over, unless any part or the whole should require transferring (when a division of the estate is made), and then timely notice will be given; but, till this happens, it may be received and placed to the estate’s credit in the usual manner.

From this time it will be requisite, that you should raise three accounts; one for me, another for the estate, and a third for Miss Patty Custis; or, if you think it more eligible (and I believe it will be), make me debtor on my own account for John Parke Custis, and for Miss Martha Parke Custis, as each will have their part of the estate assigned them this fall, and the whole will remain under my management, whose particular care it shall be to distinguish always, either by letter or invoice, from whom tobaccos are shipped, and for whose use goods are imported, in order to prevent any mistakes arising. The estate’s credit Edition: current; Page: [133] now in your hands may be applied towards answering the whole drafts, that have been and shall be made this year; and it must appear very plain from my former letters, as well as from what is here said, how necessary it is to send regular accounts current, that, by comparing them with the books here, satisfactory settlements may, from time to time, be made to our General Court.

The tobacco per the Fair American will make its appearance, I apprehend, in a very irregular manner. Captain Talman first engaged it to be sent by the Cary, then by the Randolph; and, being disappointed in both, I had to seek for a conveyance myself, and by mere good luck got it on board Captain Thompson, but not till I had first been at the trouble and expense of carting it across from York to James River for his craft to take it in. The vessel being upon the point of sailing at that time, a gentleman at Norfolk, where she lay, promised to receive the bills of lading, and send them by different opportunities under cover to you; but, losing my memorandum, he wrote to me a month afterwards for fresh directions, which I suppose did not reach him till some time after the vessel had sailed. I shall endeavor to put what tobacco I can on board the Cary, as I understand she is to wait for the new crop. It will be needless, I am persuaded, to bespeak your best care in the sales of it; as you must be sensible the present high price of tobacco gives us room to expect extraordinary returns for this year’s produce so early shipped.

Edition: current; Page: [134]

I am possessed of several plantations on this river (Potomac) and the fine lands of Shenandoah, and should be glad if you would ingenuously tell me what prices I might expect you to render for tobaccos made thereon, of the same seed of that of the estate’s, and managed in every respect in the same manner as the best tobaccos on James and York Rivers are. I ask this question purely for my own private information, and my shipping of these crops will be governed in a great measure by the answer you may give. Therefore you will excuse me, I hope, if I again desire the favor of you to take some pains to inform yourselves exactly; because, should the prices differ from those of the estate, I might possibly think myself deceived, and be disgusted of course.

Please to send the goods contained in the enclosed invoices, and charge them as there directed. I flatter myself, that particular care will be taken in choosing them, the want of which gives some tradesmen an opportunity of imposing upon us most vilely. The coarse goods for the estate’s use are ordered from Liverpool this year; all but the plaid hose, and these I beg you will cause to be sent from Glasgow in the usual manner and number, directed to the care of Mr. Joseph Valentine, or person managing the estate’s business at York River. I am, Gentlemen, &c.


A light Summer Suit made of Duroy by the measure.
4 pieces best India Nankeen.
2 best plain Beaver Hats, at 21s.
1 piece of Irish Linen at 4s.
1 piece black Satin Ribbon.
1 Sword Belt, red morocco or buff; no buckles or rings.
4 lbs. Ivory Black.
2 best two-bladed Knives.
2 pairs good Horse Scissors.
½ ream good Post Paper, cut.
½ ream good Post 4to. cut.
A Salmon-colored Tabby of the enclosed pattern, with satin flowers, to be made in a sack and coat.
1 Cap, Handkerchief, Tucker, and Ruffles, to be made of Brussels lace, or point, proper to wear with the above negliglee, to cost £20.
1 piece Bag Holland at 6s.
2 fine flowered Lawn Aprons.
2 double Handkerchiefs.
1 pair woman’s white Silk Hose.
6 pairs woman’s fine Cotton Hose.
4 pairs Thread Hose.
1 pair black, and 1 pair white Satin Shoes, of the smallest 5s.
4 pair Calamanco 5s.
1 fashionable Hat, or Bonnet.
6 pairs women’s best Kid Gloves
8 pairs women’s Mits.
½ dozen Knots, and Breast Knots.
1 dozen round silk laces.
1 black Mask.
1 dozen most fashionable Cambric Pocket Handkerchiefs.
2 pairs neat small Scissors.
1 lb. Sewing Silk shaded.
¼ lb., cloth colored, shaded.
4 pieces binding Tape.
6 m. Miniken Pins.
6 m. short whites.
6 m. Corking Pins.
1 m. Hair Pins.
6 lbs. Perfumed Powder.
3 lbs. best Scotch Snuff.
3 lbs. best violette Strasburg.
8s lb. Starch.
2 lbs. powdered Blue.
2 oz. Coventry Thread, one of which to be very fine.
1 piece narrow white Satin Ribbon, pearl edge.
1 case of Pickles, to consist of Anchovies, Capers, Olives, Salad Oil, and 1 bottle India Mangoes.
1 large Cheshire Cheese.
4 lbs. Green Tea.
10 groce best Corks.
25 lbs. best Jar Raisins.
25 lbs. Almonds in the shell.
1 hogshead best Porter.
10 loaves double and 10 single refined Sugar
6 strong Halters, hempen reins.
3 best Snaffle Bridles.
3 best Girths.
25 lbs. Crown Soap.
12 lbs. best Mustard.
2 dozen packs Playing Cards.
2 sacks of best English Oats.
1 dozen Painter’s Brushes.
1 bushel of Tares.
12 best hard Padlocks.
dozen Bell Glasses for garden.
2 more Chair Bottoms, such as were written for in a former invoice.
1 more Window Curtain and Cornice.
100 lbs. white Biscuit.
3 gallons of Rhenish in bottles.
2 Lanterns.
8 Busts, according to the enclosed direction and measure.
25 yards Broadcloth, of the enclosed color, to cost about 7s. 6d.
15 yards coarse thick double, same color.
6 yards Scarlet Broadcloth, at 8s. 6d.
30 yards Red Shalloon.
20 dozen white-washed Coat Buttons.
12 dozen Waistcoat Buttons.
Twist, Thread, Silk, &c. sufficient to make up the above cloth.
40 yards of coarse Jeans or Fustian, for summer frocks for negro servants.
1 piece Irish Linen at 1s. 3d.
1 piece Dowlas at 10d.
dozen pairs strong coarse Thread Hose fit for negro servants.
6 Castor Hats, at about 5s.
2 Postilion Caps.
1 dozen pairs coarse Shoe and Knee Buckles.
450 ells Osnabergs.
4 pieces Brown Rolls.
350 yards Kendall Cotton.
100 yards Dutch Blankets.
2 pieces Fearnought.
8 dozen pair Plaid Hose sorted.
4 dozen Monmouth Caps.
20 lbs. Brown Thread.
15 lbs. best Shoemaker’s Thread.
20 sacks of Salt.
2 casks 8d. nails; 2 casks 10d. nails.
10 m. 20d. nails; 20 m. 8d. nails.
20 m. 4d. nails.
6 spades.
200 lbs. German Steel.
2 dozen best Sickles.
6 best White’s Handsaws.
6 best Broad Axes.
6 House Adzes.
2 dozen Box Gimblets.
6 pairs Steel Compasses.
1 dozen Augers sorted, from two inches to half an inch.
1 Cowper’s Taper Bit.
1 Cowper’s Crow.
1 Cowper’s Dowling Bit.
1 Cowper’s Wimble Bit.
1 Cowper’s Vice.
1 Cowper’s pair large Compasses.
1 Cowper’s Jointer; 1 Cowper’s Adze.
1 Cowper’s Round Shave.
1 Cowper’s Howell.
1 Wheelwright’s Buzz.
1 Wheelwright’s large Gouge.
1 Wheelwright’s Centre Bit.
2 dozen pairs H. Hinges.
25 lbs. Glue.
2 Crosscut Saws.
12 Inch Chisels.
1 Jointer.
2 long Planes; 2 Jack Planes.
4 Smoothing Planes.
10 pairs Hollows and Rounds.
6 Ogees.
3 pairs of Grooving Planes.
1 Snipe’s Bill.
4 Quarter Rounds.
4 Sash Planes; 3 Bead Planes.
6 Ovelos; 1 Plow and irons.
1 moving Philester.
1 Screw Rabbit Plane.
1 Square Planes; 3 raising Planes.
1 Spring Brace and Bits complete.
1 Turkey Oil-Stone.
1 Panel Saw; 1 Tenant Saw.
1 Compass Saw.; 1 Sash Saw.
1 dozen Firmers.
1 dozen Gouges.
6 Mortising Chisels.
1 Adze; 1 Drawing-knife.
2 pairs Compasses; 2 Rules.
2 Chalk Lines.
1 small Hatchet.
2 Punches; 2 Saw Sets.
2 dozen Gimlets.
3 dozen Plane Irons.
6 Rasps, two of a sort.
2 dozen Handsaw Files.
2 dozen of Tenant Files.
6 bottles Turlington’s Balsam.
8 oz. Spirit of Lavender.
½ lb. Ipecacuana powdered.
½ lb. Jalap powdered.
12 oz. Venice Treacle.
4 oz. best Rhubarb.
12 oz. Diacordium.
4 lbs. Pearl Barley.
4 Sago.
4 oz. Balsam Capevi.
5 oz. Liquid Laudanum.
5 oz. Spirits Sal Ammoniac.
5 oz. Spirits Hartshorn.
4 oz. Spanish Flies.
3 lbs. Bird-Lime.
6 lbs. Oil Turpentine.
2 lbs. Spirits of Turpentine.
5 lbs. White Sugar Candy.
10 lbs. Brown Sugar Candy.
1 lb. Barley Sugar.
2 lbs. Linseed Oil, cold drawn.
4 lbs. Alum.
1 lb. Spermaceti.
4 oz. Tincture of Myrrh.
4 oz. Balsam Sulphur.
4 oz. Pulvus Basilic.
2 oz. Mer. Dulcis.
4 oz. Sal Volatile.
10 oz. Hartshorn Shavings.
2 quarts strong Cinnamon Water.
2 quarts weak Cinnamon Water.
N. B. All liquids in double-flint bottles.
40s. worth of Medicines for farriery, among which let there be
4 lbs. flower of Brimstone.
4 lbs. Anniseed.
4 lbs. Carthamus.
5 lbs. Syrup of Colt’s-foot.
2 lbs. Diapente.
5 lbs Black Soap.
4 lbs. Cummin Seeds.
4 lbs. Fenugreek.
2 lbs. Juice of Liquorice.
4 lbs. long Pepper.
Directions for the Busts.
4. One of Alexander the Great; another of Julius Cæsar; another of Charles XII. of Sweden; and a fourth of the King of Prussia.
N. B. These are not to exceed fifteen inches in height, nor ten in width.
2 other Busts, of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough, somewhat smaller.
2 Wild Beasts, not to exceed twelve inches in height, nor eighteen in length.
Sundry small ornaments for chimney-piece.


For Master Custis, 6 years old.
1 piece Irish Holland at 4s.
2 yards fine Cambric at 10s.
6 Pocket Handkerchiefs, small and fine.
6 pairs Gloves; 2 Laced Hats.
2 pieces India Nankeen.
6 pairs fine thread Stockings.
4 pairs coarser Stockings.
6 pairs worsted Stockings.
4 pairs strong Shoes; 4 pairs Pumps.
1 summer suit of clothes, to be made of something light and thin.
3 fine Ivory Combs; 2 Horn Combs and 2 Brushes.
1 piece black Hair Ribbon.
1 pair handsome silver Shoe and Knee Buckles.
10s. worth of Toys.
6 little books for children beginning to read.
1 oz. 8d. Thread; 1 oz. 12d. Thread.
1 oz. 2s. Thread; 1 oz. 3s. Thread.
½ lb. whited brown Thread.
1 light duffel Cloak with silver frogs.
For Miss Custis, 4 years old.
8 yards fine printed Linen at 3s. 6d.
1 piece Irish Holland at 4s.
2 ells fine Holland at 10s.
8 pairs kid Mits; 4 pairs Gloves.
2 pairs silk Shoes.
4 pairs Calamanco Shoes.; 4 pairs leather Pumps.
6 pairs fine thread Stockings.
4 pairs worsted Stockings.
½ piece flowered Dimity.
2 yards fine Cambric at 10s.
2 Caps, 2 pairs Ruffles, 2 Tuckers, Bibs, and Aprons, if fashionable.
2 Fans; 2 Masks; 2 Bonnets.
2 m. large Pins; 2 m. short whites.
2 m. Minekins; 1 Cloth Cloak.
1 stiffened Coat of Fashionable silk, made to pack-thread stays.
6 yards Ribbon; 2 Necklaces.
1 pair silver Sleeve Buttons, with Stones.
1 fashionable-dressed baby 10s.; and other Toys 10s.
6 Pocket Handkerchiefs.
George Washington
Washington, George
30 November, 1759



By the George and Captns. Richardson and Miks who saild with the Fleet in September last I sent Invoices of such Goods as were wanting for myself Estate &ctr, but knowing that the Latter unfortunately foundered at Sea soon after her Departure from Virginia and that the former may probably have sufferd by that storm or some other accident, by which means my letters &ctr. woud miscarry I take this opportunity by way of Bristol of addressing Copies of them and over & above ye things there wrote for to desire the favor of you to send me a neat Grait [for coal or small Faggots] in the newest taste and of a size to fit a chimney abt. 3 feet wide and two Deep and a fender suited to Ditto—Steel I believe are most usd at present—also send me a New Market Great Coat with a loose hood to it, made of Bleu Drab or broad cloth with straps before according to the present taste—let it be made of such Cloth as will turn a good shower of Rain and made long and fit in other respects for a man full 6 feet high & proportionably made—possibly ye measure sent for my other cloths may be a good direction in those—Please to add also to the things orderd for Mrs Dandridge 12 yds of Silver cold. Armozeen or Ducape & cause it to be packd up with ye Rest of her things chargd with yrs. &c.

Five Days ago I dropt a Letter at Williamsburg, to take the first conveyance to you, desiring Insurance on 50 Hhds Tobo pr. ye Cary since then I have got 4 more Inspected & all on Float Edition: current; Page: [140] ready to deliver at the ship’s side. You will therefore Insure that quantity and dispose of them in the best manner for our Interest. If Captn. Talman uses that Despatch in Loading of his vessel which I am sure he now has in his power to do, this Tobo. wl come to a very good Market I hope.

It is almost as much trouble and expence getting Goods from any of the Rivers round to Potomack as the Original charges of shipping them amounts to, unless they are committed to the charge of very careful Captains who has an Interest in forwarding. I shoud be glad therefore if you would take the oppertunity of some ship to that River of sending my Goods for the Future.

Your favor of the 6th. Augt. I have had the pleasure of receiving, and acknowledge myself particularly obligd to you for yr polite congratulations on my Marriage, as I likewise am for yr Dispatch of my Goods. I am Gentn.


JOURNAL,1 1760.

January 1. Tuesday. Visited my Plantations and receiv’d an Instance of Mr. French’s2 great Love of money in disappointing me of some Pork because the price had risen to 22/6, after he had engaged to let me have it at 20/. Call’d at Mr. Posey’s in my way home and desir’d him to engage me 100 barls. of corn upon the best terms he coud in Maryland.—and found Mrs. Washington upon my arrival broke out with the Meazles.

Jany. 2d. Wednesy. Mrs Barnes who came to visit Mrs. Washington yesterday returnd home in my Chariot, the weather being too bad to travel in an open carriage—which, together with Mrs. Washington’s Indisposition, confind me to the House and gave me an opportunity of Posting my Books and putting them in good order. Fearing a disappointment elsewhere in Pork, I was fain to take Mr. French’s upon his own Edition: current; Page: [141] terms & engagd them to be delivd at my House on Monday next.

Thursday Jany. 3d. The weather continuing Bad & ye same causes subsisting I confind myself to the House. Morris who went to work yesterday caught cold, and was laid up bad again, and several of the Family were taken with the Measles, but no bad symptoms seemd to attend any of them. Hauled the sein and got some fish, but was near being disappointd. of my Boat by means of an oyster man who had lain at my Landing and plagud me a good deal by his disorderly behaviour.

Friday Jany. 4th. The Weather continued Drisling and warm, and I kept the House all day. Mrs. Washington seeming to be very ill I wrote to Mr. Green this afternoon desiring his Company to visit her in the morng.

Saturday, Jany 5. Mrs. Washington appeared to be something better. Mr. Green, however, came to see her abt. 11 oclock, and in an hour Mrs. Fairfax arrivd. Mr. Green prescribed the needful and just as we were going to Dinnr. Capt. Walter Stuart appeard with Doctr. Laurie.1 The Evening being very cold and the wind high Mr. Fairfax went home in the Chariot. Soon afterwards Mulatto Jack arrived from Fredk-with 4 Beeves.

Sunday, Jany 6th. The Chariot not returning time enough from Colo. Fairfax’s we were prevented from Church. Mrs. Washington was a good deal better to-day but the oyster man still continuing his Disorderly behavior at my Landing, I was obligd in the most preemptory manner to order him and his compy. away which he did not Incline to obey till the next morning—

Monday Jany 7th. Accompanied Mrs. Bassett to Alexandria and engaged a Keg of Butter of Mrs. Kirkpatrick being quite out of that Article: Wrote from thence to Doctr Craik to endeavor if possible to engage me a Gardener from the Regiment and returnd in the dusk of the Evening.

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Tuesday—Jany 8. Directed an Indictment to be formd by Mr. Johnston against Jno. Ballendine for a fraud in some Iron he sold me. Got a little Butter from Mr. Dalton and wrote to Colo. West for Pork. In the Evening 8 of Mr. French’s Hogs from his Ravensworth Quarter came down one being lost on the way as the others might as well have been for their goodness. Nothing but the disappointments in this Article of Pork which he himself had causd and my necessities coud possibly have obligd me to take them.—Carpenter Sam was taken with the Measles.

Wednesday—Jany 9. Killd and dressd Mr. French’s Hogs which weighd 751 lbs. neat. Colo. West leaving me in doubt about his Pork yesterday obligd me to send to him again to-day, and now no definitive answr. was receivd, he purposing to send his overseer down to-morrow to agree abt. it. Colo. Bassett’s Abram arrivd with Letters from his Master appointing Port Royal, & Monday next as a time and place to meet him—he brought some things from me that day in Mr. Norton’s ware house in York Town.

Thursday—Jany 10th. Accompanied Mrs. Bassett in a visit to Belvoir. She this day determined on Setting of for Port Royal on Saturday. Colo. West wrote me word that he had engaged his Pork. Killed the Beeves that Jack brought down two of which were tolerable good.— * * *

Saturday—Jany 12th. Sett out with Mrs. Bassett on her journey to Port Royal- the morning was clear and fine but soon clouded and promisd much Rain or other falling weather wch. is generally the case after remarkable white Frosts, as it was to-day. We past Occognan witht. any great difficulty notwithstanding the wind was something high and Lodgd at Mr. McCraes in Dumfries sending the Horses to the Tavern. Here I was inform’d that Col. Cocke was disgusted at my House and left it because he see an old negro there resembling his own Image.

Sunday, Jany 13th. The wind last night chop’d about from Southerly to the No. West bleu Extreame hard and made it excessive cold—We reachd Mr. Seldon’s abt. 3 o’clock and met with a certain Capt. Dives—There a man, who, as I Edition: current; Page: [143] have been informd is pretty well known for some of his exploits and suspected to be in Instrument in carrying Dickerson whose character and memory are too well establish’d to need any Commentaries.

Monday—Jany 14th. The Wind at No. West and the Morning being clear and cold but otherwise fine we set out— Mr. Seldon obligingly accompanying us a few miles to prevent any misapprehensions of the Road— We arrivd about 2 oclock to the Plantation late Col. Turner’s but now Inhabited by an overseer directly opposite to Port Royal. At this place also Mr. Gibourne lodges and here we were disagreeably disappointed of meeting him for a few hours, but at length he arrivd almost at the same Instant, that Colo Bassett did, from hence we moved over to Port Royal and spent ye evening at Fox’s with Mr. and Mrs. Bassett. Mr. Bassett brought me a Letter from Captn. Langbourn Inclosing a Bill of Lading for 20 Hdds for the Deliverance Captn. Wm. Whyte— One other was sent by the ship, neither of which signifying to whom the Tobo. was consignd, which is not less strange than that only two Bills shd be given when 4 and never less than three are customary in war time. The Wind freshened up as the Evening came on and causd a most intense frost indeed no thaw had been the whole day.—

Tuesday—Jany 15th. Mr Gibourne and I, leaving Mr Bassett just ready to set out, recrossd the River and proceeded to Colo Carter’s where we dined and in the evening reachd Colo. Champe’s. Several Gentlemen dined with us at Colo Carter (neighbours of his) but we spent a very lonesome Evening at Colo Champe’s, not any Body favoring us with their Company but himself. The morning of this day was exceeding cold the wind still continuing at No West but in the Evening it died away grew something more moderate and promised falling weather but no appearance of a thaw.

Wednesday—Jany 16. I parted with Mr Gibourne, leaving Colo. Champe’s before the Family was stirring, and abt 10 reachd my mothr. where I breakfasted and then went to Fredericksburg with my Brothr Sam who I found there. Abt Noon it Edition: current; Page: [144] began snowing, the wind at So. West but not cold; was disappointed of seeing my Sister Lewis & getting a few things which I wanted out of the Stores, returned in ye Evening to Mother’s all alone with her.

Thursday Jany. 17th. The snow had turnd to rain & occasiond a sleet, the wind at NoEt. and the Ground coverd abt. an Inch and half with Snow, the Rain continued with but little Intermission till noon and then came on a Mist which lasted till night. Abt. Noon I set out from my Mothers & Just at Dusk arrivd at Dumfries—

Friday—Jany 18th. Continued my journey home the Misting continuing till noon when the Wind got Southerly and being very warm occasiond a great thaw. I however found Potomk. River quite cover’d with Ice—& Doctr Craik at my House.

Saturday—Jany 19. The wind got abt. to the No ward last night and froze the Ground hard. The morning Lowerd and threatend Rain but about noon the clouds dispersd and grew warm, the Wind coming about Southerly again. Recd. a Letter from my overseer Hardwich informing me that the Small Pox was Surrounding the Plantations he over-lookd & requiring Sundry working Tools. * * *

Sunday Jany 20th. * * * Visited at Belvoir today carrying Doctr Craik with us who spent the Evening there.— The wind continued Southerly the whole day the Ground very soft & rotten till 10 o clock A. M. it Raind witht intermission, but then the clouds dispersed and promised fair weather till noon when it again set in to Raining and continued by Intervals the whole afternoon being warm. * * *

Tuesday Jany 22d. The wind continued No wardly the weather clear & cold—the ground hard froze & the River blockd up again.

Killd 17 more Hogs which were bought of Mr French who was here ready to see them weighd & to receive his money. Doctr. Craick Dind here. Hogs weighed 1722 lbs nett.

Wednesday—Jany 23d. Clear and more moderate than yesterday but the gd. &ctr still hard frozen. Abt noon the wind (what little blew) came westerly and Inclining south.

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My waggon set of for Frederick with sundrys’ that were wrote for by ye overseer there.

Doctr. Craick left this for Alexandria and I visited my quarter’s & ye Mill, according to custom found young Stephen’s absent.— * * *

Friday Jan’y 25th: Went to Alexandria and saw my Tobo wch. came from the Mountn’s. lying in an open shed with the ends of the Hhds out and in very bad order—engagd the Inspection of it on Monday.

Wrote to Doctr. Ross to purchase me a joiner, Bricklayer and Gardnar, if any ship of servants was in.—

Also wrote to my old servant Bishop to return to me again if he was not otherwise engaged. Directed for him at Phila, but no certainty of his being there.—

Saturday—Jany 26th. A very white frost the ground and River hard froze—the wind at Sun Rise at No.Et. in an hour afterwards it got to South and continued there the whole day. Rode to Williamsons Quarter. the overseer not there. A very remarkable Circle round the Moon—another Indication of falling weather. * * *

Monday—Jany 28th. The River close again and the ground very knobby & hard— The Wind got So. about—and blew fresh-Which all most cleard the River of Ice. Visited my Plantation. Severely reprimanded young Stephen’s for his Indolence, and his father for suffering of it.—found the new negroe, Cupid, ill of a pleurisy at Dogue Run Quarter and had him brot. home in a Cart for better care of him.

Tuesday Jany 29th. * * * Darcus—daughter to Phillis died. Which Makes 4 Negroes lost this winter viz: 3 Dower negroes namely

Beck—appraisd to £50—

Doll’s child, born since

Darcus—appd. at — and Belinda a wench of mine in Frekerick.—

Wednesday—Jany 30th. Very cloudy—Wind at So. till 9 oclock at Night when it instantainously Shifted to No. West & blew a mere hurricane.

Cupid was extreame Ill all this day and at night when I Edition: current; Page: [146] went to Bed I thought him within a few hours of breathing his last.—

Thursday—Jany 31st. He was somewhat better—the wind continued at No. West all day. Very cold—& clear.—

Friday—Feb’y 1st. 1760. Visited my Plantations—found Foster had been absent from his charge since the 28th ulto. Left orders for him to come immediately to me upon his return and reprehended him severely.

Mr Johnston and Mr. Walter Stewart came here this afternoon.

Saturday Feb’y 2d. 17— The gentlemen went off after Breakfast, and I rid out to my Plantns. and to My Carpenter’s. Found Richd. Stephens hard at work with an ax— Very extraordinary this!—Desird him to see after Wm Nation’s Rent, who died t’other day.—

The wind for the most part was northerly yet the Day was mild—the Evening fine & promisd settled Weathr.

Mrs Posey and 2 of her children came and stayd the night here.—

Sunday Feby. 3d. Very white Frost—and wind shifting from So. to East.—

Breechy was laid up this morning with pains in his breast & head & attended with a fever.

Mrs. Posey went home, and we to Church at Alexandria. Din’d at Colo Carlyle’s and returnd in the Evening.—

One Newell offerd himself to me to be overseer put him off to another day.

Monday . . . Dispatch’d Foster to Occognan, to proceed from thence in Bailey’s vessel to — for 100 Barrls. of Corn which Captn. Posey purchas’d of Mr. Hunter, the Priest, for my use. Sent money to pay for the Corn, viz:—37 pistoles and a Shilling, each pistole weighing ds4. gr8

Breechy’s pains increasd and he appeard extreamely ill all day.—In suspense whether to send for Doctor Laurie or not.—Visited my Plantations and found two Negroes sick at Williamson’s Quarter, viz: Greg. and Lucy. Orderd them to be blooded. Stephens at Winchester.

Colo Fairfax giving me notice that he shoud send up to Edition: current; Page: [147] Frederick in the morning, sat down and wrote to my overseer there.—

Tuesday Feb’y 5th. Breechy’s pains Increasing, and he appearing worse in other respects, inducd me to send for Dr. Laurie Wrote to Mr. Ramsay begging the favor of him to enquire into the price of Mr. Barnes’ Sugar Land Tract, and he informd me that ye value set on it by Mr. Barnes was £400.

Visited my Plantation and found to my great surprise Stephens constantly at work—Greg and Lucy nothing better—

Passing by my Carpenters that were hughing (hewing) I found that four of them viz:—George, Tom, Mike & young Billy, had only hugh’d 120 foot yesterday from 10 oclock. Sat down therefore, and observ’d—

Tom and Mike in a less space than 30 minutes, clear’d the bushes from about a poplar stock; lin’d it 10 Foot long, and hugh’d each their side 12 Inches deep.

Then letting them proceed their own way they spent 25 minutes more in getting the cross cut saw standing to consider what to do; sawing the stalk off in two places; putting it on the Blocks, for hughing it, square lining it &ctr. And from this time till they had finishd the stalk entirely requir’d 20 minutes more: so that in the spaces of one hour and a quarter they each of them from the stump finishd 20 Feet of hughing. From hence it appears very clear that, allowing they work only from Sun to Sun and requird two hours’ at Breakfast, they ought to yield each his 125 feet, while the days are at their present length and more in proportion as they increase.

While this was doing, George and Billy saw’d 30 foot of plank, so that it appears as clear making the same allowance as before, but not for the time requird in piling the stock, that they ought to saw 180 feet of plank.

It is to be observd here that this hughing, and sawing likewise, was of poplar. What may be the difference, therefore, between the working of this wood and others some future observations must make known.

The weather to-day was variable often Rainy, but the wind Edition: current; Page: [148] hung Chiefly between the South and West. No frost last night and the ground vastly rotten—

Colo. Fairfax, his Lady, and Doctr. Laurie din’d here. The Dr. went away afterwards, but the other stayd the Evening.

Wednesday—Feb’y 6th * * * Colo. Fairfax and Mrs. Fairfax din’d here. The Dr. sent his servant down with things to Breechy. Greg came here this afternoon worse, and I had 15 Hogs arrivd from Bullskin.

Thursday Feby 7th. The Hogs which arrivd yesterday were killd—weighg as follows—viz:—

142 140 140 139.
130 130 110 90
90 90 90 90.
83 80 70
445 440 410 319
Total 1614.

Out of which Jno. Foster received the remainder of his years Provisions viz:

177 lbs; had before 173

ye years allowance 350

Doctr. Laurie’s Man attended the sick this day also.

I went to Mr Craig’s funeral sermon at Alexandria, and there met my waggon’s with 4 Hhds Tobacco more. Unloaded & sent them down to Mt Vernon.

One of the boys that came down with them and ye Hogs (Nat) was taken with the measles last night.— * * *

Friday—Feb’y 8th. 1760. * * * Rode to my Plantation and orderd Lucy down to the House to be Physickd.

Saturday Feby 9th * * * Visited my plantations before Sunrise, and forbid Stephen’s keeping any horses upon my expence.

Set my waggon’s to draw in stocks and scantling, and wrote to Mr. Stuart of Norfolk for 20 or 30 or more thousand shingles, 6 Barrls. Tar, 6 of Turpentine and 100 wt of Tallow, or myrtle wax, or half as much Candles. * * *

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Sunday, Feb’y 10th. * * * Captn. Posey and Mrs Posey dind here, He obliquely hinted a design of selling his 145 acres of Wood Land on Muddy Hole.

Orderd all the fellows from the different quarters to assembly at Williamson’s quarter in the morning to move Petit’s House.—

Monday Feby 11th. Went out Early myself and continued with my people till 1 o’clock, in which time we got the house about 250 yards. Was informd then that Mr Digges was at my house upon which I returned, finding him and Dr. Laurie there.

The ground being soft and deep, we found it no easy matter with 20 hands, 8 Horses and 6 oxen, to get this house along. * * *

Tuesday, Feby 12th. A small frost happening last night to crust the ground, caused the house to move much lighter and by 9 o’clock it was got to the spot on which it was intended to stand.

Visited at the Glebe, the day being very fine, clear & still.—no wind blowing from any Quarter perceivably.

Sett Kate and Doll to heaping the dung about the Stable.

* * * * * * *

Thursday—Feby 14th. Mr Clifton came here, and we conditiond for his Land, viz: if he is not bound by some prior engagement, I am to have all his land, in the Neck, (500 acres about his house excepted,) and the land commonly called Brents, for 1600 £ currency. He getting Messrs. Digges &c. to join in making me a good and sufficient Title. But now I am not bound to ratify this bargain unless Colo. Carlyle will let me have his Land adjoining Brents at half a pistole an acre.

Visited my Quarters and saw a plant patch burst at the Mill.

Brought home 4003 lbs of hay from Mr. Digges’s—

* * * * * * *

Friday Feby 15th. A small fine rain from North East wet the top of my hay that had been landed last night. It was all carted up however to the barn and the wet and dry separated.

Went to a ball at Alexandria, where Musick and dancing Edition: current; Page: [150] was the chief Entertainment however in a convenient room detached for the purpose abounded great plenty of bread and butter, some biscuits, with tea and coffee, which the drinkers of could not distinguish from hot water sweet’ned—

Be it rememberd that pocket handkerchiefs servd the purposes of Table cloths & Napkins and that no apologies were made for either.1

The Proprietors of this ball were Messrs. Carlyle, Laurie and Robt. Wilson; but the Doctr. not getting it conducted agreeable to his own taste would claim no share of the merit of it.

We lodged at Colo. Carlyles.—

Saturday Feby 16. Returnd home, receiving an invitation to Mrs. Chew’s Ball on Monday night next-first. * * *

Sunday, Feby 17th * * * Went to church and din’d at Belvoir. Sent 4 yews & Lambs to the Mill to be fatted.

Monday Feby 18th. Dispatched my waggon with Tools &c, for Frederick. Sent over for two more tons of hay to Mr. Digges.— * * *

Tuesday-Feby 19th. Went to court, and administered upon Nation’s effects—got Mr. Smith’s Lease to me recorded, and Mr. Johnston not having Darrel’s deeds ready, I was oblig’d to get the acknowledging of them postpond.

Recd. a letter from my Brother Austin by Mr Lane and answer’d it.—

Fine moderate day, with a brisk southerly wind which brought the vessell with my corn.

Mike and Tom began sawing in the Pit, some considerable time after Sun rise and cut 122 feet of oak scantling.

Wednesday-Feby 20. Landed 65 Barrels of Corn. Fine moderate day very little wind. George & Billy sawed 155 feet of oak scantling.

Thursday, Feby 21. Finishd landing the corn which held out only 1½ Bushells above measure. Paid the Skipper for the Freight.—

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Visited at Mr Clifton’s, and rode over his lands but in an especial manner view’d that tract calld Brents, which might have pleas’d me exceedingly at the price he offer’d it at, viz:—half a pistole an acre, provided Colo. Carlyle’s 300 acres just below it cou’d be annex’d at the same price. And this but a few months ago he offered it at, but now seeming to set a higher value upon it, and at the same time putting on an air of indifference, inducd me to make Clifton another for his land—namely £1700 curr’y for all his Lands in the Neck, including his own plantation &c., which offer he readily accepted, upon condition of getting his wife to acknowledge her right of dower to it; and of his success in this he was to inform me in a few days. * * *

Friday Feby 22. * * *

Laid in part the worm of a fence round my peach orchard, and had it made. Waited on Lord Fairfax at Belvoir and requested him to dine at Mt. Vernon on Monday next.—

Upon my return found one of my best waggon horses (namely Jolly) with his right foreleg mash’d to pieces, which I suppose happend in the storm last night by means of a Limb of a tree or something of that sort falling upon him. Did it up as well as I could this night.

Saturday—Feby 23d. Had the horse slung upon canvas and his leg fresh set, following Markham’s directions as near as I cou’d.

Laid the worm round my apple orchard and made the fence. * * *

Captn. Bullet came here from Alexandria and engagd to secure me some Lands on the Ohio, being lately appointed surveyor of a district there.

Sunday, Feb’y 24th. Captn. Bullet dind here to day also; so did Mr Clifton. But the latter was able to give me no determinate answer in regard to his land.

Was unprovided for a demand of £ 90 made by Mr. Alligood in favor of Messrs. Atchinson & Parker of Norfolk, my note of hand to Sampson Darrel; but promisd the payment and Interest at the April Court next.— * * *

Monday Feby 25th. Lord Fairfax, Colo F—’x and his Lady, Edition: current; Page: [152] Colo. Martin, Mr B. F—’x, Colo. Carlyle, and Mr Green and Mrs Green dind here.— Wind and remarkable fine clear day. Set my people to carting and carrying Rails round the peach orchard. The broken Leg’d horse fell out of his sling and by that means and struggling together, hurt himself so much that I order’d him to be kill’d.

Tuesday—Feby 26th. Began plowing the field by the stable and quarter for oats and clover. Set two plows to work under the care of Mulatto and Cook Jacks.

Lay’d the worm round my peach orchard and had the Fence put up.

Made an absolute agreement with Mr Clifton for his land, (so far as depended upon him,) on the following terms; to wit: I am to give him £ 1150 Sterling for his Neck lands containing 1806 acres, and to allow him the use of the plantation he lives on till fall, twelve months.

He on his part is to procure the Gentlemen of Maryland to whom his Lands are under Mortgage to join in a conveyance, and is to put me into possession of the land so soon as this can be done. he is not to cut down any timber, nor clear any ground, nor to use more wood than what shall be absolutely necessary for fences and firing.

Neither is he to assent to any alterations of tenants, transferring of leases, &c., but on the contrary is to discourage every practice that has a tendency to lessen the value of the land.

N. B. He is also to bring Mr Mercer’s opinion concerning the Validity of a private sale made by himself.

Went down to Occognan by appointment to look at Colo. Cocke’s cattle; but Mr Peake’s being from home, I made no agreement for them, not caring to give the price he asked for them.

Call’d and din’d at Captn McCarty’s in my way home, and left the order of Court appointing him and others appraisers of Nation’s Estate (which I had sent my Boy down for,) and at the same time got a promise of him to prize and Inspect his Tobacco at the Warehouse.—

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Bottled 35 dozen of Cyder; the weather very warm & cloudy with some Rain last night.—

Wednesday—Feby 27. Very little wind & that Southerly, but rain’d off and on the whole day. Continued plowing while the weather wou’d permit; and the people, viz: George, Kate, Doll & little George, were employ’d in grubbing the field by the garden.

Nation’s horse, that was destrained on for my rent, was sold at Publick Auction to Mr Tom Triplet for £5.—

Peter had got his coal drawn and brought in one load.

Thursday—Feb’y 28th. Measur’d the fields by the quarter and garden, as the Fence was intended to be run, and found Six acres [in] the former and nine in the latter.

Also run round the fields in the lower pasture, according as the dividing fence is to go; but the compass being bad, or some mistake happening I cou’d not close the plot with any exacting.—

Finish’d grubbing the field by the garden—

Between sun setting and dark came Mr Ramsay, Mr Piper, Captn. Stanly and Captn. Littledale— * * *

Friday Feb’y 29th. The Rain continud by intervals through the night, and till afternoon, when the wind came to No. West, and ceasd growing clear.—Stop’d my plows.

The gentlemen din’d here to-day, and two, viz. Mr Ramsay and Captain Stanley, returnd to Alexandria. The others went to Belvoir.

A very great circle round the Moon.

Saturday, Mar. 1. 1760. Finishd Bottling 91 dozn. Cyder.—

* * * * * * *

The Ground being hard froze stop’d my plows this day also. And employ’d all hands in running the dividing fence of my pastures.

Travers’d the fields in the Lower pasture again and set a course from the head of the drain that runs into my Meadow.

which leaves in the Tobo. House Field
. and in the other
— also found the contents of my meadow
to be pointed measurd. — and that the Pocoson at Cotton patch
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Note, the Ground cleard this year measures

And the fallow ground is only

the Marsh and Pocoson at the Creek point contains—

Sunday—Mar. 2. * * * Mr Clifton came here today, and under pretence of his wife not consenting to acknowledge her right of dower wanted to disengage himself of the bargain he had made with me, or his land on the 26th. past, and by his shuffling behavior on the occasion convinc’d me of his being the trifling body represented.

Monday—Mar 3d. Bought 100 Bushels of Oats at ½ of Reuben Joyne.

Finishd plowing the clover field but not the dividing fence in the pastures. * * *

Tuesday—Mar 4th. * * * Plows stop’d, but the dividing fence finish’d. Gave up the horse cart and the dun horse and Jack to R. Stephens.

Wednesday—Mar 5. High wind from the west the day clear and somewhat cold. Began plowing the field by the garden for lucerne. Put in the great bay mare of King. The latter cou’d not be prevail’d upon to plow; the other did very well.—But the plows run very badly. Finishd plow harness for my chariot horses.

Thursday—Mar. 6. Fitted a two eyed plow instead of a Duck Bill plow, and with Much difficulty made my chariot wheel horses plow.

Survey’d Captn. Posey’s 145 acres of woodland ground which he bought of my Brother Charles and find some of the courses and distances to vary from those in the deeds and that 136 acres only are included.

Also run the upper courses of Trent’s Land and find some great Errors, as may be seen by my plot of it. * * *

Friday—March 7th. * * * Put the Pole end Horses into the Plow in the morning; and the postilion and hand horse in in the afternoon: but the ground been well swarded over and very heavy plowing, I repented putting them in at all, for fear it should give them a habit of stopping in the chariot.

Saturday—Mar. 8. North Et wind and rain—Plow stop’d. Gave Captn. Cawsey’s skipper, namely William Vicars, 1 Tobacco Edition: current; Page: [155] Note and an Order on Hunting Creek Warehouses for 7 Hhds of my Mountain Tobacco * * *

Monday—Mar. 10th. North West Wind and clear but the ground too wet for plowing. Rode to my plantation, and the mill and there partly agreed with Jerry Mitchell to rebuild my Mill when she runs dry in the summer. Dispatch’d Mulatto Jack to Frederick for some mares from thence to plow. The snow which was not more than an Inch & half deep was entirely dissolvd today.

Tuesday—Mar. 11th. Visited at Colo. Fairfax’s and was informd that Clifton had sold his land to Mr Thompson Mason for 1200£ sterling, which fully unravelled his conduct on the 2nd and convinc’d me that he was nothing less than a thorough pac’d rascall disregardful of any engagements of words or oaths not bound by penalties.— * * *

Wednesday—Mar. 12. Return’d home. Mrs Carlyle accompanying us, the day being exceeding fine. Wind at South.

Found William Ludwick here with one Beef from Frederick. He set of with two but lamed the other and left him at Ric’d Coleman’s at the Sugar Lands.

Thursday—Mar. 13th. Incessant Rain and No.Et. wind.—Mr Carlyle (who came here from Port Tobo. Court last night,) and Mrs Carlyle were confin’d here all day.

Mulatto Jack return’d home with the Mares he was sent for; but so poor were they, and so much abus’d had they been by my rascally overseer, Hardwick, that they were scarce able to highlone, much less to assist in the business of the plantations.—

Friday—Mar. 14th. * * * Mr Carlyle and his wife still remaind here. We talk’d a good deal of a Scheme of setting up an Iron Work on Colo. Fairfax’s land on Shannandoah. Mr Chapman who was propos’d as a partner, being a perfect Judge of these matters was to go up and view the conveniences and determine the scheme.—

Saturday, Mar. 15: Snow’d in the morning, but afterwards clearing—Mr Carlyle and his wife returnd home.

Wm Ludwick & the boy (Nat) who came down with him went up for the same beef they left upon the road coming down.

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The Vast quantity of rain which had fallen in the last two days had swelld the waters so high that Dogue Run carried of the tumbling dam of my mill and was near carrying of the house also.—

Wind at No. Et. and from a settled Sky. Sent word to Mr Clifton by my Negro Will—that I shou’d be glad to see him here in the morning, having something to propose to him.

The bad weather this week put put a total stop to plowing except a little on Wednesday with one plow.

Monday—Mar. 17th. * * * Went to my Mill and took a view of the ruins the fresh had caused. Determind however to repair it with all expedition, and accordingly set my carpenters to making Wheel and Hand-barrows.

Beef from Coleman’s was brought down.

Mr. Posey being here and talking of the Orphan Fren’s Land adjoining mine on Dogne Run, he undertook to purchase it for me of the said Orphan Diana, who lives at Naugany in Maryland with one—Wright, who, I think he said, married her Aunt. Mr. Posey thinks it may be bought for £50 or 60 pound & there shou’d be 207 acres of it.—

Tuesday Mar. 18th.— * * * Went to Court, partly on my own private business, and partly on Clifton’s affair, but the Commissioners not meeting nothing was done in regard to the Latter. Much discourse happened between him and I concerning his ungenerous treatment of me, the whole turning to little account, t’is not worth reciting here. The result of which was that [for] £50 more than Mr Mason offer’d him, he undertook if possible to disengage himself from that gentleman, and to let me have his land. I did not think myself restrain’d by any rules of honor conscience, or &c. after making him this offer, as his Lands were first engaged from me by the most solemn assurances that any man cou’d give.—

Mr. Johnston not being in town I coud not get Mr. Darrel’s Deeds to acknowledge. Killd the Beeves that came from Frederick.

Wednesday Mar. 19. * * * Peter (my Smith) and I, after several efforts to make a plow after a new model, partly of Edition: current; Page: [157] my own contriving, was feign to give it out, at least for the present.

Snow but little dissolvd—Col. Fairfax & Mrs F—x came here in the evening.

Thursday—Mar. 20th. Cold Northerly Wind. Colo. F—x and I set out to Alexandria by appointment, to settle & adjust (with the other Commissioners) Clifton and Darrel’s accounts, conformable to a decree of our General Court; but not being able to accomplish it then, the 28th. was a further day appointed to meet, and my house the place resolv’d upon.—

Friday—Mar. 21st. Colo. Fairfax and Mrs F—x return’d home.— * * *

Sunday, Mar. 23d. Southerly wind and warm. Miss Fairfax and Miss Dent came here.—

Monday—Mar 24th. Began repairing my Mill Dam, with hands from all my quarters, carpenters Included.

In digging Earth for this purpose great Quantities of Marle or fuller’s Earth appear’d.

In the Evening, in a Bed that had been prepard with a mixture of Dung on Saturday last, I sowed clover Lucerne and Rye Grass seeds in the garden, to try their goodness, doing it in the following order:—at the end next the corner were two rows of Clover seed—in the 3d. 4. 5. & 6th. Rye Grass, the last row thinest Sow’d 7th. & 8th. Barley (to see if it would come up) the last also thinest sown—9. 10. 11. 12th. Lucerne.—first a few seeds at every 4 Inches distance the next thicker & so on to the last wch. was very thick.

Carried the Sows I bot of George Taylor to my Mill by water.

Tuesday—Mar. 25th. Set one Plow to Work on the Field below the Garden.—

All hands being employd on the dam again, the water was stop’d. and the work in a fair way of receiving a finish by tomorrow night.—

The wind was southerly—the Day Changeable.—

Mrs. Posey & some young woman, whose name was unknown to any body in this family, din’d here.

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Wednesday—Mar. 26. One Plow at Work to day also. Miss Dent and Miss Fairfax returnd home. My Dam was entirely compleated by Evening.—

Spent the greatest part of the day in making a new plow of my own invention.

Wind at No. West & very boisterous.—

Thursday—Mar. 27. Southerly wind—day warm and very fine.—

Sat my plow to work and found she answerd very well in the field in the lower Pasture, which I this day began Plowing with the large Bay Mare & Rankin—Mulatto Jack continuing to plow the Field below the Garden.

Agreed to give Mr William Triplet £18, to build the two houses in the front of my house (plastering them also) and running walls for Pallisades to them from the Great House & from the Great House to the Wash House and Kitchen also.—

Friday—Mar. 28. According to appointment Colo. F—x and Mr. Green met here upon Clifton’s affair, he being present; as was Mr Thompson Mason (as Counsel for him). Mr Digges and Mr Addison were also here; and after examining all the Papers and Accounts on both sides and stating them in the manner which seem’d most equitable to us. The debt due from Mr. Clifton according to that settlement amounted to £ that is to say—

to Mr Carroll £

to Mr Tasker pr Mr Digges

to Do pr. Mr Addison—

We also agreed to report several things which appear’d necessary, as well in behalf of Mr. Clifton as the other party.

The Gentlemen from Maryland, Mr. Mason and Clifton left this; but Colo. Fairfax and Mr. Green stay’d the night.

About noon Mulatto Jack finish’d plowing the field below the garden, and went into the lower pasture to work. * * *

Saturday Mar. 29th. About noon set one plow into the fallow ground below the Hill, and about an hour before Sunset the other. * * *

Monday Mar. 31st. * * * Went to Belvoir (according to appointment on the 28th. past,) and drew up and sign’d a report Edition: current; Page: [159] of our proceedings in Clifton’s affair to be sent with the accts to the General Court.

Finishd plowing the fallow’d ground about Sun setting.

Mr. Walter Stuart, who I met with at Belvoir gave me a letter from Dr. Macleane and another from Bishop.

The latter very desirous of returning but enlisted in the 44th Regiment. The former wrote to Colo. Byrd to ask his discharge of the General.

Wrote to Lieutt Smith to try if possible to get me a careful Man to overlook my Carpenters. Wrote also to Hardwick ordering down two mares from thence and desiring him to engage me a ditcher. Inclosed a letter from my Brother John to his Overseer, Farrell Littleton, and directed him what to do if the Small pox should come amongst them.—

Tuesday, April 1—1760. Cross’d plowd the fallow field today which contains 3—2—38, which shews that 2 acres a day, in level ground already broke up, may easily be accomplished.

Doctor Laurie came here. The Wind at No West, weather clear, somewhat cold and drying. Moon at its first rising remarkably red. Received a letter from Mr. Digges inclosing a packet for Messrs. Nicholas & Wythe, which he desir’d I wou’d send under Cover to some friend of mine in Williamsburg, as it was to go by Clifton, suspecting that Gentleman wou’d not deal fairly by it.

Began to prepare a small piece of Ground of about — yards square at the lower corner of my garden to put trefoil in—a little seed given me by Colo. F—x, Yesterday.

Wednesday Apl. 2d.—Got the above ground ready for Sowing tomorrow.

Began to cross plow the first plow’d ground in the lower pasture, endeavoring to get it in Order for sowing Lucerne seed in. * * *

Thursday April 3d. Sow’d 17½ drills of trefoil seed in the ground adjoining the garden, numbering from the side next the Stable (or Work shop), the residue of them viz: 4 was sow’d with Lucerne seed. Both done with design to see how these seeds answer in that ground.—

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Sowd my fallow field in Oats today, and harrow’d them in, viz: 10½ bushels got done about three oclock.—

Cook Jack after laying of the lands in this field went to plowing in the 12 acre field, where they were yesterday, as did the other plow abt. 5 o’clock after pointing.—

Got several composts and laid them to dry in order to mix with the Earth brought from the field below, to try their several virtues. * * *

Friday Apl 4th. Sow’d about one Bushel of barley in a piece of ground near the tobacco house in the 12 acre field.—

Harrow’d and cross’d harrowd the ground in the said field intended for Lucerne.

Apprehending the herrings were come, hauled the sein, but catch’d only a few of them tho’ a good many of other sorts.

Maj Stewart and Doctr Johnston came here in the Afternoon; and at Night, Mr. Richie attended by Mr. Ross, solliciting freight.—Promis’d none.

Saturday, April 5th. Planted out 20 young pine trees at the head of my cherry Walk.

Recd my Goods from York.

Haul’d the Sein again; catch’d 2 or 3 white fish, more herring than yesterday and a great number of Cats.

Richie and Ross went away.

Made another plow the same as my former, excepting that it has two eyes and the other one. * * *

Sunday, April 6th. * * * I just perceiv’d the Rye grass seed, which I sow’d in the garden to try its goodness, was beginning to come up pretty thick; the clover lucerne, and barley I discovered above ground, on the first instant.

Majr Stewart and Doctr. Johnston set out for Winchester.

Monday April 17th. * * * In the Evening Colo. Frog came here and made me an offer of 2400 Acres of Land wch he has in Culpeper for £400. This land lyes (according to his account) 46 Miles above The Falls of Rappahannock, is well water’d timber’d and of a fertile soil; no implements on it. I told him that I wou’d get Captn Thomas Fitzhugh to give me his opinion of the land, when he went next to his quarter not far from it; or I wou’d take it in my way from Edition: current; Page: [161] Frederick, when I next went up there as it lies he says only 8 miles from the place where Josh. Nevil livd at the Pignut Ridge.

One Captn. Kennelly [Connolly?] lives within a mile of the land and is well acquainted with it.

People kept Holliday.

Tuesday, April 8th. What time it began raining in the night I cant say, but at day break it was pouring very hard, and continued so, till 7 o’clock when a Messenger came to inform me that my Mill was in great danger of blowing. I immediately hurried off all hands with shovels &c to her assistance and got there myself just time enough to give her a reprieve for this time by wheeling dirt into the place which the water had wash’d.

While I was here a very heavy Thunder shower came on which lasted upwards of an hour.—

Here also, I tried what time the Mill requir’d to grind a bushel of corn, and to my Surprize found she was within 5 minutes of an hour about this. Old Anthony attributed to the low head of water, but whether it was so or not I can’t say—her works [being] all decayd and out of Order, which I rather take to be the cause.

This bushel of corn when ground measurd near a peck more Meal. * * *

Wednesday Apl 9th. * * * The heavy rains that had fallen in this few days past had made the ground too wet for plowing; I therefore set about the Fence which Incloses my Clover Field.

Doctr Laurie came here, I may add drunk.

Observed the trefoil which I sow’d on the 3d instt. to be coming up, but in a Scattering manner. The lucerne which was sow’d at the same time and in the same manner, appear’d much better, & forwarded.

Thursday Apl. 10th. Mrs. Washington was blooded by Doctr Laurie who stay’d all night.

This morning my plows began to work in ye clover field, but a hard shower of rain from No. Et. (where the wind hung all day) abt 11 o’clock stop’d them for the remainder of the Edition: current; Page: [162] day. I therefore employd the hands in making two or three hauls of the Sein, and found that the Herrings were come.

Val. Crawford brought me 4 Hhds of my Mountain Tobacco to the Warehouses in Alexandria, two in my own Waggon, and with a plow such as they use mostly in Frederick, came here in the night.

He inform’d me of my worthy Overseer Hardwick’s lying since the 17th Ulto. in Winchester of a broken leg.

Friday April 11th. Set one Plow to work again in the Morning; the other about 10 o’clock in the clover field.

Try’d the new plow brought yesterday, found she did good work and run very true but heavy, rather too much so for two horses, especially while the ground was moist.

Abt. 11 o’clock, set the people to hauling the sein, and by night; and in the night catch’d and dress’d — barrels of herring and 60 White fish.

Observ’d that the flood tide was infinitely the best for these fish. * * *

Saturday April 12th. * * * Hauld the Sein but without success, some said it was owing to the wind setting of the shore, which seems in some measure confirm’d by the quantity we catch’d yesterday when the Wind blew on upon it.

About 11 o’clock finish’d plowing the clover field; about 1, Mulatto Jack began harrowing it with the wide toothd harrow, and got half over the Field by night. Cook Jack went to Plowing in the 12 Acre Field.

Perceiv’d my Barley and Oats to be coming up very thick and well.

Engag’d 150 Bushels of Oats of an Eastern shore Man and got 40 of them landed before I found they were damag’d.

Sunday April 13th. * * * My Negroes askd the lent of the Sein to-day but caught little or no fish.—Note, ye wind blew upon the shore to-day.

Monday April 14th. Fine warm day, Wind Soly and clear till the evening when it clouded; No fish were to be catch’d today neither.

Mix’d my compost in a box with ten apartments, in the following manner, viz:—in No 1. is three pecks of the earth Edition: current; Page: [163] brought from below the hill out of the 46 acre field without any mixture;—in No. 2—is two pecks of the said earth and one of marle taken out of the said field, which marle seem’d a little inclinable to sand.

3. Has—2 Pecks of said earth, and 1 of river side sand

4. Has a peck of horse dung.

5. Has mud taken out of the creek

6. Has cow dung.

7. Marle from the gulleys on the Hill side which seem’d to be purer than the other.

8. Sheep Dung.—

9. Black mould taken out of the Pocoson on the creek side.

10. Clay got just below the garden.

All mix’d with the same quantity and sort of earth in the most effectual manner by reducing the whole to a tolerable degree of fineness and jabling them well together in a Cloth.

In each of these divisions were planted three grains of wheat, 3 of oats, and as many of barley—all at equal distance in rows, and of equal depth (done by a machine made for the purpose).

The wheat rows are next the number’d side, the oats in the middle, and the barley on that side next the upper part of the garden.—

Two or three hours after sowing in this manner, and about an hour before Sunset I water’d them all equally alike with water that had been standing in a tub about two hours exposed to the Sun.

Began drawing bricks, burning lime and preparing for Mr. Triplet, who is to be here on Wednesday to work.

Finish’d harrowing the clover field, and began the harrowing of it.—Got a new harrow made of smaller and closer tinings for harrowing in grain; the other being more proper for preparing the ground for sowing.

Cook Jack’s plow was stopd, he being employ’d in setting the lime kiln.

Tuesday April 15th. Sent Tom and Mike to Alexandria in my boat for 20 or 25 bushels of oats.

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Went up myself there to Court, after calling at Mr. Green’s & leaving Mrs. Washington there.

Mr. Darrell not being there, the execution of his Deeds were again put off.

Being informd that French, Triplet and others were about buying (in conjunction) a piece of land of Simon Pierson lying not far from my Dogue Run Quarters, I engag’d him to give me first offer of it so soon as he should determine upon selling it.— * * *

Wednesday Apl. 16. My boat which the wind and rain prevented from returning yesterday came home this morning, the wind being at north west and fresh.

Mr. Triplet & his brother came this day to work. About 10 o’clock they began, and got the wall between the house and dairy finished.

Thinking the ground rather too wet for Sowing, I set my horses to carting rails, and both my plows were stop’d, Cook Jack being employ’d about the Lime.

Finish’d a roller this day for rolling my grain.

Thursday April 17th. By 3 o’clock in the afternoon Mr. Triplet finish’d the wall between the dairy and kitchen. The Rain from that time prevented his working.

Sow’d my clover field with oats, 24 bushels. The upper part next the peach orchard was harrowed in during the rain, but before it began to clog much.

Also sowed 18 rows of lucerne in the 12 acre field below the hills; the first 4 rows were sowd in drills, the others by a line stretch’d and the seed raked in.

Richd Stephens brought down 9 Hogsheads of tobacco to go to the Inspection at Hunting, in a flat which I borrow’d (or I rather suppose hir’d), from Messrs. Carlyle and Dalton—which flat brought down 4 barrels of Corn—being, part of eight that I was to have had of William Garner at the rate of 9/pr barrel, to be pain in pistoles or dollars. It seems the other 4 barrels I am to get from Garner’s house. * * *

Friday April 18th. Righted up all my Fencing.

Planted other pine trees in the fenc’d place at the corner of the garden the first being broke, and much hurt by creatures.

Began Sowing my Clover and got 4 Acres Sow’d—14 lb to Edition: current; Page: [165] the acre. Harrowd it in with the fine tooth’d harrow, as light as I could.

Try’d my roller which find much too light.

Sow’d 69 rows more of lucerne, which makes 87 in all.

Got my cloaths &c packed up for my journey to Williamsberg tomorrow.—

Mr. Barne’s Davy brought home my Negroe fellow, Boson, who ran away on Monday last.

Saturday Apl. 19th. Crossd at Mr. Posey’s Ferry and began my journey to Williamsburg about 9 o’clock. About 11 I broke my chair and had to walk to Port Tobacco, where I was detain’d the whole day getting my chair mended, no Smith being with 6 miles. Lodg’d at Doctr. Halkerton’s.

Sunday April 20th. Set out early, and cross’d at Cedar Point by 10, the day being very calm and fine. Din’d and lodg’d at my Brother’s. The Evening cloudy with rain. Wind, tho’ little at So West.

Monday Apl 21st. Crossd at Southern’s and Tods Bridge and lodg’d at Major Gaines’s.

Tuesday April 22d. Crossd Pamunky at Williams’s Ferry, and visited all the Plantations in New Kent. Found the Overseer’s much behind hand in their business. Went to Mrs. Dandridge’s and lodg’d.

Wednesday April 23d. Went to Colo Bassett’s and remaind there the whole day.

Thursday April 24th. Visited my quarters at Claiborne’s, and found their business in tolerable forwardness. Also went to my other Quarter at where there was an insufficient quantity of ground prepard, but all that cou’d be had, it was said.

Din’d at Mr. Bassett’s and went in the evening to Williamsburg.

Friday Aprl 25th. Waited upon the Govr.

Saturday Apl 26th. Visited all the Estates and my own quarters about Williamsburg, found these also in pretty good forwardness.

Receiv’d letters from Winchester, informing me that the small pox had got among my quarter’s in Frederick; determin’d therefore to leave town as soon as possible and proceed up to them.

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Sunday Apl. 27th. Went to church. In the afternoon some rain and a great deal of severe lightning, but not much thunder.

Monday Apl 28th. Let my House in town to Colo Moore, for Colo Dandridge, who is to come into it in the fall and pay me 45 £ per annum. In the mean while I am to paint it.

In the afternoon, after collecting what money I coud I left town and reach’d Colo Bassett’s.

This day agreed with Mr. Jno. Driver, of Nansemond, for 25,000 shingles to be deliver’d in October. They are to be 18 inch shingles, and of the best sort. Desir’d him, if he cou’d not cause them to be deliver’d for 18 / a Thousand, not to send them but let me know of it as soon as possible.

Tuesday Apl. 29th. Reach’d Port Royal by Sunset.—

Wednesday 30th. Came to Hoes Ferry by 10 o’clock, but the wind blew too fresh to cross: detain’d there all night.

Thursday May 1st. Got over early in the morning and reachd home before dinnertime, and upon enquiry found that my clover field was finish’d sowing and rolling the Saturday I left home; as was the sowing of my lucerne, and that on the — they began sowing the last field of oats and finish’d it the 25th.

That in box No. 6, two grains of wheat appeard on the 20th.; one an Inch high. On the 22 a grain of Wheat in No 7 and 9 appear’d. On the 23d, after a good deal of rain the night before, some stalks appeard in Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, & 8, but the ground was so hard bak’d by the drying winds when I came home, that it was difficult to say which Nos. look’d more thriving. However in

No. 1 There was nothing come up.
No. 2. 2 Oats. 1. Barley
No. 3. 1 Oat. 2. barley
No. 4. 1 Oat. 4.
No. 5. 1 Wheat 2. Oats
No. 6. 1 Wheat 3 Oats 1 barley
No. 7. 1 Wheat 2 Oats 2 barley
No. 8. 1 Wheat 1 Oats
No. 9. 2 Wheat 3 Oats 2 barley
No. 10. 1 barley
Edition: current; Page: [167]

The two grains in No. 8 were I think rather the strongest, but upon the whole No. 9 was the best. * * *

Sunday May 4th. Warm and fine,—Set out for Frederick, to see my Negroes that lay ill of the Small pox. Took Church in my way to Coleman’s, where I arriv’d about Sun setting.—

Monday May 5th. Reachd Mr. Stephenson’s in Frederick abt 4 o’clock, just time enough to see Richd. Mount’s interred. Here I was inform’d that Harry and Kit, the two first of my Negroes that took the Small pox were dead, and Roger and Phillis, the only two down with it, were recovering from it. Lodgd at Mr. Stephenson’s.

Tuesday May 6. Visited my Brother’s Quarter, and just call’d at my own, in my way to Winchester, where I spent the day and evening with Colo. Byrd &c.

The Court was held to day at Stephen’s Town, but adjourn’d to Winchester to-morrow.—

Wednesday May 7. After taking the Doctor’s directions in regard to my people, I set out for my quarters and got there about 12 Oclock, time enough to go over them and find every thing in the utmost confusion disorder and backwardness—my Overseer lying upon his back of a broken leg, and not half a crop, especially of Corn ground prepar’d.—

Engag’d Vall Crawford to go in pursuit of a nurse, to be ready in case more of my people should be seizd with the same disorder.

Thursday May 8th. Got Blankets and every other requisite from Winchester, and settl’d things upon the best footing I cou’d to prevent the Small pox from spreading; and in case of its spreading for the care of the negroes—Mr. Val Crawford agreeing in case any more of the People at the lower quarter getting it, to take them home to his house, and if any of those at the upper quarter gets it, to have them remov’d into my room and the Nurse sent for.

Friday May 9th. Set out on my return home, the morning drizzling a little. call’d at the bloomery and got Mr. Wm. Crawford to shew me the place that has been so often talk’d of for erecting an iron Work upon.

The convenience of water is great. First it may be taken Edition: current; Page: [168] out of the river into a canal and a considerable fall obtain’d; & then a run comes from the Mountain on which the largest fall may [be] got with small labor and expence, but of the constancy of this Stream I know nothing nor cou’d Crawford tell me. I saw none of the Ore, but all people agree that there is an inexhaustible fund of that, that is rich. But wood seems an obstacle, not but that there is enough of it but the ground is so hilly and rugged as not to admit of making coal or transporting it—

I did not examine the place so accurately myself as to be a competent judge of this matter, and Mr Crawford says there will be no difficulty in the case.

Reach’d Coleman’s—

Saturday May 10 Arrivd at home about 10 o’clock where I found my brother John, and was told that my great Chestnut foalded [foaled] a horse colt on the 6 Instant, and that my Young peach trees were wed according to order.

The oats, and in short everything else, seem’d quite at a stand, from the dryness of the earth which was remarkably so, partly for want of rain and partly by the constant drying winds which have blown for some time past.—

Sunday May 11th. Mrs Washington went to church.—

My black pacing Mare was twice Cover’d—

Proposd a purchase of some Lands which Col F—x has at the mouth of the Warm Spring Run joining Barwick’s bottom. He promisd me the preference if he should sell, but is not inclined to do it at present. * * *

Friday May 16th. Still Cool and Windy, my People yet continuing at Muddy Hole—my Brother John left this and I got Nation’s Estate appraisd by Messrs McCarty, Barry & Triplet, as follows—viz:

s d
One old Gun & Lock 7—6
1 small Bell 2—6
1 Suit of Cloaths, viz: } 10—-
a Coat—Waist & Breeches }
Shirt Hat Shoes & Gaiters }
A Small parcel of Leather. 1.
Edition: current; Page: [169]

Saturday—May 17th. Mulatto Jack return’d from King William, with 3 yoke of oxen and lost Punch, the horse he rid.

Sent up 16 Hydes to Mr. Adams at Alexandria, viz:—

12 large & 4 small ones to be Tan’d—Brought a pipe of Wine from there, which Captn McKie brought from Madeira, also a Chest of lemons and some other trifles.

Began weeding my trefoil below the hill.

The Great Bay was coverd; and got an acct that the assembly was to meet on Monday. Resolvd to set off tomorrow.

Sunday May 18th. Set out in company with Mr. George Johnston. At Colchester was inform’d by Colos Thornton and Chissel that the Assembly would be broke up before I cou’d get down. Turn’d back therefore and found Colo Fairfax and his family, and that lightning, which had attended a good deal of rain, had struck my quarter and near 10 Negroes in it, some very bad but with letting blood they recoverd.

Monday May 19th. Went to Alexandria to see Captn. Littledale’s ship launchd, which went off extreamely well, this day was attended with slight shower’s. Colo. F—x had a Mare cover’d; so had Captn. Dalton.

Tuesday May 20 Being Court day Mr. Clifton’s land in the Neck was expos’d to sale, and I bought it for £1210 Sterling, under many threats and disadvantages paid the money into the Commissioner’s hands and return’d home at night with Colo Fairfax and Taylor. Captn Dalton’s Dun Mare again covd.

Wednesday May 21. Wrote to Messrs. Nicholas, & Wythe for advice how to act in regard to Clifton’s land. Sent the letter by the post. A good deal of rain in the night.

Colo Fairfax went home. Began shearing my sheep.

Thursday May 22d. Continued shearing my Sheep—A good deal of rain at night—and cool as it has been ever since the first rain on ye 12th.

Captn. Dalton had a Sorrel Mare coverd.—

My Black Mare that came [from] Frederick was coverd yesterday and the day before.

Captn. McCarty had a Mare coverd the 20th.

Edition: current; Page: [170]
George Washington
Washington, George
10 August, 1760
Mount Vernon,
Richard Washington
Washington, Richard


Dear Sir:

Colo. Fairfax’s departure for England in a ship for London, affords me the best opportunity imaginable to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of the 22d Novr., 12th Decr. and 26 March, which are all the letters I have received from you since those taken notice of in mine of the 20th of Septr. last.

I must confess that my disappointment in the sales of my tobacco per Cozzens, was a very sensible one, having seen no accounts of tobacco by that ship (till then) under £12 pr. hhd., and few, very few indeed, that did not average 14, and from that to 15 and 16 pounds pr. hhd: mine being all sweet scented and neatly managed, left me no room to suspect coming in at the tail of the market. The discouraging sales I have generally got for all tobacco shipped of my own growth, have induced me to dispose of my last year’s crop in the country, the price being good and certain. But this may not always happen, and while I can ship without loss, I shall always be glad to have it in my power of consigning you a part. I dare say your account current transmitted in December last, is very right; although I should have understood it better had you credited me for £50 insured on my tobacco per the Integrity, and made me debtor for the premio, &c. There is another article of interest short £12 which I should be glad to have explained; if it is for interest on the money you have lain in advance for me I am extremely willing to Edition: current; Page: [171] allow it, thinking it just and never intending to put you to the least inconvenience on my account. I hope, before this letter can have reached you, that you have recovered my loss of goods retaken in Captain Down’s.

The French are so well drubbed, and seem so much humbled in America, that I apprehend our generals will find it no difficult matter to reduce Canada to our obedience this summer.1 But what may be Montgomery’s fate in the Cherokee country I cannot so readily determine. It seems he has made a prosperous beginning, having penetrated into the heart of the country, and he is now advancing his troops in high health and spirits to the relief of Fort Loudoun. But let him be wary. He has a crafty, subtle enemy to deal with, that may give him most trouble when he least expects it.2 We are in pain here for the king of Prussia, and wish Hanover safe, these being events in which we are much interested.

Edition: current; Page: [172]

My indulging myself in a trip to England depends upon so many contingencies, which, in all probability, may never occur, that I dare not even think of such a gratification. Nothing, however, is more ardently desired. But Mrs. Washington and myself would both think ourselves very happy in the opportunity of showing you the Virginia hospitality, which is the most agreeable entertainment we can give, or a stranger expect to find, in an infant, woody country, like ours. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
10 August, 1760
Mount Vernon,


Gentln. * * *

Inclosed you are presented with the Memorandum for receiving the interest of the Bank-stock signd as directed.—The Estate not yet being so amply settled as it ought, an entire division has not been made, which leaves many matters upon a instable footing, and among the rest the money in your hands, which has not yet been assigned to individuals; altho’ I believe it will chiefly, if not all, fall into my part, since it best suits my purposes to have money that can be commanded, than money at interest. However till matters come to a more conclusive settlement, you may let the accounts stand as you have stated them, charging each party with their own drafts and orders, and letting the credits remain in favor of the Estate as a common stock, till further direction.

The tobacco shipped per the Fair American, Cary, and Russia Merchant, may be applied the same way; Edition: current; Page: [173] but the present (growing) crop will be shipped on my own and Mr. Parke Custis’s particular accounts (each having our Plantations allotted us,) and must be applied to our several credits as you will be directed. So must all ye remittances hereafter to be made.

The insurance on the tobacco per Talman was high, I think higher than expected.—And here, Gentlemen, I cannot forbear ushering in a complaint of the exorbitant prices of my goods this year all of which are come to hand (except those packages put on board Hooper):—For many years I have imported goods from London as well as other ports of Britain, and can truly say I never had such a penny worth before. It would be a needless task to enumerate every article that I have cause to except against. Let it suffice to say that Woolens, Linnens, Nails &c., are mean in quality, but not in price, for in this they excel indeed, far above any I have ever had.—It has always been a custom with me when I make out my invoices to estimate the charge of them. This I do for my own satisfaction, to know whether I am too fast or not, and I seldom vary much from the real prices, doing it from old notes and credits; but the amount of your invoice exceeds my calculations above 25 per cent, and many articles not sent that were wrote for.1

Edition: current; Page: [174]

I must once again beg the favor of you never to send me any goods but in a Potomack Ship, and for this purpose let me recommend Captn John Johnson in an annual ship of Mr. Russell’s to this River. Johnson is a person I am acquainted with, know him to be very careful, and he comes past my door in his ship. I am certain therefore of always having my goods landed in good time and order, which never yet has happened when they come into another river. This year the Charming Polly went into Rappa-hannock and my goods by her, received at different times and in bad order—the porter entirely drank out. There came no invoice of Mrs. Dandridge’s goods to me. I suppose it was forgot to be inclosed.

* * * * * *

As I shall write to you again by the fleet, I shall decline giving any directions about the busts, till then.1 Some time ago there was a prospect of Edition: current; Page: [175] making a large crop of tobacco this Summer, but a series of wet weather for near a month, with little or no intermission, has caused general complaints among the planters, and now it is feard that the crops will be very short, the tobacco in many places being under water and drowned, and in others suffering much by the spot, which is always a consequence of such rains.1

Edition: current; Page: [176]

My Steward on York River writes me that he has received the goods ordered from Glasgow—Inclosed I address you the copy of a letter wrote from Williamsburg, in April last. And in a letter of the 20th June, I advertised you of two drafts I had made upon you: the one in favor of Mr Jno. Addison for £364 19s. 0d.; and the other of Mr William Digges for £304 15s. 3d. These payments were in part for a valuable purchase I had just made of abt. 2000 acres of land adjoining this seat. There are more payments yet to make and possibly I may have occasion to draw upon you for a further sum; tho’ not more, I am well persuaded, than you have effects to answer. Yet if at any time a prospect of advantage should lead me beyond this a little, I hope their will be no danger of my bills returning. I mention this rather for a matter of information (in case of such an Event) than as a thing I ever expect to happen; for my own aversion to running in debt will always secure me against a step of this nature, unless a manifest advantage is likely to be the result of it.

Since writing the foregoing I have added to my landed purchase, and shall have occasion in a few days to draw upon you to the amount of about £250, payable to Mr Robt. Trent, save a Bill of about £40 which will be passd in favor of Mr Clifton. I am &c.

Edition: current; Page: [177]
George Washington
Washington, George
20 November, 1760
Mount Vernon,
Robert Mackenzie
Mackenzie, Robert


Dear Sir,

Had your favor of the 17th of August come to my hands before the 18th instant, I should not have given you the trouble of perusing my answer to it at this late season. I am sorry, that you should think it necessary to introduce a request to me, which is founded on reason and equity, with an apology. Had you claimed that as a right, which you seem to ask as a favor, I should have thought myself wanting in that justice, which is the distinguishing characteristic of an honest man, to have withheld it from you.

But how to answer your purposes, and at the same time to avoid the imputation of impertinence, I am, I confess, more at a loss to determine. That General Amherst may have heard of such a person as I am, is probable, and this I dare venture to say is the chief knowledge he has of me. How then should I appear to him in an epistolary way? And to sit down and write a certificate of your behavior carries with it an air of formality, that seems more adapted to the case of a soldier than that of an officer. I must, therefore, beg the favor of you to make what use you please of this letter.

For, Sir, with not more pleasure than truth, I can declare to you and the world, that while I had the honor of commanding the regiment, your conduct, both as an officer and a gentleman, was unexceptionable, and in every instance, as far as I was capable of discerning, such as to merit applause from better Edition: current; Page: [178] judges. Since my time, Colonel Byrd has been witness to your behavior, and his letter recommendatory must, I am persuaded, do you more service than my sanguine endeavors. Although neither he, nor any other person, is more sensible of your worth, or more inclined to contribute his best offices to the completion of your wishes, than, Sir, your obedient servant.1


George Washington
Washington, George
14 July, 1761
Mount Vernon,
Richard Washington
Washington, Richard


Dear Sir,

Since my last, by Mr Fairfax, I have had the pleasure of receiving your obliging favors of the 16th October and 1st of January following. A mixture of bad health and indolence together has kept me from paying that due respect to your letters, which I am sure they much merited at my hands till this time; and now, having nothing to relate that could in any wise claim your attention, I think I was inclined to a further delay, when it came into my head that having put six hogsheads tobacco on board the Phœnix, Captain McGachin, to your address, it would not be amiss to secure some part of the value by insurance, that in case the ship should meet with the fate attending many others in the same trade, I might not lose the whole; and therefore, Sir, I beg the favor of you to insure five pounds a hogshead on the tobacco accordingly.

Edition: current; Page: [179]

The entire conquest of Canada, and dispossession of the French in most parts of North America, becoming a story too stale to relate in these days, we are often at a loss for something to supply our letters with. True it is, the Cherokee nation, by a perfidious conduct, has caused Colonel Grant to be sent once more into their country with an armed force; but I believe their supplies from the French on Mobile River come in so slac, that they are more sincerely disposed to peace now than ever they were before. This pacifick turn may be caused in some measure, too, by another regiment in the pay of this colony, which is ordered to penetrate into their country by a different passage. But it is generally thought, that their submission will put a stop to any further progress of our arms.1

We have received the account of Belle Isle’s reduction, and hear of another expedition fleet destined for some service, of which we are ignorant. But that, which most engrosses our attention at this time, is the congress at Augsburg, as I believe nothing is more sincerely desired in this part of the world, than an honorable peace.

Colo. Fairfax very much surprizes his friends in Virginia by not writing to any of them. Just upon his arrival at London he favored a few with a short Edition: current; Page: [180] letter advertising them of that agreeable circumstance and I have heard of no other letter that has come from him since, altho’ I have seen some from the ladies, the superscription of which has been in his handwriting. I am &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
26th Aug., 1761
Reverend Charles Green
Green, Reverend Charles


Rev’d Sir,

I should think myself very inexcusable were I to omit so good an opportunity as Mr. Douglass’s return from these Springs, of giving you some account of the place and of our approaches to it.

To begin then;—We arrived here yesterday, and our journey as you may imagine was not of the most agreeable sort, through such weather and such roads as we had to encounter; these last for 20 or 25 miles from hence are almost impassible for carriages, not so much from the mountainous country, (but this in fact is very rugged,) as from trees that have fallen across the road and rendered the way intolerable.

We found of both sexes about 200 people at this place, full of all manner of diseases and complaints; some of which are much benefited, while others find no relief from the waters.—Two or three doctors are here, but whether attending as physicians or to drink of the waters I know not.

It is thought the Springs will soon begin to lose their virtues, and the weather get too cold for people Edition: current; Page: [181] not well provided to remain here. They are situated very badly on the East side of a steep Mountain, and inclosed by hills on all sides, so that the afternoon’s Sun is hid by 4 o’clock and the fogs hang over us till 9 or 10 which occasion great damps, and the mornings and evenings to be cool.

The place I am told, and indeed have found it so already, is supplyed with provisions of all kinds; good beef and venison, fine veal, lambs, fowls, &c. &c., may be bought at almost any time, but lodgings can be had on no terms but building for them; and I am of opinion that numbers get more hurt by their manner of lying, than the waters can do them good. Had we not succeeded in getting a tent and marquee from Winchester we should have been in a most miserable situation here.

In regard to myself I must beg leave to say, that I was much overcome with the fatigue of the ride and weather together. However, I think my fevers are a good deal abated, although my pains grow rather worse, and my sleep equally disturbed. What effect the waters may have upon me I can’t say at present, but I expect nothing from the air—this certainly must be unwholesome. I purpose to stay here a fortnight and longer if benefitted.

I shall attempt to give you the best discription I can of the stages to this place, that you may be at no loss, if after this account you choose to come up.

Toulson I should recommend as the first; Majr. Hamilton’s or Israel Thompson’s the 2d; ye one about 30, the other 35 miles distant. From thence Edition: current; Page: [182] you may reach Henry Vanmeter’s on Opeckon Creek or Captain Pearis’s 4 miles on this side, which will be about 35 miles; and then your journey will be easy the following day to this place.

I have made out a very long, and a very dirty letter, but hurry must apologize for the latter, and I hope your fondness will excuse the former. Please to make my compliments acceptable to Mrs. Green and Miss Bolan and be assured Revd. Sir that with a true respect I remain &c.

P. S. If I could be upon any certainty of your coming, or could only get 4 days previous notice of your arrival, I would get a house built such as are here erected, very indifferent indeed they are tho’, for your reception.

Since writing the above, Mr. Douglass lost his horse and was detained, but I met with a Fairfax man returning home, who is to be back again immediately for his wife. This person I have hired to carry some letters to Mrs. Washington, under whose cover this goes; by him you are furnished with an opportunity of honoring me with your commands, if you retain any thoughts of coming to this place. I think myself benefited by the waters, and am now with hopes of their making a cure of me. Little time will show now.

Edition: current; Page: [183]
George Washington
Washington, George
20 October, 1761
Mount Vernon,
Richard Washington
Washington, Richard


Dear Sir,

Since my last, of the 14th July, I have in appearance been very near my last gasp. The indisposition then spoken of increased upon me, and I fell into a very low and dangerous state. I once thought the grim king would certainly master my utmost efforts, and that I must sink, in spite of a noble struggle; but, thank God, I have now got the better of the disorder, and shall soon be restored, I hope, to perfect health again.

I dont know, that I can muster up one tittle of news to communicate. In short, the occurrences of this part of the world are at present scarce worth reciting; for, as we live in a state of peaceful tranquillity ourselves, so we are at very little trouble to inquire after the operations against the Cherokees, who are the only people that disturb the repose of this great continent, and who, I believe, would gladly accommodate differences upon almost any terms; not, I conceive, from any apprehensions they are under, on account of our arms, but because they want the supplies, which we and we only can furnish them with. We catch the reports of peace with gaping mouths, and every person seems anxious for a confirmation of that desirable event, provided it comes, as no doubt it will, upon honorable terms.1

Edition: current; Page: [184]

On the other side is an invoice of clothes, which I beg the favor of you to purchase for me, and to send them by the first ship bound to this river. As they are designed for wearing-apparel for myself, I have committed the choice of them to your fancy, having the best opinion of your taste. I want neither lace nor embroidery. Plain clothes, with a gold or silver button, (if worn in genteel dress,) are all I desire. I have hitherto had my clothes made by one Charles Edition: current; Page: [185] Lawrence, in Old Fish Street. But whether it be the fault of the tailor, or the measure sent, I cant say, but, certain it is, my clothes have never fitted me well. I therefore leave the choice of the workman to your care likewise. I enclose a measure, and, for a further insight, I dont think it amiss to add, that my stature is six feet; otherwise rather slender than corpulent.

Edition: current; Page: [186]


George Washington
Washington, George
30 October, 1762
Mount Vernon,
George William Fairfax
Fairfax, George William


Dear Sir,

I am sorry to be the messenger of the news, but it is incumbent upon me to inform you of the death of the mare, you committed to my care. How she died, I am able to give you but a very unsatisfactory account. For on the 3rd inst., I set out for Frederick and left her to all appearance as well as a creature could be, Mr. Green and I observing a day or two before, how fat and frolicksome she seemed. And on my return in 8 days time, I got the news of her death. She discovered no visible signs of ailment, as I am told, in the morning of the 7th, when let out of the stable; but before night was swelled to a monstrous size and died in a few hours. Bishop (my old servant) opened her, but could perceive no hurt bruise or other apparent cause of so sudden a death which inclines me to think it was occasioned by eating blasted corn, a piece of which I had in ground I wanted to clean and never could fence my chariot Horses of it. The rest consequently followed, and this I am persuaded puffed her up in the manner related. She had no foal in her, which assures me that she never would breed, as I am convinced, she had a competent share of Ariel’s performances; not content with which, she was often catched in amorous mood with a young horse of mine, notwithstanding my utmost endeavors to keep them under. You will feel the loss of this accident more sensibly but can not be more concerned at the account than I was, for Edition: current; Page: [187] I had pleased myself with the thoughts of delivering her to you in fine order, when you returned to below.

We received the news of your return with a great deal of pleasure and if there is any thing previous to it in which I can be serviceable, I hope you will command me. You did me singular services in a like case, and why won’t you give me an opportunity of making a grateful return. Mrs. Washington writes to Mrs. Fairfax under this cover, to whom and Miss Fairfax please to offer my best wishes. I am &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [188]


George Washington
Washington, George
26 April, 1763
Charles Lawrence
Lawrence, Charles


Mr. Lawrence.

Be pleased to send me a genteel suit of cloaths made of superfine broad cloth, handsomely chosen. I should have inclosed you my measure, but in a general way they are so badly taken here, that I am convinced it would be of very little service. I would have you, therefore, take measure of a gentleman who wares well-made cloaths of the following size: to wit, 6 feet high, and proportionably made;—if any thing rather slender than thick, for a person of that highth, with pretty long arms and thighs. You will take care to make the breeches longer than those you sent me last, and I would have you keep the measure of the cloaths you now make, by you, and if any alteration is required, in my next it shall be pointed out.

Note. for your further government and knowledge of my size, I have sent the inclosed, and you must observe that from the coat end—

To N° 1 & N° 3 is the size over the breast and hips;

N° 2 over the Belly, and

N° 4 round the arm and from the breeches end

To N° a is for waistband.

b thick of the Thigh

c upper button hole.

d kneeband—and

e for length of Breeches—therefore if you take measure of a person about 6 feet high of this bigness, I think you can’t go amiss. You must take notice the inclosd is the exact size without any allowance for seams, &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [189]
George Washington
Washington, George
April, 1763
Robert Stewart
Stewart, Robert


My Dear Stewart,

Your letters of the 18th January and 2d of March, came to my hands at the same time, about the 10th inst. I knew of no ship then on the point of sailing for any part of Great Britain, and therefore have been unavoidably silent till now; indeed I could have given but a very unsatisfactory answer before this. I participated in the pleasing prospect which seemed to flatter your wishes about the time of writing your first letter, as much as I felt for its reverse in the next; but human affairs are always chequered and vicissitudes in this life are rather to be expected than wondered at.

I wish, my dear Stewart, that the circumstances of my affairs would have permitted me to have given you an order upon any person, in the world, I might add—for £400 with as much ease & propriety as you seem to require it, or even for twice that sum if it would make you easy. But, alas! to show my inability in this respect, I enclose you a copy of Mr. Cary’s last account current against me, which, upon my honor and the faith of a Christian, is a true one and transmitted to me with the additional aggravation of a hint at the largeness of it. Messrs. Hanbury’s have also a ballance against me; and I have no other correspondents in England with whom I deal, unless it be with a namesake, for trifles such as Edition: current; Page: [190] cloaths; and for these I do not know whether the Ballance is for or against me.

This, upon my soul, is a genuine account of my affairs in England. Here they are a little better, because I am not much in debt. I doubt not but you will be surprized at the badness of their condition unless you will consider under what terrible management and disadvantages I found my estate when I retired from the publick service of this Colony; and that besides some purchases of Lands and Negroes I was necessitated to make adjoining me (in order to support the expences of a large family), I had Provisions of all kinds to buy for the first two or three years; and my Plantation to stock in short with every thing;—buildings to make and other matters which swallowd up before I well knew where I was, all the money I got by marriage, nay more, brought me in debt, and I believe I may appeal to to your own knowledge of my circumstances before.

I do not urge these things, my dear Sir, in order to lay open the distresses of my own affairs. On the contrary they should forever have remained profoundly secret to your knowledge, did it not appear necessary at this time to acquit myself in your esteem, and to evince my inability of exceeding £300, a sum I am now laboring to procure by getting money to purchase bills of that amount to remit to yourself; that Mr Cary may have no knowledge of the transaction since he expected this himself, and for which my regard for you will disappoint him—a regard of that high nature that I could never see you Edition: current; Page: [191] uneasy without feeling a part and wishing to remove the cause; and therefore when you complained of the mortification of remaining a subaltern in a corps you had frequently commanded the subs of I wanted you out, and hoped it might be effected—but I shall have done on the subject, giving me leave to add only that in case you should not have a call for the money (and your letter speaks of this) you will then be so good as to pay it to Mr. Cary, to whom I believe it will be no disagreeable tender and advise me thereof. The inclosed will inform you of what I have wrote to him on this head, which letter you may deliver or destroy at pleasure.

I am exceedingly obliged to you for your kind offers of services in London but I have nothing to give you the trouble of. I write in very great haste and know I may depend upon your Friendship to excuse any thing and every thing amiss in the Letter.1

George Washington
Washington, George
13 August, 1763
Mount Vernon,
Robert Stewart
Stewart, Robert


My Dear Stewart,

By Captain Walter Stuart I am favored with an opportunity of acknowledging the receipt of your Edition: current; Page: [192] letter of the 6th of June, and at the same time of forwarding the copy of my former (which was in readiness before that came to hand, and) which I incline to send, notwithstanding the original is got to hand, because it contains the second bills, and other matters entire as they ought to have been sent, and as I dare say Mr. Stuart will be so good as to deliver.

Another tempest has arose upon our frontiers, and the alarm spread wider than ever. In short, the inhabitants are so apprehensive of danger, that no families stand above the Conococheague road, and many are gone off below it. Their harvests are in a manner lost, and the distresses of the settlement appear too evident and manifold to need description. In Augusta many people have been killed, and numbers fled, and confusion and despair prevail in every quarter. At this instant a calm is taking place, which forebodes some mischief to Colonel Bouquet. At least those, who wish well to the convoy, are apprehensive for him; since it is not unlikely, that the retreat of all the Indian parties at one and the same time from our frontiers, is a probable proof of their assembling a force somewhere, and for some particular purpose, none more likely than to oppose his march.1

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It was expected, that our Assembly would have been called, in such exigences as these; but it’s concluded, (as I have been informed,) that an Assembly without money could be no eligible plan. To comprehend the meaning of this expression you must know, the Board of Trade, at the instance of the British merchants, have undertaken to rebuke us in the most ample manner for our paper emissions; and therefore the Governor and Council have directed one thousand militia to be employed for the protection of the frontiers, five hundred of whom are to be drafted from Hampshire &c, and to be under the command of Colonel Stephen, whose military courage and capacity, (says the Governor,) are well established. The other five hundred, from the southern frontier counties, are to be conducted by Major Lewis; so that you may readily conceive what an Edition: current; Page: [194] enormous expense must attend these measures. Stephen, immediately upon the Indians’ retiring, advanced to Fort Cumberland with two hundred or two hundred and fifty militia in great parade, and will doubtless achieve some signal advantage, of which the public will soon be informed.

I think I have now communicated the only news, which these parts afford. It is of a melancholy nature, indeed, and we cannot tell how or when it is to end. I hope you may have got matters settled to your liking before this time. I should rejoice to hear it, as I should at every thing that gives you pleasure or profit.

Mrs. Washington makes a tender of her compliments, and you may be assured that I am, with great sincerity, dear Sir, your most obedient and affectionate servant.


From Suffolk to Pocoson Swamp2 is reckoned about 6 miles, and something better than 4, perhaps 5 miles, from Colo. Reddick’s Edition: current; Page: [195] Mill Run (where the road crosses it). The land within this distance, especially after passing Willis Reddick’s, is level and not bad. The banks down to this (Pocoson) swamp declines gradually, and the swamp appears to be near 75 yards over, but no water in it at present. Note.—Willis Reddick’s plantation seems to be a good one, ye land being level and stiff, so does Henry Reddicks, above.

From Pocoson Swamp to Cyprus Swamp (which conducts more water into the Great Dismal Swamp than any one of the many that leads into it) is about 2½ miles. This also is dry at present, but appears to be 60 or 65 yards across in the wettest part.

The next Swamp to this is called Mossey Swamp, and distant about 3 miles. Near this place lives John Reddick on good land; but hitherto from Pocoson Swamp, the land lyes flat, wet and poor. This swamp is 60 yards over and dry.

Between Cyprus Swamp, and the last mentioned one, we went on horseback not less than ½ mile into the great swamp (Dismal) without any sort of difficulty, the horse not sinking over the fetlocks. The first quarter, however, abounding in pine and gallberry bushes, the soil being much intermixed with sand, but afterwards it grew blacker and richer with many young reeds and few pines,—and this, it may be observed here, is the nature of the swamp in general.

From Mossey Swamp to a branch, and a large one it is, of Oropeak (not less than 80 yards over) is reckoned 4 miles; two miles short of which is a large plantation belonging to one Brindle,1 near to which (on the south side) passes the Carolina line.

The Main Swamp of Oropeak is about ½ a mile onwards from this, where stands the Widow Norflets, Mi & Luke Sumner’s plantations. This swamp cannot be less than 200 yards across, but does not nevertheless discharge as much water as Cyprus Swamp.

At the mouth of this swamp is a very large meadow of 2 or 3000 acres, held by Sumner, Widow Norflet, Marmaduke Norflet, Powel and others, and valuable ground it is.

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From Oropeak Swamp to loosing swamp is about 2 miles, and this 70 yards across.

From hence again to Bassey Swamp the lower road may be allowed 2 miles more, but this swamp seems trifling.

And from Bassey Swamp to Horse Pool (which is the last, and including swamp running into the Dismal) is about 2 miles more and 35 yards across only.

The whole land from Pocoson Swamp to this place and indeed all the way to Pequemin Bridge, is in a manner a dead level, wet and cold in some place sandy in others, and generally poor.

This last-named swamp, viz., the Horse Pool, is called 9 miles from the upper bridge on Pequemin River; within a mile of which lives one Elias Stallens, and within 5 miles is the lower bridge, from whence to the bridge, or ferry over Little River is 15 measured miles, ye course nearly due south, as it likewise is from Suffolk to the said bridge, ye Dismal running that course from that place.

From little River bridge (or ferry) to Ralph’s ferry on Paspetank is (I think we were told) about 16 miles, the course east or northeast, and from thence, if the ferry is not crossed along up the west side of the river to the River bridge of the said Paspetank is reckoned—miles, and about a north west course, ye Dismal bordering close upon the left all the way.

Note. Ye above account is from information only, for instead of taking that rout, we crossed from Elias Stallens (one mile above the upper bridge on Pequemin) across to a set of people which inhabit a small slip of sand between the said river Pequemin and ye Dismal Swamp, and from thence along a new cut path through the main swamp, northwardly course for five miles, to the inhabitants of what they call new found land, which is thick settled, very rich land, and about 6 miles from the aforesaid river bridge of Paspetank. The arm of Dismal, which we passed through to get to this new land (as it is called) is 3¼ miles measured; little or no timber in it, but very full of reeds and excessive rich. Through this we carried horses, without any great difficulty.

This land was formerly esteemed part of the Dismal, but being higher, though full of reeds, people ventured to settle upon it, and as it became more open, it became more dry and is now prodigious fine land, but subject to wets and unhealthiness.

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It is to be observed here that the tide, or still water that comes out of the sound up Pequemin River flows up as high as Stallens, and the river does not widen much until it passes the lower bridge some little distance. At Ralph’s ferry upon Paspetank, the river is said to be 2 miles over, and decreases in width gradually to the bridge, called River bridge, where it is about 30 yards across, and affords sufficient water for New England vessels to come up and load.

From what observations we were capable of making it appeared as if the swamp had very little fall (I mean the waters out of the great swamp) into the heads of these rivers, which seems to be a demonstration that the swamp is much lower on the south and east sides, because it is well known that there is a pretty considerable fall on the west side through all the drains that make into Nansemond river and the western branch of Elizabeth, at the north end of the Dismal.1

From the River bridge of Paspetank to an arm of the Dismal at a place called 2 miles bridge is reckoned 7 miles, and a branch of Paspetank twice crossed in the distance.

This arm of the Dismal is equally good and rich like the rest, and runs (as we are informed) 15 or 20 miles easterly, and has an outlet (as some say) into Curratuck Inlet by North West River, or Tull’s Creek; but these accounts were given so indistinctly as not to be relied upon. However it is certain, I believe, that the water does drain off at the east end somewhere, in which case a common causeway through at ye crossing place would most certainly lay all that arm dry.

From this place, which is 2 miles over, to the Carolina line is Edition: current; Page: [198] about 4 miles, and from thence to North West Landing on North West River, a branch of Curratuck, is 3 miles more.

Note. The Carolina line crosses the swamp in a west direction, and is 15 miles from the place where it enters to its coming out of the same near Brindle’s plantation.1 Flats and small craft load at North West Landing.

To the great bridge from North West landing is accounted 12 miles; the lands good, as they are on all this (east) side and highly esteemed, valued in general according to the proprietor’s own accounts from 20/ to £3. per acre, but we were told they were to be had for less. This great bridge is upon the south Branch of Elizabeth River and about 10 miles from Norfolk, and heads in the Dismal, as does likewise North West River, Paspetank, Little River and Pequemin.2

From the Great Bridge to Colonel Tucker’s Mills is about 8 miles, within which distance several small creeks, making out of South River, head up in the Dismal.

Farley’s plantation, at the forks of the road, is reckoned 5 miles from the aforesaid mills, near to which the Dismal runs.

From hence to Robert’s ordinary is 6 miles, and from thence to Suffolk 10 more. The lands from the Great Bridge to within a mile or two of Robert’s is generally sandy and indifferent. From hence to Cowper’s Mill they are good, and from thence to Colonel Reddick’s mean again.

Note. From the River Bridge on Paspetank to the Great Bridge on South River the road runs nearly north, and from thence to Farley’s plantation it seems to be about west; from this again to Colonel Reddicks (or Suffolk) south west, and from thence to Edition: current; Page: [199] Pequemin bridge and Little River, south, as before mentioned.—The swamp bordering near to the road all the way round, in some places close adjoining and in others 2 and 3 miles distant.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
10 August—1764



Since my last of the first of May I have received the goods by Boyes; likewise the nails per Watson, with letters, accounts of Sales, accounts current, &c., which accompanied them. As also another letter of the 28th of March by Capt. Hooper.

It might possibly answer very little purpose were I to enter into a minute detail of the reasons that have caused me to fall so much in arrears to you. And therefore I shall not trouble you fully with the particulars at this time, but content myself with observing in as few words as the nature of the subject will admit of, that, in whatsoever light it may appear to you, it is not less evidently certain that mischances, rather than misconduct, hath been the causes of it. For it was a misfortune that seasons and chance should prevent my making even tolerable crops in this part of the Country for three years successively; and it was a misfortune likewise, when they were made, that I should get little or nothing for them. It may also be looked upon as unlucky at least, that the debts which I thought I had collected and actually did remit to you, should be paid in bills void of credit; and as things have turned out, (and you have Edition: current; Page: [201] such occasion for your money,) it is unlucky, likewise, that I made some purchases of land & slaves in this Country, since it obliged me to apply more of the current money (which was due to the Estate here,) towards the payment thereof than I expected, and of consequence more of the sterling ballance in your hands to the credit of Master Custis, in order to assign him his full dividend of the personal Estate; not conceiving in the least degree that I should have occasion for more of it than would remain after such application was made. Because had these bills been answered, had my crops proved good, and sold well, the Ballance, I think, could never have been against me. However, to be as short as possible, to remove the seeming apprehension (expressed in yours of the 13th of February,) of your suffering in point of interest for the Money you then discovered you stood in advance for me, I wrote you on the first of May following, that I had no sort of objections to allowing interest from thence forward, and desired you would charge it accordingly untill the debt was paid; not desiring that you, or any body else, should suffer in the most trivial instances on my account. And I shall now in consequence of your other letter of the 28th of March, beg leave to inform you in terms equally sincere and direct, that it is not in my power. I should add in a manner convenient and agreable to myself, to make remittances faster than my crops (and perhaps some few occasional sums which may fall in my way,) will furnish me with the means: but if, notwithstanding, you cannot be content with this mode Edition: current; Page: [202] of payments, you have only to advise me of it and I shall hit upon a method (tho’ I would choose to avoid it,) that will at once discharge the debt, and effectually remove me from all further mention of it. For I must confess, I did not expect that a correspondent so steady, and constant as I have proved and was willing to have continued to your house while the advantages were in any degree reciprocal, would be reminded in the instant it was discovered how necessary it was for him to be expeditious in his payments. Reason and prudence naturally dictate to every man of common sense the thing that is right; and you might have rested assured, that so fast as I could make remittances without distressing myself too much, my inclinations would have prompted me to it: because, in the first place, it is but an irksome thing to a free mind to be any ways hampered in debt; and in the next place I think I have discovered no intentions since I have found how the Ballance was likely to turn, of increasing that debt (unless it should appear in the amount of my invoices last year, which greatly indeed exceeded my expectations, but will be ballenced I hope by the contracted one of this year): but on the Contrary all the Willingness I could, under the accidents that have happened, of decreasing it to the utmost of my power. But I have already run into much greater prolixity on this head than I promised, or intended. Your answer will determine my measures, and upon this issue it must rest. * * *1

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George Washington
Washington, George
9 March, 1765
Mount Vernon,
Adam Stephens
Stephens, Adam



So soon as Mr. Lund Washington returns from Frederic, I shall cause my wheat to be deliveed at your landing, on Four Miles Run Creek, if flats can get to it conveniently; but previous to this, I should be glad to know determinately upon what terms you expect to receive it, that is, whether by weight or measure. I once thought I had agreed with Colonel Carlyle at fifty-eight pounds to the bushel, but it seems it was otherwise. Be that as it will, you may believe me sincere when I tell you, that it is a matter of very great indifference to me, whether it is fixed at this, or suffered to stand as it is. Consequently at any greater weight you may be assured I never shall, it being a thing extremely doubtful, from every trial I have been able to make with steelyards, whether I should gain or lose by a contract of this kind. The wheat from some of my plantations, by one pair of steelyards, will weigh upwards of sixty pounds, by another pair less than sixty pounds; and from some other places it does not weigh fifty-eight pound; and Edition: current; Page: [204] better wheat than I now have I do not expect to make during the term of our contract, at least whilst I continue to sow a good deal of ground.

The only reason, therefore, which inclines me to sell by weight at a medium, which I think just and equitable, is, that it may be a means of avoiding all kinds of controversy hereafter; for I am persuaded, that, if either of us gains by it, it must be you. I may be encouraged, indeed, to bestow better land to the growth of wheat than old corn ground, and excited perhaps to a more husbandlike preparation of it; but to do either of these is much more expensive, than the method now practised, and in fact may not be so profitable as the slovenly but easy method of raising it in corn ground. If it should, and my wheat be the better for it thereby, it is a truth I believe universally acknowledged, that, for every pound it gains after it is once got to a middling weight, it increases the flour in a tenfold proportion.

You were saying that the standard for wheat in Philadelphia was fifty-eight pounds, and at Lancaster sixty pounds. I have taken some pains to inquire, likewise, into this matter, and am informed, that fifty-eight is a much more general weight than the other all over Pennsylvania and Maryland (where their wheat is better than ours can be, till we get into the same good management); and Colonel Tucker’s miller, a man from the northward upon high wages, whom I saw whilst I was last below, assured me that very few bushels, out of the many thousands of wheat which he receives for Colonel Tucker, reached fifty-eight Edition: current; Page: [205] pounds. However, that you may not think I have other motives than those declared for mentioning these things, I shall only observe, that, as you are sensible by my present contract I am not restricted to weight, but obliged only to deliver clean wheat, and as good as the year and seasons will generally admit of, I will nevertheless, in order to remove every cause of dispute, which can possibly arise, fix the weight, if it is agreeable to you, at fifty-eight pounds per bushel, and to be paid a penny for every pound over that weight, and deduct a penny for every pound it is under. If you do not choose this, the contract must then remain as it now stands. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
Aug. 2, 1765
Mount Vernon,
Burwell Bassett
Bassett, Burwell


Dear Sir,

By a craft sent around by Capt. Boyes we had the pleasure to hear you were all well, but suffering with the drought as we are. We have never had the ground wet in this neighborhood since the heavy rains which fell about the first of May. In June early we had a shower that refreshed the corn and gave a little start to hemp, but the dry weather which followed, and hath since continued, renders our prospects truely melancholy. However, not 10 miles from hence in the forest, they are perfectly seasonable, and have promising crops of corn and tobacco, which is a favorable circumstance for us, as our wants of bread may be supplied from thence. To render my misfortunes Edition: current; Page: [206] more compleat, I lost most of my wheat by the rust, so that I shall undergo the loss of a compleat crop here, and am informed that my expectations from below are not much better.

I have not yet heard how you succeeded in electioneering, but there was little room to doubt of yours; I changed the scene from Frederick to this county and had an easy and creditable pool,1 and was preparing to attend, when the proclamation for proroguing the assembly came to hand (on the 28th ult.). I am convinced at the same time that the governor had no inclination to meet an assembly at this juncture. The bearer waits; I have only time therefore to add my compliments to Mrs Bassett and family.2

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George Washington
Washington, George
20 September, 1765
Mount Vernon,
Francis Dandridge
Dandridge, Francis



If you will permit me, after six years’ silence,—the time I have been married to your niece,—to pay my respects to you in this epistolary way, I shall think myself happy in beginning a correspondence, which cannot but be attended with pleasure on my side.

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I should hardly have taken the liberty, Sir, of introducing myself to your acquaintance in this manner, and at this time, lest you should think my motives for doing of it arose from sordid views, had not a letter which I received some time this summer from Robert Cary, Esqr. & Co., given me reasons to believe, that such an advance on my side would not be altogether disagreeable on yours. Before this I rather apprehended that some disgust at the news of your niece’s marriage with me—why I could not tell—might have been the cause of your silence upon that event, and discontinuing a correspondence which before then you had kept up with her; but if I could only flatter myself, that you would in anywise be entertained with Edition: current; Page: [209] the few occurrences, that it might be in my power to relate from hence, I should endeavor to atone for my past remissness, in this respect, by future punctuality.

At present few things are under notice of my observation that can afford you any amusement in the recital. The Stamp Act, imposed on the colonies by the Parliament of Great Britain, engrosses the conversation of the speculative part of the colonists, who look upon this unconstitutional method of taxation, as a direful attack upon their liberties, and loudly exclaim against the violation. What may be the result of this, and of some other (I think I may add) ill-judged measures, I will not undertake to determine; but this I may venture to affirm, that the advantage accruing to the mother country will fall greatly short of the expectations of the ministry; for certain it is, that our whole substance does already in a manner flow to Great Britain, and that whatsoever contributes to lessen our importations must be hurtful to their manufacturers. And the eyes of our people, already beginning to open, will perceive, that many luxuries, which we lavish our substance in Great Britain for, can well be dispensed with, whilst the necessaries of life are (mostly) to be had within ourselves. This, consequently, will introduce frugality, and be a necessary stimulation to industry. If Great Britain, therefore, loads her manufacturies with heavy taxes, will it not facilitate these measures? They will not compel us, I think, to give our money for their exports, whether we will or not; and certain, I Edition: current; Page: [210] am none of their traders will part from them without a valuable consideration. Where, then, is the utility of these restrictions?

As to the Stamp Act, taken in a single view, one and the first bad consequence attending it, I take to be this, our courts of judicature must inevitably be shut up; for it is impossible, (or next of kin to it), under our present circumstances, that the act of Parliament can be complied with, were we ever so willing to enforce the execution; for, not to say, which alone would be sufficient, that we have not money to pay the stamps, there are many other cogent reasons, to prevent it; and if a stop be put to our judicial proceedings, I fancy the merchants of Great Britain, trading to the colonies, will not be among the last to wish for a repeal of it.1

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I live upon Potomack River in Fairfax county, about ten miles below Alexandria, and many miles distant from any of my wife’s relations, who all reside upon York River, and whom we seldom see more than once a year, and not always that. My wife, who is very well, and Master and Miss Custis, (children of her former marriage,) all join in making a tender of their duty and best respects to yourself and their aunt. My compliments to your lady, I beg may also be made acceptable, and that you will do me the justice to believe that I am, dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant.1


George Washington
Washington, George
2 July, 1766
Mount Vernon,
Joh. Thompson
Thompson, Joh.



With this letter comes a negro (Tom), which I beg the favor of you to sell in any of the Islands you may go to, for whatever he will fetch, and bring me in return from him

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  • One hhd of best molasses
  • One hhd of best rum
  • One barrel of lymes, if good and cheap
  • One pot of tamarinds, containing about 10 lbs.
  • Two small pot of mixed sweetmeats, about 5 lbs. each.

And the residue, much or little, in good old spirits. That this fellow is both a rogue and a runaway (tho’ he was by no means remarkable for the former, and never practised the latter till of late) I shall not pretend to deny. But that he is exceeding healthy, strong, and good at the hoe, the whole neighborhood can testify, and particularly Mr. Johnson and his son, who have both had him under them as foreman of the gang; which gives me reason to hope he may with your good management sell well, if kept clean and trim’d up a little when offered for sale.

I shall very chearfully allow you the customary commissions on this affair, and must beg the favor of you (lest he should attempt his escape) to keep him handcuffed till you get to sea, or in the bay, after which I doubt not but you may make him very useful to you.

I wish you a pleasant and prosperous passage, and a safe and speedy return.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
24 June, 1767
Mount Vernon,
John Posey
Posey, John



It is difficult for me to tell which was greatest; my surprise or concern at finding by your letter of the 20th that instead of being able with the money I agreed to lie somewhat longer out of to discharge your debts, that you wanted to borrow a further sum of £500 to answer this purpose. I was in hopes, and you gave me the strongest assurance to believe, that when I lent you (and very inconvenient it was for me to do it) the first sum of £700, you could therewith not only discharge all your creditors, but in two years time sink the principal, which was lent to effect that end. How it comes to pass then, that instead of being prepared in twice two years to discharge my claim, you should require £500 more to satisfy others, is, as I at first said, entirely beyond my comprehension, and leaves but too much cause to apprehend that if you could be supplied with the further sum required, it would afford but temporary relief, and that, at the end of any other prefixed period, you would be as unprepared, and as reluctantly then as now part with your effects to discharge this debt, thinking it equally hard to be forced into compliance. For permit me to say again, if you have not been able in the course of four years to lay up any thing towards sinking even the interest of a sum which you said would entirely clear you of all demands, what prospect can you possibly have to expect when £500 more (and probably this would be insufficient) is added to the other score of Edition: current; Page: [214] between eight and nine hundred, that you will have it in your power to effect this end, when even the interest thereof is a pretty little income, and would be such a moth in your estate as would inevitably destroy it, be your notions of saving and industry extended to never so high a degree. Indeed, Sir, the only purpose it could possibly answer would be to put the evil day off for a moment in comparison, and then like most things swelled beyond their natural bounds, burst upon you like a torrent and redouble your distresses. Besides you really deceive yourself greatly in estimating your effects, as you will unhappily experience. You have viewed them but on one side, considering only what they cost you, not what they will sell at, which is a delusive way of calculating. For you will find that many things which you perhaps have lavished large sums in the purchase of, in order to gratify your own taste, will neither suit, nor probably please others. So in respect to buildings which are rarely considered in the purchase of lands, and principally I presume from the same causes, especially upon small bits of land divested of wood and timber.

I wish with all my heart you may be strengthened by some able and friendly hand in such a manner as to keep your effects together, provided it may turn to your future good in enabling you to work thro’ the load of debt you seem to be entangled in; but that it is entirely out of my power, without selling part of my own estate, to contribute further thereto, you may easily be convinced of when I tell you, and affirm it, that I find it next to impossible to extract Edition: current; Page: [215] any part of the money which is due to me; that I have struggled to the utmost of my power for two years past unsuccessfully, to raise four or five hundred pounds to lend a very particular friend of mine, who I know must sell part of his estate without it; and that I have not yet discharged the sums you involved me in the payment of before, having my bond out to Mr. Green’s estate for the £260 you borrowed of him. I cannot raise money to discharge it, altho’ I have used my true endeavors for that purpose. Add to these some engagements of my own which there is a necessity of complying with, or doing acts of injustice.

How absurd and idle would it be then, under these circumstances, to enter myself security for the payment of your debts, unless I foresaw some prospect of raising the money. True it is, some of your creditors might agree to wait; others, ’tis presumeable, would not, and certain it is pay day must come to all. What then is to be done? To tell a man who had been disappointed from time to time, and at last had waited in confidence of receiving his money from me, that I was unprovided with the means of satisfying his demand, would be galling to me, unjust to him, and what I can by no means think of practising. The only favor, therefore, that is in my power to shew you, is to be easy and forbearing in my own demands, which I shall endeavor to do as long as I can with any sort of convenience to myself, notwithstanding I am in want of the money. And to point out any person who could lend so much money even if they Edition: current; Page: [216] liked the security, I am equally at a loss to do. But few there are, I believe, who would choose to risk their money (unless influenced by motives of compassion) upon such hazardous and perishable articles as negroes, stock and chattels, which are to be swept off by innumerable distempers and subject to many accidents and misfortunes. So upon the whole you will excuse me I hope if I am inclined to offer you the same advice I would give to my brother were he under the same circumstances, and that is, if you find it impracticable to keep your estate together for at least three or four years, till the country, I mean the indebted part of it, can emerge a little from the distress it must unavoidably fall into from the pressing of creditors and want of cash, then to sell off immediately (I mean this fall at furthest) before cash grows into greater demand, which it inevitably will do as our currency is called in, and every thing of consequence sell worse; therewith discharging all your debts, beginning with the sales of such things as can be best spared, and so raising to negroes, and even land if requisite. For if the whole should go, there is a large field before you, an opening prospect in the back country for adventurers, where numbers resort to, and where an enterprising man with very little money may lay the foundation of a noble estate in the new settlements upon Monongahela for himself and posterity. The surplus money which you might save after discharging your debts would possibly secure you as much land as in the course of twenty years would sell for five Edition: current; Page: [217] times your present estate. For proof of which, only look to Frederick, and see what fortunes were made by the Hite’s and first taking up of those lands. Nay, how the greatest estates we have in this colony were made. Was it not by taking up and purchasing at very low rates the rich back lands, which were thought nothing of in those days, but are now the most valuable lands we possess? Undoubtedly it was, and to pursue this plan is the advice I would offer my brother were he in your situation; but to you I only drop it as a hint for your serious reflection, because I do not expect, nor would by any means wish, to see you adopt any scheme of mine without duly attending to it, weighing, and well considering of it in all points, and advising with your friends. I would only ask whether it would be better to labor under a load of debt where you are, which must inevitably keep you in continual anxiety and dread of your creditors, be selling the produce of your labour at under value (the never failing consequence of necessitous circumstances), with other evils too obvious to need enumeration, and which must forever lend a helping hand to keep you low and distressed; or to pluck up resolution at once and disengage yourself of those incumbrances and vexations, abiding where you are if you can save your land and have a prospect of reaping future advantages from it, or to remove back, where there is a moral certainty of laying the foundation of good estates to your children—I say I would but ask which of these two is the best, and leave you to think of Edition: current; Page: [218] them at leisure, with the assurance on my part, that what I have propounded to you on this subject proceeds from the utmost sincerity and candor, and if you will have recourse to the publick Gazettes, you may perceive by the number of estates which are continually advertising for sale, that you are not the only one under misfortune, and that many good families are retiring into the interior parts of the country for the benefit of their children. Some of the best gentlemen in this country talk of doing so, who are not drove by necessity, but adopt the scheme from principles of gain. Whatever resolution you may come to, I wish you success in it.

George Washington
Washington, George
21 September, 1767
Mount Vernon,
William Crawford
Crawford, William


Dear Sir,

From a sudden hint of your brother Val., I wrote to you a few days ago in a hurry, since which having had more time for reflection, I am now set down in order to write more deliberately, and with greater precision, to you on the subject of my last letter; Edition: current; Page: [219] desiring that if any thing in this should be found contradictory to that letter, you will wholly be governed by what I am now going to add.

I then desired the favor of you (as I understood rights might now be had for the lands, which have fallen within the Pennsylvania line,) to look me out a tract of about fifteen hundred, two thousand, or more acres somewhere in your neighborhood, meaning only by this that it may be as contiguous to your own settlement, as such a body of good land could be found and about Jacobs Cabins, or somewhere on those waters. I am told this might be done. It will be easy for you to conceive, that ordinary or even middling land would never answer my purpose or expectation, so far from navigation, and under such a load of expenses, as these lands are encumbered with. No; a tract to please me must be rich, (of which no person can be a better judge than yourself,) and, if possible, to be good and level. Could such a piece of land as this be found, you would do me a singular favor in falling upon some method to secure it immediately from the attempts of any other, as nothing is more certain, than that the lands cannot remain long ungranted, when once it is known, that rights are to be had for them.

What mode of proceeding is necessary in order to accomplish this design I am utterly at a loss to point out to you; but, as your own lands are under the same circumstances, self-interest will naturally lead you to an inquiry. I am told, that the land or surveyor’s office is kept at Carlisle. If so, I am of Edition: current; Page: [220] opinion that Colonel Armstrong, (an acquaintance of mine,) has something to do in the management of it, and I am persuaded would readily serve me. To him therefore at all events I will write by the first opportunity on that subject, that the way may be prepared for your application, if you should find it necessary to make one to him. Whatever trouble and expense you may be engaged in on my behalf, you may depend upon being thankfully repaid. It is possible, (but I do not know that it really is the case,) that Pennsylvania customs will not admit so large a quantity of land, as I require, to be entered together; if so, this may possibly be evaded by making several entries to the same amount, if the expense of doing which is not too heavy. But this I only drop as a hint, leaving the whole to your discretion and good management. If the land can only be secured from others, it is all I want at present. The surveying I would choose to postpone, at least till the spring, when, if you can give me any satisfactory account of this matter, and of what I am next going to propose, I expect to pay you a visit about the last of April.

The other matter, just now hinted at and which I proposed in my last to join you, in attempting to secure some of the most valuable lands in the King’s part, which I think may be accomplished after a while, notwithstanding the proclamation, that restrains it at present, and prohibits the settling of them at all; for I can never look upon that proclamation in any other light (but this I say between ourselves), than as a Edition: current; Page: [221] temporary expedient to quiet the minds of the Indians, and must fall, of course, in a few years, especially when those Indians are consenting to our occupying the lands.1 Any person, therefore, who Edition: current; Page: [222] neglects the present opportunity of hunting out good lands, and in some measure marking and distinguishing them for his own, (in order to keep others from settling them), will never regain it. Therefore if you will be at the trouble of seeking out the lands, I will take upon me the part of securing them, so soon as there is a possibility of doing it, and will moreover be at all the cost and charges of surveying, and patenting &c, after which you shall have such a reasonable proportion of the whole, as we may fix upon at our first meeting; as I shall find it absolutely necessary, and convenient for the better furthering of the design, to let some few of my friends be concerned in the scheme, and who must also partake of the advantages.

By this time it may be easy for you to discover, that my plan is to secure a good deal of land. You will consequently come in for a very handsome quantity; and as you will obtain it without any costs, or expenses, I am in hopes you will be encouraged to begin the search in time. I would choose, if it were practicable, to get large tracts together; and it might be desirable to have them as near your settlement, or Fort Pitt, as we could get them good, but not to neglect others at a greater distance, if fine bodies of it lie in a place. It may be a matter worthy your inquiry, to find out how the Maryland back line will run, and what is said about laying off Neale’s (I think it is & Co’s) grant.1 I will inquire particularly concerning Edition: current; Page: [223] the Ohio Company’s that one may know what to apprehend from them. For my own part, I should have no objection to a grant of land upon the Ohio, a good way below Pittsburg, but would willingly secure some good tracts nearer hand first.

I would recommend, it to you to keep this whole matter a secret, or trust it only with those, in whom you can confide, and who can assist you in bringing it to bear by their discoveries of land. And this advice proceeds from several very good reasons, and, in the first place, because I might be censured for the opinion I have given in respect to the King’s proclamation, and then, if the scheme I am now proposing to you was known, it might give the alarm to others, and, by putting them upon a plan of the same nature, (before we could lay a proper foundation for success ourselves,) set the different interests a clashing, and, probably, in the end, overturn the whole. All which may be avoided by a silent management, and the [operation] snugly carried on by you under the guise of hunting other game, which you may, I presume, effectually do, at the same time you are in pursuit of land, which when fully discovered, advise me of it, and if there appears but a bare possibility of succeeding any time hence, I will have the lands immediately surveyed, to keep others off, and leave the rest to time and my own assiduity to accomplish.

Edition: current; Page: [224]

If this letter should reach your hands before you set out, I should be glad to have your thoughts fully expressed on the plan I have proposed, or as soon afterwards as conveniently may be; as I am desirous of knowing in time how you approve of the scheme. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
21 September, 1767
Mt. Vernon,
John Armstrong
Armstrong, John


Dear Sir,

Since I had the pleasure of seeing you at the Warm Springs, I have been informed that much of the land upon Yaughyaughany and Monongahela, which was formerly conceived to lie within the limits of Virginia, and on which many of our people have settled, are taken into Pennslyvania by the established line now running between that Province and Maryland, and that grants may at any time be obtained from the Proprietary for tracts on these waters; and being [informed], moreover, that the office from whence these rights are to issue is kept at Carlyle, it immediately occurred from what you were telling me of the nature of your office, that I could apply to none so properly as yourself for the truth of these reports, it appearing but probable that you were the very person with whom entries were made.

I have therefore taken the liberty, Sir, of addressing this letter to you on the subject of these enquiries, and to request the further favor of you to advise me of the mode of proceeding in order to take up un-granted land in your Province; what quantity of Edition: current; Page: [225] acres will be admitted into a survey; whether a person is restricted in respect to the quantity of land and number of surveys; if the surveys are required to be laid in any particular form; or optional in the taker up to lay them as the nature and goodness of the land and water courses may point out to him? What the expence of patenting these lands amount to per thousand acres? and what the annual rents are fixed at afterwards? Together with any other useful hints which may occur to you for my information and government, as I would most willingly possess some of those lands which we have labored and toiled so hard to conquer.

I have desired one, Mr. William Crawford, who lives upon Yaughyaughany, a friend of mine and, I believe, an acquaintance of yours, as he was an officer in my regiment and in General Forbes’ campaign, to look me [out] a tract of about 2000 acres and endeavor to secure it till he can give me advice of it. I have likewise taken the liberty of saying to him that I was fully pursuaded if the Land office were kept in Carlyle, and you had any share in the management of it, that you would do me the favor of giving him any assistance in your power consistent with the rules of office; and for such assistance, Sir, after thankfully acknowledging myself your debtor would punctually [reimburse you] with any expence that might arise on my account so soon as I could be advised thereof.

I heartily wish that Mrs. Armstrong and yourself may find all the good effects from the waters of the Frederick Springs that you could desire.

Edition: current; Page: [226]
George Washington
Washington, George
24 September, 1767
Mt. Vernon,
John Posey
Posey, John



Having received your letter of Wednesday last and to day, it appears very clear to me from them, as well as from some other convincing circumstances that you are not only reduced to the last shifts yourself, but are determined to involve me in a great deal of perplexity and distress on your account also. Why else will you press so hard upon me to do more than I have already done, and consented to do, in waiting two years longer for my money, when it is not only inconvenient, but very disadvantageous also for me to do so, and when I have informed you as every body else I suppose may also do, that the security I have upon your lands and slaves is only answerable for the £750 lent and interest. Besides, when the nature of that security is considered, and how much people may differ in their valuations of it, it is not to be wondered at that I should be so unwilling as to risk any thing more thereon. For in the first place I do not value your six acres bought of Marshall with the improvements to any thing at all, for reasons already known to you. True it is, if Mr. West should recover from you, you may have a remedy against Mr. Marshall, but in how ample a manner is in the breast of other men to determine. In the next place, you rate the land bought of my brother and the improvements to near £700. This at best is only worth what it will fetch, and if it sells for half that sum, I will acknowledge myself extremely mistaken. In the Edition: current; Page: [227] last place, by the estimate you sent me some time ago of your estate, you value the negroes you were then possessed of to £900 and upwards. Suppose, for argument sake they were worth this, does not every body know that the small pox, gaol fever and many other malignant disorders may sweep the greatest part of them off? Where then is the security? And while I am mentioning this matter, it is highly necessary to inquire what is become of Henley, Jacob, Winney, Sylvia, Lett, Sarah, Nan and Henrietta Farthing, Negroes contained in your bill of sale to me, but which I see nothing of in the estimate above mentioned.

Thus much I have said on a supposition that I was acting as a money lender only, and was looking for clear and indisputable surety; but in truth the prospect of gain and advantage to myself was not the motive that led me to advance you this money. ’Twas done to serve your family, and if possible to save your estate from dispersion, while there remained a probability of doing it. The same motive, therefore, (and depend upon it, it is a friendly one,) inclines me to ask what possible reason you can have for thinking that by delaying the sale of some part of your effects, and taking up more money upon interest, will better your fortune, when you are adding to the load of debt by accumulating interest? I should be glad in the next place to know if you have ever considered the consequences of borrowing the money upon the terms you say Colo. Mason will lend it? and surely you have not. To stave off the dreadful hour of resigning part of your possessions into the Edition: current; Page: [228] hands of your creditors, engrosses too much of your thoughts. Do not understand by this that I mean to cast any reflection upon Colo. Mason. No, he tells you in express terms and with candor that he is waiting for an opportunity of making a purchase which when accomplished, he must have his money again, giving you three or four months’ notice. It is likely therefore that he may call for it in six months as in a longer time, because the distress of the country and number of estates which are daily advertising afford great prospect of purchasing to advantage. What then is to be done in this case? One of these three things certainly: either that Colo. Mason must wait till he can recover his debt in a course of law, by which means your own, as well as the honor of your bondsman must suffer; or that the security must pay the money out of his own pocket, which perhaps might reduce him to the utmost distress; or lastly, that your negroes must be immediately exposed to sale for ready money after short notice (whereas they might now be sold on credit for perhaps at least 25 per cent more,) in order to raise this sum, and this probably in the midst of a crop. These being things worthy of consideration, I would recommend them to your serious reflection, before you finally determine.

Was the money to be had of those who prefer lending it on interest to other methods of disposing of it, and you had in the first place a prospect of keeping of it for some time, and in the next a moral certainty of raising the sum with the interest by the expiration of it, there would then be a propriety in Edition: current; Page: [229] your borrowing, and I should feel pleasure in procuring it to you; but really I cannot see that you have any one good end to answer by it. On the contrary, I am much misinformed if you were to get £300 to morrow to stop suits and demands that are already commenced, if there would not be £300 more wanting in less than six months for the same purpose. So that there appears no probability of its happily ending, for as to your promising, or expecting to do this and that, you must give me leave to say that it is works and not words that people will judge from, and where one man deceives another from time to time, his word being disregarded, all confidence is lost.

However, after having endeavored to let you see in what light this matter appears to me, and to set forth the evil consequences of taking money upon these terms, I shall conclude with telling you that if you are absolutely determined to prefer this method to any other of procuring present relief, I will become your security to Colo. Mason for three hundred pounds, on condition that you do at the same time add other things to my present security that are under no incumbrance to any person what so ever, and allow me the absolute right and privilege (as you yourself proposed) of disposing of them for ready money, to answer Colo. Mason’s demand whensoever made, and that some lawyer (Mr. Ellzey I would choose) should draw a bill of sale or instrument of writing to this purpose, without running me to any cost, that may be authentick and binding. But I once more caution you against a measure of Edition: current; Page: [230] this kind, as it may be destructive of your estate, inasmuch as the money can be paid no otherwise than by an immediate sale of your effects (when called for), and I can see no benefit that will result from the protection. It is from these reasons, and a conviction that you will as unwilling then as now part from your estate, that I dread the consequences of joining you in such a bond, knowing that after all I have [done] or can do, more will still be required, and as little content given. This makes me ardently wish that some person or other would take up my security and pay me the money, that I might be entirely clear of it, for I do not want to avail myself of any sort of advantages.

P. S. I have this instant been informed that you have declared you paid me all you owed me except about £20. Does such disingenuity as this deserve any favour at my hands? I think any body might readily answer for you, no.


DIARY FOR 1768.1

  • january.

  • 1st. (a) Fox hunting in my own Neck with Mr Robt. Alexander and Mr Colville. Catchd nothing. Captn. Posey with us. (b) Ground exceedg hard froze, but this day calm & moderate. (c) Neck People clearing a piece of ground which was begun the 23d of Decr.Edition: current; Page: [231]
  • 2. (a) Surveying some Lines of my Mt. Vernon Tract of Land. (b) Moderate, wind southwardly, thawing a little.
  • 3. (a) At home with Doctr. Rumney. (b) Rain, with the wind at So. West. gd. still hard froze except the Top of it.
  • 4. (a) Rid to Muddy hole, D: Run & Mill Plantn. (b.) Foggy & warm. Midday clear. Frost still in the Earth. Calm.
  • 5. (a) Went into the Neck. (b) Very Thick & Foggy in the morning. Wind afterwards at No. Et. and Rain all day, the wind shifting southwardly.
  • (c) Doeg Run People working in the Swamp which they began to clear this Fall—Muddy Hole People (except two threshing) clearing ye skirt of woods within ye fence. 4 men & a woman from Doeg Run assisting—Mill People also clearing.1
  • 6. (a) Rid to Doeg Run and the Mill before Dinner. Mr. B. Fairfax and Mr. Robt. Alexander here. (b) Warm clear, & pleasant, in the Morng. Wind high from No. Wt. & cool afterwards. (c) Doeg Run People finishd grubbing ye Swamp they were in and proceeded to another adjacent.
  • 7. (a) Fox hunting with the above two Gentn. and Captn. Posey, Started but catchd nothing. (b.) Clear and frosty. Wind brisk from No. W.
  • 8. (a) Hunting again in the same Compy. Started a Fox and run him 4 hours. took the Hounds off, at night. (b) Clear, frosty & still.
  • 9. (a) At home with Mr. B: Fairfax. (b) Cloudy, with misty forenoon & . Rain afterwards. Wind southwardly.
  • 10. (a) At home alone. (b) Weather clear, wind southwardly, yet raw and cold. Hard frost.
  • 11. (a) Running some Lines between me and Mr. Willm. Triplet. (b) Clear with the wind at west. Evening very cold and wind northwardly; sever Frost. River froze across.
  • 12. (a) Attempted to go into the Neck on the Ice but it wd. not bear. In the Evening Mr Chs. Dick, Mr Muse & my Brother Charles came here. b. Wind at No. west and exceeding cold and frosty. c. Threshing wheat at all Plantations. Ground being too hard froze to Grub to any advantage.Edition: current; Page: [232]
  • 13. (a) At home with them. Col Fairfax, Lady &c. (b) More moderate and yet very cold, with a little snow in the Morng. and eveng. clear.
  • 14. (a) At home with them. Colo. Fx & famy. went home in the Evening. (b) Clear and pleast. Wind at south. River still froze.
  • 15. (a) At home with the above Gentlemen and shooting together. (b) Clear and pleasant. Wind Southwardly. Thawed a good deal.
  • 16. (a) At home all day at cards1—it snowing. (b) Constant snow the whole day from the Northward. (c) Finished my smiths shop—that is the carpenters work of it.
  • 17. (a) At home with Mr. Dick &c. (b) Clear and pleasant. Wind So. West and West. hard frost.
  • 18. (a) Went to Court & sold Colo. Colvil’s Ld. Returnd again at night. (b) Still & cloudy—very like to snow but broke away abt. sunset. Cold. (c) Carpenters went to saw Plank at Doeg Run for finishing the Barn there. Will put new girders into my Mill where they had sunk.
  • 19. (a) Went to Belvoir with Mr. Dick, my Bror &c. (b) Clear and pleast. morning. Afternoon, raw & cold. (c) Mike, Tom, and Sam went abt. the overseers House at Muddy hole.
  • 20. (a) Returned from Belvoir by the Mill Doeg Run and Muddy hole. (b.) Clear, still, & warm—thawed a great deal. (c) Plantations chiefly employd in getting out wheat.
  • 21. (a) Surveyd the water courses of my Mt. Vernon Tract of Land, taking advan. of the Ice. (b) Very warm and still—snow dissolving fast.
  • 22. (a) Fox hunting with Captn. Posey—started but catched nothing. (b) Warm, still, & clear again. Snow almost gone. (c) Davy, George, Jupiter and Ned, finishd sawing at Doeg Run & joind Mike &c. abt. overseers House at Muddy hole.
  • 23. (a) Rid to Muddy hole, & directed paths to be cut for Fox hunting. (b) No frost last night. Warm & clear in the forenoon; cloudy, with some Rain in the Afternoon, afterwards clear again. Ice broke in the River.
  • 24. (a) Rid up to Toulston in order to Fox hunt it. (b) Lowering morning, but very fine & warm till 7 in the afternoon, when the wind shifted to No East from So.Edition: current; Page: [233]
  • 25. (a) Confind by Rain with Mr. Fairfax & Mr. Alexander. (b) Drizzling & Raing. all day. Wind, No. Et.
  • 26. (b) Went out with the Hounds, but started no Fox. Some of the Hounds run of [f] upon a Deer. (b) Wind at No. West, cloudy and cold, with spits of snow.
  • 27. (a) Went out again—started a Fox ab. 10, run him till 3 and lost him. (b) Cold, cloudy & still morng.; clear & pleast. afterwards—Wind southwardly.
  • 28. (a) Returned Home. found Mr. Tomi Elsey1 there. (b) Wind at No. West & very cold.
  • 29. (a) Went to Belvoir with Mrs. W—n &ca. after Dinner, left Mr. Ellzey at home. (b) Wind at No. West & very cold. River froze up again last night.
  • 30. Dined at Belvoir and returned in the afternoon—borrowd a hound from Mr Whiting, as I did 2 from Mr. Alexr. the 28th. (b) Very hard frost last night. Morng. cold but more moderate afterwards. Wind gettg. southwardly.
  • 31. (a) At home alone all day. (b) Lowering, wind southward & moderate. Ice breaking and dispersing.
  • february.

  • 1. Rid round into the Neck and directed the running of the Fence there. Carpenters all (except Will) went to sawing Pailing for a goose yard.
  • 2. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run, & Mill.
  • 3. Fox hunting with Captn. Posey & Ld. Washington—started but catchd nothing.
  • 4. Snowing all day, but not very fast—At home.
  • 5. At home alone till Mr. Robt. Alexander came in the Evening.
  • 6. Fox hunting with Mr Alexander & Captn Posey. Started but catchd nothing.
  • 7. At home alone.
  • 8. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & Mill, and in returng I met Mr. Alexander, Mr. Stoddard and Captn. Posey who had just catchd 2 foxes, returnd wt. ym. to Dinner.Edition: current; Page: [234]
  • 9. Went out Hunting again; started a fox, run him four hours, & then lost him. Mr Stoddard went home. Alexr. stayd.
  • 10. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run and Mill. Mr. Alexander going in the Morng. as Mr. Magowan1 did to Williamsburg.
  • 11. Went into the Neck and returnd to Dinner.
  • 12. Fox hunting with Colo. Fairfax, Captn. McCarty,2 Mr. Chichester, Posey, Ellzey & Manley,3 who dind here with Mrs. Fairfax & Miss Nicholas. Catchd two foxes.
  • 13. Hunting in the same company. Catchd 2 more foxes,—none dind at Mt. Vernon. Finishd the Goose Pen at Home; also finishd clearing the Point of woods between where Carney & Rollins & Crump livd in the Neck—abt. 30 acres.
  • 14. At home alone.
  • 15. At home alone.
  • 16. Went up to Alexa. and returnd in ye eveng.
  • 17. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & the Mill. returnd to Dinner and alone.
  • 18. Went a ducking between breakfast & dinner—In the afternoon Mr. Thruston, Mr Alexander, & Mr Carter from Gloster came in. Rais’d overseer’s House at Muddy hole. Finishd threshing & cleaning my wheat at Doeg Run Plantn. bushl.
  • 19. After dinner the above Gentlemen went to Belvoir.
  • 20. Fox hunting with Captn. Posey—catchd a Fox.
  • 21. At home all day. Mr. Wm. Gardner dind here. A Gentleman from York River came to buy wheat.
  • 22. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run, and the Mill before Dinner, and went out with my Gun after it.
  • 23. Fox hunting with Captn. Posey—catchd a Fox we suppose, but being dark coud not find it. Stopd clearing the Field on the Ck. in the Neck and began upon those pieces of woods in the other field by Mr. Sheridines.4Edition: current; Page: [235]
  • 24. Went a ducking between breakfast & dinner & killd 2 Mattards & 5 bald faces. found Doctr. Rumney here at dinner, who staid all night. Mr. Magowan returnd.
  • 25. Doctr. Rumney went a way. I went to the Creek but not across it. Killd 2 ducks, viz. a sprig tail and Teal.
  • 26. Laid of a Road from Mt. Vernon to the Lain by Mr. Manleys. Began to deliver my wheat to Mr Kirk. Carpenters not having quite finishd the overseers Ho. at Muddy hole for want of some Plank, went abt. a Corn Ho. there. Much abt. this time a Hound Bitch Mopsey of Mr. R. Alexander (now with me) was proud, & shut up chiefly with a black dog, Tarter, who lind her several times, as did Tipler once, that is known of. The little Bitch Cloe in the House was also proud at the same time, but whether lind or not cannot be known—see how long they go with Pup, and whether both at same time, being very difft. in size.
  • 27. Went on the Road clearing between Mt. Vernon and the Mill. In the evening Mr. Stedlar1 came. Transplanted trees of differt kinds into the Lucerne Patch.
  • 28. In the after noon went up to Mr. Robt. Alexander’s in order to meet Mr. B. Fairfax & others a fox Huntg. None came this day but Captn. Posey.
  • 29. At Mr Alexanders all day with his Phil & Captn. Posey.—it raining.
  • march.

  • 1. Went a fox hunting with the two Alexr. and Posey—was, during the chase (in which nothing was catchd) joind by Mr. Fairfax, Jno. Alexander & Muir.2
  • 2. Hunting again, & catchd a fox with a bobd Tail & cut ears, after 7 hours chase in wch. most of the Dog’s were worsted.
  • 3. Returnd home, much disorderd by a Lax, Griping & violent straining. Deliver’d a Lodd of 508 Bushels of Muddy hole wheat to Mr Kirks ship and my schooner returnd.
  • 4. At home, worse with the above complaints. Sent for Doctr. Rumney, who came in ye afternn.Edition: current; Page: [236]
  • 5. Very bad—the Doctr. staying with me. Deliverd another Load of 517½ Bushls. of the Neck Wheat to the above ship and returnd the same day. Finished cutting down corn stocks at all my Plantations.
  • 6. Something better. Doctr. still here—& Mr. Ramsay came down to see me.
  • 7. Rather better. Doctr. went home after breakfast. Mr. Ramsay staid to Dinner.
  • 8. Mending fast. Colo. Thos. Moore calld here in his way from Alexa. Home, but made no stay. Colo. Fairfax & Mr. Gilbt. Campbell (Comptroller) Dined here.
  • 9. Still mending. At home alone.
  • 10. Mending still. Rid out. Mr. Peake & Augs. Darrel dind here.
  • 11. At home alone all day.
  • 12. Rid to the new Road-Mill Doeg Run & Muddy hole Plantns, & found Doctr. Rumney upon my return, who dind & stayd all night. Large parts of my Wheat Field at Doeg Run, ye same I believe at the Mill, were found to be exceedingly Injurd by the Frost (and I apprehend by the last frost abt. ye 7 & 8th Inst.)1 Upon examining the wheat which appeard to be so much hurt, I found the Roots for ye most part were entirely out of the ground; some indeed had a small fibre or so left in & here perhaps a green blade might be found in a bunch, but when the Root was quite out the whole bunch seemd perishd & perishing. Note. Watch ye Progress of this wheat, & see if there be any possibility of its taking Root again (as it lyes thick on the gd.) near a stake in ye 18 Inch cut, and abt. 100 yds. from the Barracks is a spot of an acre or so of this kind. Observe this place, being poor gd also. Carpenters returnd from the Road abt. Muddy hole Corn House.
  • 13. At home alone all day.
  • 14. With the people working upon the new Road between breakfast and Dinner.Edition: current; Page: [237]
  • 15. At home alone all day. Deliverd the last load of my wheat to Mr Kirk’s ship, which makes 1921 Bushl. delivd. him in all—reckg. 15 Bushl. to be delivd. him by Mr. Digges.
  • 16. Hunting with Captn. Posey and Lt. W. started and catchd a fox in abt. three hours. Began to list corn ground at Muddy hole. Recd. my goods from Mr. Cary by Captn. Johnston. Sent my vessel about 4 o’clock in the afternoon to Mr. Kirk agreeable to his Letter.
  • 17. Rid into the neck, to Muddy hole, and upon the New Road. When I came home found Colo. Carlyle & his wife & children there.
  • 18. Went with Colo. Carlyle & our Families to Belvoir. Myself and Mrs. W—n returnd, leaving the others there. Found Mr. Stedlar at Mt. Vernon. Began to lay of my corn ground in the Neck.
  • 19. At home all day.1 Mr. Stedlar here. Sent Chaunter (a Hound Bitch) up to Toulston, to go to Mr. Fairfax’s Dog Forester, or Rockwood—she appearg. to be going Proud. Forester not beg. at Home she went to Rockwood.
  • 20. At home all day. Mr. Stedlar still here. In the afternoon Mr. Carlyle & Family returnd from Belvoir.
  • 21. Went to Court.2 Colo. Carlyle & Family also went up. Mr. Stedlar stay’d & Sally Carlyle.
  • 22. Rid to the Mill, Doeg Run and Muddy hole Plantation.
  • 23. Rid out to see and examine whether a Road coud not be discovd & opend from Posey’s ferry back of Muddy hole Plann. thereby avoiding the Gum spring, which I think may be done to advantage. Note. This moon w’ch changd 9. 18. appeard with the points directly upwards exactly of a height.
  • 24. Rid out again with Mr Peake on the above accn. and observd that a good Road might be had along Hg. Ck. upon Colo. Masons Land.
  • 25. Went into the Neck, grafted some cherries, & began to measure the ground for my Grape vines. Observd a Lamb in my Pasture, being the first fallen from Ewes put to my Ram the—Edition: current; Page: [238]
  • 26. Went Fox huntg. but started nothing. Mr. Lawr. Washington came here & Miss Ramsay in ye afternoon. My Vessel returnd from Mr Kirk’s employ abt. sundown, being 10 days gone.
  • 27. At home. Lawr. Washington went away.
  • 28. At home.
  • 29. Fox hunting, with Jacky Custis & Ld. Washington. Catchd a fox after 3 hrs. chase. Began to cork & pay the bottom of my schooner.
  • 30. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & Mill Plantations. Finishd my Fencing & began to enlist my Corn Ground at the Mill. Looked again at the wheat at Doeg Run (particularly abt. ye stake near the Barracks) and found no alteration for the better, it appearing to have no root in the Ground.
  • 31. Went into the Neck. At my Return found Doctr. Rumney & Mr. Wm. Crawford1 at the house. Dr. Rumney went away in the afternoon. Finished corking my vessel & weeding out my Lucern.
  • Memor. of Ewes & Lambs are restraind from wheat Fields, & no green food servd to support them in the spring, contrive that no more fall after this year till ye last of March.
  • april.

  • 1st. At home with Mr. Crawford.
  • 2. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & ye Mill. Mr. Crawford went to Alexandria. Sewed a patch of Flax in the Neck. Also sewed a patch at Doeg Run by the last yrs. Turneps.
  • 3. Went to Pohick Church2 & returnd to Dinner. Mr. Crawford returnd in the afternoon.
  • 4. Fox hunting with Messrs. Chichester, ye Triplets, Manley, Posey, Peake & Adams. Never started a Fox, but did a Deer.
  • 5. At home with Mr. Crawford. Mr. Campbell came here & dined. Mrs. Washington, Miss B. Ramsay & Patey Custis went to Belvoir & returnd.Edition: current; Page: [239]
  • 6. Mr. Crawford set of home, and we (together wt. Miss Betey Ramsay) went up to Alexa. to a Ball. Sewed part of the Ground at home (the Cowpens) in Flax.
  • 7. We returnd from Alexandria through Snow. Carpenters finishd the Corn Ho. at Muddy hole, and went to trimmg. fish Barrls.
  • 8. At home alone, except with Price, ye Bricklayer who has been here since Tuesday.
  • 9. Fox hunting with the two Triplets,1 Mr. Peake2 & Mr. Manley—started but catchd nothing.
  • 10. At home alone.
  • 11. Planting out Grape Vines according to Mm.3 Mrs. Posey dined here, and Mr. Alexander & Mr. Edwd. Payne4 supd & lodgd.
  • 12. Payne and Alexander went away after Breakfast—and Miss Tracy Digges & her sister Betty came in the aftern. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg R. & Mill. Sewed remainder of Flax Ground at Home. Also sewed Flax Seed at Muddy hole. White fish began to Run catching 60 or 70 at a Haul with some Herg.
  • 13. At home. The Miss Digges here in the afternoon Mr. Chichester came.
  • 14. Fox hunting with Mr. Chichester, Captn. Posey, Messr. Triplet, Peake & Adams, started but catchd nothing—Posey & Adams dind here as did Mr. Digges. Sewed Flax at Doeg Run at the head of the Meadow. Began plowing at Doeg for Corn, that is to list. Carpenters went to getting staves for Cyder Casks.
  • 15. At home. Mr. Digges & his daughters went away after breakfast.
  • 16. At home alone. In the evening went to the Neck.
  • 17. Went to Church & returnd to Dinner.
  • 18. Went to Court and returnd in the evening. Began fishing for herrings with carpenters &c.
  • 19. Measurd the field designd for corn at the Mill and Doeg Run this year.Edition: current; Page: [240]
  • 20. At home alone all day.
  • 21. Rode to Muddy hole, Doeg Run and Mill Plantns. at the first & last of which just began to check corn ground. Mr. Stedlar came here. Began to cross ground at Muddy hole & the Mill, having run only a single furrow for a list.
  • 22. At home all day. Mr. Stedlar here.
  • 23. At home all day again. Mr. Stedlar still here. The great abundance of rain which fell within this 48 hours carried away my dam by the Miss Wade’s & broke the back dam by the mill.1
  • 24. Mr. & Mrs. Peake & yr. daughter dined here, as also did Mr. Stedlar.
  • 25. Went to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & Mill before Dinner, & into the Neck afterwards.
  • 26. Set of for Williamsburg with Mrs. Washington Jacky & Patey Custis & Billy Bassett. Lodgd at Mr Lawsons.
  • 27. Reachd Fredericksburg.
  • 28. Stayed there all day at Colo. Lewis.
  • 29. Proceeded on our journey and reached Hubbards Ordy. in compy. with Colo. Lewis & Mr. Dick.
  • 30. Breakfasted at Todds Bridge. Dind at Claibornes, & came to Colo. Bassett’s.
  • may.

  • 1. Rid to a place called Roots’s to see a meadow of Colo. Bassetts.2 returnd to Dinr.
  • 2. Went to Williamsburg with Colo. Bassett, Colo. Lewis & Mr Dick. Dind with Mrs. Dawson, & went to the Play. My carpenters & House People went to planting corn at Doeg Run after they had finishd fishing.
  • 3. Dined with the Speaker.3 The hound bitch Mopsey brought 8 puppys, distinguished by the following names: viz, Tarter, Jupiter, Trueman, & Tipler (being Dogs), and Truelove, Juno Dutchess, & Lady, being the bitches—in all eight.Edition: current; Page: [241]
  • 4. Dined with Mrs. Dawson,1 & suppd at Charlton’s.
  • 5. Dined at Mrs. Campbells.
  • 6. Rid to the Plantations near Williamsburg & dined at Mr. Valentine’s.2
  • 7. Came up to Colo. Bassett’s to Dinner.
  • 8. Went to Church & returnd to Dinner.
  • 9. Went a Fox hunting and catched a Fox after 35 minutes chase; returnd to Dinner & found the Attorney, his Lady & daughter there.
  • 10. Rid to the Buck House & returnd to Dinner; after which went a dragging for sturgeon.
  • 11. Dined at the Globe with Mr. Davis.
  • 12. Went to New Kent Court with Colo. Bassett.3
  • 13. Went after sturgeon & a gunning.
  • 14. Went to my Plantation in King William by water and dragd for Sturgeon & catchd one.
  • 15. Rid to see Colo. Bassetts meadows at Roots’s.
  • 16. Fishing for Sturgeon from Breakfast to Dinner but catchd none.
  • 17. Rid to the Buck House & returnd to Dinner.
  • 18. Did the same & got my Chariot & Horses over to Claibornes.
  • 19. Went a shooting & hair huntg. with the Hounds who started a Fox which we catchd.
  • 20. Set of from Colo. Bassetts for Nomony, crossd over to Claibornes; from thence by Frazer’s Ferry to Hobs hole dining at Webbs Ordinary.
  • 21. Reachd my Brothr. John’s who & his wife were up the Country. Crossd over to Mr. Booths.
  • 22. Went to Church (Nomony) & returnd to Mr Booths to Dinner, who was also from home in Gloucester. Mr. Smith, the Parson, dind with us.
  • 23. At Mr Booth’s all day with Revd. Mr. Smith. My Carpenters & House People went to work at my Mill repairing the Dams, hightening of them & opening the Race.
  • 24. Came up to Pope’s Creek & staid there all day.Edition: current; Page: [242]
  • 25. Got up to my Brother Sams to Dinner, found Mrs. Washington &c. there.
  • 26. Remaind at my Brother Sams where my Brother Jno. came, as also Mr. Lawr. Washington &c. to Dinner.
  • 27. Dined at Mr. L. Washingtons with the Compy. at my Bro.
  • 28. Went to Boyd’s hole & returnd to my Brothers to Dinr. where we found Colo. Lewis & my Br. Charles.
  • 29. Went to St. Pauls church & Dined at my Brothers. The bitch Chanter brought five Dog puppies & 3 Bitch puppies which were named as follows: viz—Forrester. Sancho, Ringwood, Drunkard, and Sautwell—and Chanter, Singer & Busy.
  • 30. Went fishing & dined under Mr. L. Washington’s store.
  • 31. Returnd home crossing at Hooes Ferry—through Port Tobacco.
  • june.

  • 1. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & the Mill. Upon looking over my wheat I found all those places which had been injured by the March frosts extreamely thin, low & backward, having branched but little, & looking puny. Indeed in many places the Ground was entirely naked; and where it was not, there was but too much cause to apprehend that the wheat woud be choaked with weeds.
  • It was also observable that all my early wheat (generally speaking) was headed and heading; the common wheat was but just putting out head, & the Red straw wheat had but very little or no appearance of head & was lower than any of the other allthough first sewn. The heads of the whole appeard short & did not promise any great increase. It was also remarkable that the red straw wheat had a great deal of smutty or blasted heads in the same manner it had last year when they did put out.
  • 2. Went into the Neck.
  • 3. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & Mill.
  • 4. At home all day writing.
  • 5. Went to Church at Alexandria & Dined at Colo Carlyles. The Maryland hound bitch Lady took Forrester, and was also served by Captn. & refused the Dogs on ye 11th. Finishd breaking up corn ground at Doeg Run.Edition: current; Page: [243]
  • 6. Rid to Muddy hole and the Mill & met with Doctr. Rumney upon my Return who dined here.
  • 7. Went up to Alexandria to meet the Attorney-General & returnd with him, his Lady & Daughter, Miss Corbin & Majr. Jenifer.
  • 8. At home with the above Company. Colo. Fairfax, his Lady & Miss Nicholas, Colo. West & his wife, & Colo. Carlyle, Captn. Dalton & Mr. Piper—the three last of whom stayd at night. Carpenters went to getting the frame for my Barn at the House.
  • 9. The Attorney &ca. went away, leavg. Miss Nicholas only here.
  • 10. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run and the Mill.
  • 11. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & the Mill.
  • 12. Went to Pohick Church and returnd to Dinner.
  • 13. Went to Belvoir where Mr. Selden, his Lady &c. were.
  • 14. Returnd home again & found Mr. B. Fairfax here. Sent for Doctr. Rumney to Patey Custis, who was seizd with fitts. Mr. M. Campbell lodg’d here.
  • 15. Colo. Fairfax & Family, together with Mr. Selden & his dind here as also Dr. Rumney. Mr. B. Fairfax went in ye mg.
  • 16. Rid to the Mill, Doeg Run, and M. hole. Mr. Campbell came here in ye Eveng.
  • 17. Rid into the Neck and to Muddy hole. Finishd breaking up corn ground at Muddy hole.
  • 18. At home all day preparg. Invoices and Letters for England.
  • 19. At home, all day preparg.
  • 20. Went to Court and returnd at night.
  • 21. Went up again and stayd all night.
  • 22. Returnd home in the afternoon. About this time Captn. Poseys Bitch Countess was discoverd lined to Dabster, & was immediately shut up & none but Sterling suffered to go to her. Musick was also in heat & servd promiscuously by all the Dogs, intending to drown her Puppys.
  • 23. At home all day.
  • 24. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run, and the Mill before Dinner, & was sent for by express to come to Alexa. to settle and arbitrate an Acct between Mr. George West & Mr. Chas. Alexander with Mr. Thomson Mason & Mr Ellzey.Edition: current; Page: [244]
  • 25. Returnd home, & remaind there all day. Doctr. Rumney came in the afternoon & stayd all night. The Carpenters finishd getting the Frame for the Barn at my House.
  • 26. At home. Doctr. Rumney went away in the afternoon.
  • 27. At home. Colo. Fairfax & his Lady dind here, & returnd in ye aftern.
  • 28. Set of for and reachd Fredericksburg. Began to cut the upper part of my Timothy Meadow.
  • 29. Rid round and examind the wheat fields there, which were fine.
  • 30. Went to Mr. Bouchers, dind there and left Jackey Custis—returnd to Fredericksburg in the aftern.
  • july.

  • 1st. Went over to Stafford Court House to a meeting of the Missisipi.1 dined and lodged there.
  • 2. Dined at Dumfries and reached home. Finishd going over my Corn ground in the neck, both with the Plows & Hoes.
  • 3. At home all day.
  • 4. Rid to see my wheat at differt. Places. Doctr. Rumney came here in the aftern. Began to cut my wheat at the Mill, but upon Examination, finding it too green, desisted. Note. Upon looking into my wheat the Rust was observed to be more or less in it all, but except some at Doeg Run it was thought no great damage woud follow as the wheat was rather too forward.
  • 5. Went to Muddy hole with Doctr. Rumney to see the Cradlers at work. Jonathan Farmer coming down last night & examining my wheat to day, was of opinion that some Muddy hole field was fit, at least might be cut with safety, accordingly began it with himself, 3 other white men & negroe cradlers, letting the grain lye upon the stubble abt. 2 days to dry.
  • 6. Rid to Muddy hole and Doeg Run after Dr. Rumney went away. When I returnd found Mr. William Lee & Dr. Lee here.Edition: current; Page: [245]
  • 7. Mr. Lee went away—Mr. Darnel & Daughter—Mr. Geo. Digges & his two eldest sisters came here & stayed all night.
  • 8. Dr. Lee & all the rest went away & I rid to the Cradlers (cutting my wheat at the mill.) Began to cut the wheat at the Mill in the Field round the Overseers House which was cut and abt. 4 acres in the other this day by 10 and sometimes 11 cradlers which were all that worked—amounting in ye whole to abt. 40 acres.
  • 9. Rid to Muddy hole the Mill and Doeg Run before Dinner, & to the Mill afterwards—where my People was harvesting. Six and sometimes 7 Cradlers, cut the remainder of the field (abt. 28 acres) on this side today. The wheat at Muddy hole was (that is, all that was cut down) got into shocks by 11 oclock to day, and abt. ¾ of the field round the Overseers House at the Mill Pulld the Flax at Muddy hole.
  • 10. Went to Church and returnd to Dinner.
  • 11. Rid to Muddy hole where three white men were cradling, & then to the Mill where we were getting in wheat. Mr. Chichester with his wife, Miss S. McCarty & Dr. Rumney came. Pulld the flax at Home. Got in the most of the mill wheat but was prevented finishing by rain. Three white men (cradlers) cut down abt. 10 or 12 acres of Muddy hole wheat.
  • 12. Rid to Muddy hole before breakfast where all hands were harvesting the wheat. The company went away. Hands went to Muddy hole and finishd harvesting the wheat there, that is, cutting and securing it in shocks.
  • 13. Went into the Neck where I this day began my Harvest. Colo. Fairfax & Doctr. Lee dind here and returnd. Some hands went & got the Residue of the Mill wheat into the House, & all the rest with the Cradlers went into the Neck & cut down & securd little more than 20 acres of wheat.
  • 14. Attended at the Neck again. The hands from the Mill joind the others & altogether finishd the Cut of wheat (containing 50 acres) at the Orchard point, great part of which was very thick, Rank & heavy cuttg.
  • 15. Went over again & drove back by Rain about one oclock, which continued all the afternoon. Began cuttg. the wheat next to it on the River side—abt. one o’clock was stop’d by Rain.Edition: current; Page: [246]
  • 16. Went by Muddy hole & Doeg Run to the Vestry at Pohick Church—stayd there till half after 3 o’clock & only 4 members coming returnd by Captn McCarty & dined there. Finishd this cut & began the one next to the House. This day it also raind & stopd the Harvest abt. an hour or two.
  • 17. At home all day. Dischargd three Cradlers keepg. only Jonathan Palmer & Eliab Roberts.
  • 18. In the Neck with my People harvesting. Nine Cradlers at work including ye two white men.
  • 19. In the Neck with my People harvesting. Mr. Richard Graham came here in the afternoon.
  • 20. In the Neck with my People harvesting, in the Forenoon; in the afternoon went with them to cut the wheat at Doeg Run. Abt. 11 o’clock finishd harvesting the wheat in the Neck; that is, cutting it down & securing it in shocks. In the whole, allowing for the time lost by Rain we were six days doing it. About 2 o’clock in the afternoon began to cut the Field at Doeg Run containing 150 acres with 10 Cradlers—3 of them sorry hands.
  • 21. Went to the harvest field at Doeg Run. Finishd one quarter of the above field abt. 2 o’clock. Note. This cut was, in places, greatly injured by the Rust.
  • 22. Rid to Doeg Run in the forenoon with my wife & Patey Custis About 2 o’clock finish’d another cut in this field being of the same size as the last. This was also injured by Rust, as well as by the frosts.
  • 23. Rid to Doeg Run in the forenoon where I met with one Russel, a Tenant of mine upon the land I bought of Carter’s Estate, coming down to see upon what terms he coud get the Land. At 12 o’clock finishd the third cut of 37½ acres at Doeg Run & clapd into the last one.
  • 24. Went to Pohick Church.
  • 25. Went to Alexandria & bought a Brick layer1 from Mr. Piper & returnd to Dinner. In the afternoon Mr. R. Alexander come. Finished the last cut abt. one oclock this day (Monday), part of wch. was much hurt by the Rust, & cut down the small pieces at home & securd it. Note. From the Edition: current; Page: [247] most accurate experiments I coud make this year upon wheat siezd with the Rust before it is fully formd & beginning to Harden, it appears to be a matter of very little consequence whether it is cut down so soon as it is seizd with this distemper (I mean the parts of the field that are so), or suffered to stand; for in either case the grain perishes & has little or no flower in it, that indeed wch. is sufferd to stand may gain a little & but a little in respect to the grain & the other in respect to the straw so that I think it is nearly equal wch. of the two methods is followed. Note also, from this year’s experiments, it appears certain that wheat may be cut down (suffering it to take a day or two sun) much sooner than it generally is. I took wheat of three differt. degrees of Ripeness, i. e. some whose straw and head was green (but the grain of full size and milky); some whose straw from the upper joint was coloring; and some that the straw from the said joint was cold, but the knots (at ye joints) Green, & observed after they had lain 2 or 3 days in ye sun that the grain of the first was but little shrunk, the 2d scarce perceptable, & the last plump & full by wch. it evidently appears that to cut wheat knot green is not only safe but the most desirable state it can be cut in, & that where there is a large qty. the question is whether it may not be better to begin while the wheat is coloring from the upper joint as the grain will lose but little (if any) than to cut it in an over ripe state when it may loose a good deal more by shattering. For my part I am clear it is better to cut it green & shall have no reluctance to practise where the whole cannot be cut at the exact period one woud choose it.
  • 26. Rid with Mr. Alexander to my Meadow & returnd with him to Dinner. Mr. Val. Crawford here. They went away. Began to cut my Timothy Meadow.
  • 27. Rid to the Meadow again. Val. Crawford & his Br. Wm. came this afternoon.
  • 28. Went to the Meadow with ye above two about the 27 and 28 sowed some Turnep seed in Corn Ground at Morris’s, that is at Doeg Run Plann.
  • 29. But little wind, that southwardly; very warm. Rid to the Meadow in ye afternn. Writg. in ye. Evng.Edition: current; Page: [248]
  • 30. Rid into the Neck and from thence to Doeg Run where we were Hay makg. Colo. Carlyle & Lady came last N: & went to day. Went to Alexa. Church. Dind at Colo. Carlyle’s & returnd in the afternoon. Memm. on the 30th of this month I agreed with Jonathan Palmer to come and work with my carpenters; either at their trade—cowpering—or in short at any thing that he may be set about. In consideration of which I am to pay him £40. pr. ann: allow him 400 lbs. of meat & 20 Bushels of Indian Corn. I am also to allow him to keep two milch cows (one half of whose Increase I am to have) and to have wheat for which he is to pay; he is to be allowed a garden & I am to get the old dwelling House at Muddy hole repaird for him. I am also to take his waggon at £17, if he brings it free from damage and it is no older than he says—that is about a 12 month. Note. He is to be here as early as possible in April, if not in March.
  • august.

  • 1. Went to Belvoir & dined. returnd in the afternoon. Began to tread out wheat at the mill. Also began to draw it in the neck.
  • 2. Rid to the Mill, Doeg Run and Muddy hole. Miss Manly dind here, & Mr. Alexander came in the evening.
  • 3. Mr. Alexander & Miss Manly went away. Rid to the Mill & Muddy hole.
  • 4. Went a fox hunting in the Neck with Lund Washington & Mr. Thos. Triplet. Started nothing. Began to draw it in (that is to carry it from the field on this side the Run over to the Barn) with only my ox cart at Doeg R.
  • 5. Went to Muddy hole, the mill & Doeg Run. Plantations to a Race at Cameron. Returnd in the evening. Began to cut my Timothy seed, there. Getting wheat in at Muddy hole.
  • 6. At home all day. The Hound Bitch Lady brought four puppys. that is 3 dogs and a bitch, distinguished by the following names: viz: that with the most black spots, Vulcan; the other black spotted Dog, Searcher; the Red spotted Dog, Rover—and the red spotted bitch, Sweetlips.
  • 7. At home all day. The Hound Bitch Lady brought four puppys. that is 3 dogs and a bitch, distinguished by the following names: viz: that with the most black spots, Vulcan; the other black spotted Dog, Searcher; the Red spotted Dog, Rover—and the red spotted bitch, Sweetlips.Edition: current; Page: [249]
  • 8. Went a fox hunting but started nothing. Visited Plantations in the Neck & Mill. Sowed Turnep seed at home, in the Neck and at Muddy hole Plann. Began to sow wheat at the Mill & at Doeg’s Run.
  • 9. At home all day.
  • 10. Rid to the mill, Doeg Run and Muddy hole and returned to Dinner. Sowed Turnep at the Mill.
  • 11. Rid to the same places as yesterday & returnd to Dinner. Began to beat cyder at Doeg Run, Muddy hole & in the Neck.
  • 12. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run and Mill, & returnd to Dinner when I found Doctr. Rumney.
  • 13. The hounds havg. started a Fox in self huntg., we followed & run it after sevl. hours chase into a hold when digging it out it escapd. Ye Doctr. went home.
  • 14. At home. Mrs. Fairfax & Miss Nicholas came in the afternoon.
  • 15. Went to Court. Mr. Igns. Digges, Mr. Lee and Mr. Hill came here. Set in to sowing wheat at Muddy hole.
  • 16. At home with the above Gentlemen. Mrs. Fairfax & Miss Nicholas went home after Dinner.
  • 17. Dined at Belvoir with the above Gentlemen, & returnd in the afternoon.
  • 18. Rid round all my Plantations after the above Gentlemen went away.
  • 19. At home. Settled & paid the Sheriff.
  • 20. Set of for my Brother Sam’s & Nomony crossd at ye Mouth of Naugemy & went to my Brothers.
  • 21. At my Brothers. Colo. Lewis & my Brothr. Charles came there.
  • 22. Still at my Brothers with other Company, his child being christned.
  • 23. Hawling the sein under Mr. Laurence Washington’s shore.
  • 24. Imbarkd on board my schooner for Nomony, lay of Captn. Laidler’s.
  • 25. Hawling the sein upon the Bar of Cedar Point for sheeps-heads, but catchd none, run down below ye Mouth of Machodack & came to.Edition: current; Page: [250]
  • 26. Reachd my Brother John’s at night. Finishd drawing in & securing my wheat in the Neck.
  • 27. Hawling the sein upon Hollis’s marsh Bar & elsewhere for sheeps heads, but catchd none.
  • 28. Went to Nomony church & returnd to my Brothers to dinner.
  • 29. Went into Machodack Ck. fishing and dind with the Revd. Mr. Smith. Began to sow wheat at the Neck.
  • 30. Hawling the sein on the Bars near Holl’s marsh & other places.
  • 31. Dind with Mr. Jno. Smith who was maryed yesterday to the Widow Lee.
  • september.

  • 1. Set out from Nomony in my return to Chotauck—lodgd on board the Vessel between Swan Point & Cedr. P.
  • 2. Came up as high as Hoes ferry & walkd to my Brother Sams.
  • 3. Went to Mr. John Stiths & din’d there. returnd in the afternoon.
  • 4. Went to Church, dind at Colo. Harrison & returnd to my Brs. in ye afternoon.
  • 5. Crossd over to the lower point of Naugemy where I met my chariot & returnd home.
  • 6. Went in the Forenoon to the Mill, Doeg Run & Muddy hole, in the afternoon paid a visit to Majr. Fairfax (Brother to Lord Fx) at Belvoir. My ox cart finished drawing in the wheat at Doeg Run, but during this time it was employed in getting home the Cyder from all the Plantations.
  • 7. Dined at Belvoir with Mrs. W—&c.
  • 8. Went to a Ball in Alexandria.
  • 9. Proceeded to the Meeting of our Vestry at the New Church and lodgd at Captn. Edwd. Paynes.
  • 10. Returnd home & dind at Belvoir with Lord Fairfax, &c.
  • 11. At home all day.
  • 12. Lord Fairfax & his Brother & Colo. Fairfax & Mr. B. Fairfax dind here—the latter stayd all night.
  • 13. Went fox huntg. with Lord Fairfax, Colo. Fairfax & B. Fairfax. Catchd nothg.Edition: current; Page: [251]
  • 14. Mr. B: Fairfax & myself went a huntg. started a Fox & run it into a hole but did not catch it. Finishd sowing the second cut of wheat in the Neck which compleated the half of the corn ground there.
  • 15. Dined at Belvoir with Colo. Robt Burwell.
  • 16. Went into the Neck—returnd to dinner. Anointed all my Hounds (as well old Dogs as Puppies) which appeard to have the Mange with Hogs Lard & Brimstone.
  • 17. At home. Colo. Robt Burwell, Mr Grymes & Colo. Fairfax dind here. Ye latter went home in the Evening. Got done sowing wheat at Doeg Run. Sowed 92½ Bushels. The Hound Bitch Mopsey going proud, was lind by my water dog Pilot before it was discoverd—after which she was shut up with a hound dog, Old Harry.
  • 18. Colo. & Mrs. Fairfax dined & and lodgd here. My Schooner Sailed for Suffolk for a load of Shingles.
  • 19. Went to Court with Colo. Burwell &c.
  • 20. Colo. Burwell &c. went away to Belvoir, & Mrs. Washington & ye two childn. were up to Alexandria to see the Inconstant or way to win him acted.
  • 21. Stayd in Town all day & saw the Tragedy of Douglas playd.
  • 22. Came home in the forenoon. Spread my Flax for Rotting at the Home House.
  • 23. Went a fox hunting & catchd a Bitch Fox after abt. 2 Hours chase. Finishd sowing the third cut of wheat in the Neck.
  • 24. At home all day. Colo. Henry Lee & Lady & Miss Ballendine came to dinner & stayd all night.
  • 25. At home. The above Company went away after Breakfast.
  • 26. Went Fox huntg in the Neck. Started & run up a Fox or Foxes 3 Hours & then lost.
  • 27. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & Mill—Spread Flax for Rotting at Doeg Run. Began to cut Tops at Doeg Run.
  • 28. Dined at Colo. Fairfaxs and returnd in the afternoon. Finishd sowing wheat at Muddy hole: the field took 106 Bushls. to Sow.
  • 29. Went to a Purse Race at Accatinck & returnd with Messrs. Robt. and George Alexander.
  • 30. At Home all day. After Dinner Mr. Geo Alexander went away, the other (Robt.) stayd.Edition: current; Page: [252]
  • october.

  • 1. Fox hunting back of Mr. Barry’s with Mr. Robt. Alexander, Mr. Manley & Captn. Posey. Started & catchd a bitch Fox. The hound Bitch Tipsey was lind by ye little spaniel dog, Pompey, before she was shut up in the House with old Harry.
  • 2. At home. Mr. Alexander went away before breakfast. Mr. Stedlar remd all day.
  • 3. Clear & pleasant with Very little wind. Rid to Muddy hole & Doeg Run. Miss Sally Carlyle came here.
  • 4. Went into the Neck, & up the Creek after Blew wings. Finishd sowing wheat at the Mill, which field took 75 Bushels.
  • 5. Went to Alexandria after an early dinner to see a ship (the Jenny) launched, but was disappointed & came home. Finishd sowing in the Neck. this field took 216 Bushels, which makes the quantities sowed as follows: viz.

    at Doeg Run 92½ bushels
    Muddy hole 106½
    Mill 75
    Neck 216
  • Began getting Fodder at the Mill.
  • 6. Went up again, saw the ship Launchd, stayd all night to a Ball & set up all night. Began getting Fodder at the Neck.
  • 7. Came in the morning & remaind. Mr. Townd. Dade (of Chopk.) came here.
  • 8. Went Fox huntg. (in ye Neck) in the forenoon. Started but catchd nothing, & in the afternoon went up the Ck. after Blew wings, killd 7 or 8.
  • 9. At home all day. Mr. Dade went away.
  • 10. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & the Mill. Captn. McCabe dind here.
  • 11. At home all day alone. Sowed apple pummice in the new Garden, from Crab apples.
  • 12. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & Mill in the forenoon, in the afternoon went into the Neck.
  • 13. Went fox hunting and catchd a Bitch fox after two hours chase.
  • 14. Went into the Neck in the forenoon.Edition: current; Page: [253]
  • 15. Went a hunting with Captn. Posey & Ld. Washington. Catchd a Bitch Fox after a chase of 1 Hour and 10 Minutes. Finishd cutting (but not securing) Fodder at Doeg Run Quarters. Did the same also at Muddy hole.
  • 16. Went to Pohick Church. Dined at Captn. McCarty’s & came home at night, Doctr. Rumney who came here last night went away this morning & Mr. Ramsay & Mr. Adams came here at night.
  • 17. At Home all day. Messrs. Ramsay & Adams went home this Evening.
  • 18. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & the Mill.
  • 19. Set of on my Journey to Williamsburg & reachd Colo. Henry Lees to Dinner.
  • 20. Detaind there all day by Rain.
  • 21. Reachd Fredericksburg, found Warren Washington & Ca. there.
  • 22. Dined at Parkers Ordy. & lodgd at Mr. Benja. Hubbards, Colo. Lewis also.
  • 23. Dined at the Causey & got to Colo. Bassetts.
  • 24. Dined at Josh. Valentine’s sent Chairs & Horses over James River, & lodgd in Wms.burg ourselves.
  • 25. Crossd James River, & by Rain was forcd to lodge at one Captn. Stowey (or Stowe’s).
  • 26. Breakfasted in Suffolk, dined & lodgd in ye Dismal Swamp at Jno. Washingtons.
  • 27. Went up to our Plantation at Northfleets in Carolina & returnd in ye afternoon.
  • 28. Went into the Pond with Colo. Lewis, Majr. Reddick & Jno. Washington, & at Night went to ye Majrs.
  • 29. Got to Smithfield in return to Wms.burg.
  • 30. Set out early; breakfasted at Hog Island and dined in Wms.
  • 31. Dined at the Mayor’s Entt. of the Govr. in Wms.
  • november.

  • 1. In Williamsburg. Dined at the Speakers, with many Gentlemen.
  • 2. In Williamsburg. dined at the Attorney Genls, with Lord Botetourt (ye Govr.) & many other Gentlemen.
  • 3. In Williamsburg. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s.Edition: current; Page: [254]
  • 4. In Williamsburg. Dined with several Gentlemen at Ayscoughs. Colo. Byrds Lottery began drawing.1
  • 5. Dined at Mrs. Campbells, where I had spent all my Evenings, since I came to Town.
  • 6. Left Williamsburg & Dined & lodgd at Colo. Bassetts.
  • 7. Set out for home with Betsey Dandridge. Dined at King Wm. Court Ho. & lodgd at Mr. Wm. Ayletts.
  • 8. Dined at Parkers and lodgd at Fredericksburg.
  • 9. Reached home in about 7 Hours & an half, found Doctr. Rumy. & Miss Ramy. here.
  • 10. At Home all day. The Doctr. and Miss Ramsey went home.
  • 11. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg run and the Neck. Mr. Magowan & Mr. Stedlar came to Dinner as Mr. R. Alexr. did in ye aftern.
  • 12. Went Fox huntg. in the Neck. Started & was run out of hearg. of the Dogs, owing to the wind. Whether they catchd or not is not known.
  • 13. Went to Pohick Church & dined at Home with Mr. Ths. Triplet, H. Manley & Mr. Peake.
  • 14. Rid to Muddy hole & all my Plantns. Began to gather corn at Muddy hole and in the Neck.
  • 15. Went to Fox hunting in the Neck, catchd a bitch fox, after an hour and 40 minutes chase.
  • 16. Went to Colo. Fairfaxs & dined with Mrs. Wm & Miss Dandridge. returnd in ye aftn.
  • 17. Went up to a Race by Mr. Beckwiths & lodgd at Mr. Edwd. Paynes.
  • 18. Returned home, breakfasted at Capt. McCartys & came by the Mill & Muddy hole.
  • 19. At home all day, alone.
  • 20. At home all day alone.
  • 21. Went up to Court and returnd in the evening with my Brothr. John. Measurd the cut of corn in the Neck, adjoing to the Gate, the contents of which was:—Edition: current; Page: [255]
  • 22. Went a fox huntg. with Lord Fairfax & Colo. Fairfax, & my Br. Catchd 2 Foxes. Began to gather corn at the Mill.
  • 23. Went a huntg. again with Lord Fairfax & his Brother, & Col. Fairfax. Catchd nothing that we knew of. A fox was started.
  • 24. Mr. Robt. Alexander here; Went into the Neck.
  • 25. Mr. Bryan Fairfax, as also Messrs. Grayson & Phil. Alexander, came here by sunrise. Hunted & catchd a fox with these & my Lord his Bro. & Colo. Fairfax, all of whom with Mrs. Fx. & Mr. Wetson (?) of Engd dined here.
  • 26. Hunted again in the above Compa. but catchd nothing.
  • 27. Went to Church.
  • 28. Went to the Vestry at Pohick Church.
  • 29. Went a Huntg. with Lord Fairfax &c. Catchd a Fox.
  • 30. At home all day. Colo. Mason & Mr. Cockburne came in the evening.
  • december.

  • 1. Went to the Election of Burgesses for this County & was there, with Colo. West chosen.1 Stayd all Night to a Ball wch. I had given.
  • 2. Returnd home after dinner, accompanied by Colo. Mason, Mr. Cockburn & Messrs. Henderson Ross & Lawson.
  • 3. Went a fox huntg. in Company with Lord & Colo. Fairfax, Captn. McCarty & Messrs. Henderson & Ross. Started nothing. My Br. came in ye afternoon.
  • 4. At Home all day.
  • 5. Fox hunting with Lord Fairfax & his Brothr. & Colo. Fairfax. Started a Fox & lost it. dined at Belvoir & came in ye Evg.
  • 6. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & Mill.
  • 7. At home all day, alone.
  • 8. Fox huntg. with Lord Fairfax & Brothr. & Colo. Fairfax, all of whom dind here. Started nothing.
  • 9. Rid to Muddy hole, Doeg Run & ye Mill.
  • 10. Went a fox hunting in the Neck & catchd a fox; afterwards went to the Plantatins there. Dr. Rumney come to Dr. & Mr. Alexr. in ye Evg.Edition: current; Page: [256]
  • 11. They went away after breakfast. Alone aftd.
  • 12. Rid to the Mill, Doeg Run & Muddy hole. Miss Carlyle & Miss Dalton came here.
  • 13. Set of about 12 o’clock for Towlston to hunt with Mr. Bryan Fairfax. Got there in the afternn. Killd Hogs.
  • 14. Stayd there all day, in the Evg. went to see his new mill.
  • 15. Returnd home, by the way (that is near Muddy hole) started & catchd a Fox.
  • 16. At home all day. Jacky Custis came home from Mr. Bouchers.
  • 17. Rid out with my Gun, but killd nothg. Mary Wilson came to live here as a Ho. keeper at 15/ pr month.
  • 18. At home all day. Miss Sally Carlyle & Miss Betey Dalton went away & Mr. Stedlar came.
  • 19. Went up to Court & returnd at night.
  • 20. At home all day. } Snowing
  • 21. At home all day. }
  • 22. At home all day. }
  • 23. Went a Pheasant Huntg., carried hounds & they started & followd a Deer.
  • 24. Rid to the Mill & Doeg Run.
  • 25. At home all day.
  • 26. At home all day. L. W—n set of for Staffd.
  • 27. At home all day. except shooting between breakfast & dinner.
  • 28. At home all day alone.
  • 29. Went a fox hunting—started one but did not catch it. In the afternoon Messrs. Dalton, Piper, & Riddell came here. also Mr. Magowan.
  • 30. At home with them all day.
  • 31. Went a hunting & catchd a bitch fox, the above Gentlemn. with me.1
Edition: current; Page: [257]
George Washington
Washington, George
30 May, 1768
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


Rev. Sir,

Mr. Magowan who lived several years in my family, a tutor to Master Custis (my son-in-law and ward,) Edition: current; Page: [258] having taken his departure for England, leaves the young gentleman without any master at this time. I should be glad therefore to know if it would be convenient for you to add him to the number of your pupils. He is a boy of good genius, about 14 years of age, untainted in his morals and of innocent manners. Two years and upwards he has been reading of Virgil and was (at the time Mr. Magowan left him) entered upon the Greek testament.

I presume, he has grown not a little rusty in both having had no benefit of his tutor since Christmas, notwithstanding he left the country in March only. If he comes, he will have a boy (well acquainted with house business, which may be made as useful as possible in your family to keep him out of idleness) and two horses to furnish him with the means of getting to Church and elsewhere, as you may permit; for he will be put entirely and absolutely Edition: current; Page: [259] under your tuition and direction to manage as you think proper in all respects.

Now Sir, if you incline to take Master Custis, I should be glad to know what conveniences, it may be necessary for him to bring, and how soon he may come. For as to his board and schooling (provender for his horses, he may lay in himself.) I do not think it necessary to enquire into and will cheerfully pay ten or twelve pounds a year, extraordinary, to engage your peculiar care of, and a watchful eye to him, as he is a promising boy, the last of his family and will possess a very large fortune. Add to this my anxiety to make him fit for more useful purposes than horse racer.

This letter will be sent to you by my brother at Fredericksburg and I should be obliged to you for an answer by the first post to Alexandria near to which place I live. I am, &c

P. S. If it is necessary for him to provide a bed, could one be purchased in your neighborhood? It would save a long carriage.

George Washington
Washington, George
6 June, 1768
Mt. Vernon,



My old chariot having run its race, and gone through as many stages as I could conveniently make it travel, is now rendered incapable of any further service. The intent of this letter, therefore, is to desire you will bespeak me a new one, Edition: current; Page: [260] time enough to come out with the goods (I shall hereafter write for) by Captn. Johnston, or some other ship.

As these are kind of articles that last with care against number of years, I would willingly have the chariot you may now send me made in the newest taste, handsome, genteel and light; yet not slight, and consequently unserviceable; to be made of the best seasoned wood, and by a celebrated workman. The last importation which I have seen, besides the customary steel springs, have others that play in a brass barrel and contribute at one and the same time to the ease and ornament of the carriage. One of this kind, therefore, would be my choice; and green being a color little apt, as I apprehend, to fade, and grateful to the eye, I would give it the preference, unless any other color more in vogue and equally lasting is entitled to precedency. In that case I would be governed by fashion. A light gilding on the mouldings (that is, round the panels) and any other ornaments, that may not have a heavy and tawdry look (together with my arms agreeable to the impression here sent) might be added, by way of decoration. A lining of a handsome, lively colored leather of good quality I should also prefer, such as green, blue, or &c., as may best suit the color of the outside. Let the box that slips under the seat be as large as it conveniently can be made (for the benefit of storage upon a journey), and to have a pole (not shafts) for the wheel horses to draw by; together with a handsome set of harness for four middle sized Edition: current; Page: [261] horses ordered in such a manner as to suit either two postilions (without a box), or a box and a postilion. The box being made to fix on, and take off occasionally, with a hammel cloth &c., suitable to the lining. On the harness let my crest be engraved.

If such a chariot as I have here described could be got at second hand, little or nothing the worse for wear, but at the same time a good deal under the first cost of a new one (and sometimes though perhaps rarely it happens so), it would be very desirable; but if I am obliged to go near to the original cost, I would even have one made, and have been thus particular in hopes of getting a handsome chariot through your direction, good taste and management—not of copper, however, for these do not stand the powerful heat of our sun. * * *1

Edition: current; Page: [262]


George Washington
Washington, George
29 January, 1769
Mount Vernon,
William Ramsay
Ramsay, William


Dear Sir,

* * * Having once or twice of late heard yon speak highly in praise of the Jersey College, as if you had a desire of sending your son William there (who, I am told, is a youth fond of study and instruction, and disposed to a sedentary studious life, in following of which he may not only promote his own happiness, but the future welfare of others), I should be glad, if you have no other objection to it than what may arise from the expense, if you would send him there as soon as it is convenient, and depend on me for twenty-five pounds this currency a year for his support, so long as it may be necessary for the completion of his education. If I live to see the accomplishment of this term, the sum here stipulated shall be annually paid; and if I die in the mean while, this letter shall be obligatory upon my heirs, or executors, to do it according to the true intent and meaning hereof. No other return is expected, or wished, for this offer, than that you will accept it with the same freedom and good will, with which it is made, and that you may not even consider it in the light of an obligation, or mention it as such; for, be assured, that from me it will never be known. I am, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [263]
George Washington
Washington, George
5 April, 1769
Mount Vernon,
George Mason
Mason, George


Dear Sir,

Herewith you will receive a letter and sundry papers,2 which were forwarded to me a day or two ago by Dr. Ross of Bladensburg. I transmit them with the greater pleasure, as my own desire of knowing your sentiments upon a matter of this importance exactly coincides with the Doctor’s inclinations.

At a time, when our lordly masters in Great Britain will be satisfied with nothing less than the deprivation of American freedom, it seems highly necessary that something should be done to avert the stroke, and maintain the liberty, which we have derived from our ancestors. But the manner of doing it, to answer the purpose effectually, is the point in question.

That no man should scruple, or hesitate a moment, to use a—ms in defence of so valuable a blessing, on which all the good and evil of life depends, is clearly my opinion. Yet a—ms, I would beg leave to add, should be the last resource, the dernier resort. Addresses to the throne, and remonstrances to Parliament, we have already, it is said, proved the inefficacy Edition: current; Page: [264] of. How far, then, their attention to our rights and privileges is to be awakened or alarmed, by starving their trade and manufactures, remains to be tried.

The northern colonies, it appears, are endeavoring to adopt this scheme. In my opinion it is a good one, and must be attended with salutary effects, provided it can be carried pretty generally into execution. But to what extent it is practicable to do so, I will not take upon me to determine. That there will be difficulties attending the execution of it every where, from clashing interests, and selfish, designing men, (ever attentive to their own gain, and watchful of every turn, that can assist their lucrative views, in preference to every other consideration) cannot be denied; but in the tobacco colonies, where the trade is so diffused, and in a manner wholly conducted by factors for their principals at home, these difficulties are certainly enhanced, but I think not insurmountably increased, if the gentlemen in their several counties will be at some pains to explain matters to the people, and stimulate them to a cordial agreement to purchase none but certain enumerated articles out of any of the stores after such a period, nor import nor purchase any themselves. This, if it did not effectually withdraw the factors from their importations, would at least make them extremely cautious in doing it, as the prohibited goods could be vended to none but the non-associators, or those who would pay no regard to their association; both of whom ought to be stigmatized, and made the objects of public reproach.

The more I consider a scheme of this sort, the Edition: current; Page: [265] more ardently I wish success to it, because I think there are private as well as public advantages to result from it,—the former certain, however precarious the other may prove. For in respect to the latter, I have always thought, that by virtue of the same power, (for here alone the authority derives) which assumes the right of taxation, they may attempt at least to restrain our manufactories, especially those of a public nature, the same equity and justice prevailing in the one case as the other, it being no greater hardship to forbid my manufacturing, than it is to order me to buy goods of them loaded with duties, for the express purpose of raising a revenue. But as a measure of this sort would be an additional exertion of arbitrary power, we cannot be worsted, I think, by putting it to the test.

On the other hand, that the colonies are considerably indebted to Great Britain, is a truth universally acknowledged. That many families are reduced almost, if not quite, to penury and want from the low ebb of their fortunes, and estates daily selling for the discharge of debts, the public papers furnish but too many melancholy proofs of, and that a scheme of this sort will contribute more effectually than any other I can devise to emerge the country from the distress it at present labors under, I do most firmly believe, if it can be generally adopted. And I can see but one set of people (the merchants excepted,) who will not, or ought not, to wish well to the scheme, and that is those who live genteelly and hospitably on clear estates. Such as these, were they Edition: current; Page: [266] not to consider the valuable object in view, and the good of others, might think it hard to be curtailed in their living and enjoyments. For as to the penurious man, he saves his money and he saves his credit, having the best plea for doing that, which before, perhaps, he had the most violent struggles to refrain from doing. The extravagant and expensive man has the same good plea to retrench his expenses. He is thereby furnished with a pretext to live within bounds, and embraces it. Prudence dictated economy to him before, but his resolution was too weak to put it in practice; For how can I, says he, who have lived in such and such a manner, change my method? I am ashamed to do it, and, besides, such an alteration in the system of my living will create suspicions of the decay in my fortune, and such a thought the world must not harbour. I will e’en continue my course, till at last the course discontinues the estate a sale of it being the consequence of his perseverance in error. This I am satisfied is the way, that many, who have set out in the wrong track, have reasoned, till ruin stares them in the face. And in respect to the poor and needy man, he is only left in the same situation that he was found,—better, I might say, because, as he judges from comparison, his condition is amended in proportion as it approaches nearer to those above him.

Upon the whole, therefore, I think the scheme a good one, and that it ought to be tried here, with such alterations as the exigency of our circumstances renders absolutely necessary. But how, and in what Edition: current; Page: [267] manner to begin the work, is a matter worthy of consideration, and whether it can be attempted with propriety or efficacy (further than a communication of sentiments to one another,) before May, when the Court and Assembly will meet in Williamsburg, and a uniform plan can be concerted, and sent into the different counties to operate at the same time and in the same manner everywhere, is a thing I am somewhat in doubt upon, and should be glad to know your opinion of.1

Edition: current; Page: [268]
George Washington
Washington, George
18 June, 1769
Mount Vernon,
Colonel Bassett
Colonel Bassett


Dear Sir,

As we have come to a resolution to set off (if nothing unforeseen happens to prevent it) for the Warm Springs about the 18th of next month, I do Edition: current; Page: [269] according to promise give you notice thereof, and should be glad of your company with us, if you still entertain thoughts of trying the effects of those waters. You will have occasion to provide nothing, if I can be advised of your intentions before the wagon comes down for my necessaries, so that I may provide accordingly.

We are all in the usual way, no alteration for the better or worse in Patey.1 The association in this and in the two neighboring counties of Prince William and Loudoun is compleat, or near it. How Edition: current; Page: [270] it goes in other places, I know not, but hope to hear of the universality of it.1

We all join in tendering our love to Mrs. Bassett, yourself, family, and Mrs. Dandridge and Betsy.

George Washington
Washington, George
18 August, [17]69
John Armstrong
Armstrong, John


Dear Sir,

About a fortnight ago2 I came to this place with Mrs. Washington and her daughter, the latter of whom being troubled with a complaint, which the efficacy of these waters it is thought might remove, we resolved to try them, but have found little benefit as yet from the experiment. What a week or two more may do, we know not, and therefore are inclined to put them to the test. It was with much pleasure however I heard by Mr. Clingan that you stand in Edition: current; Page: [271] no need of assistance from these Springs, which I find are applied to in all cases, altho’ there be a moral certainty of their hurting in some. Many poor miserable objects are now attending here, which I hope will receive the desired benefit, as I dare say they are deprived of the means of obtaining any other relief, from their indigent circumstances.

Give me leave now, Sir, to thank you for the polite and friendly assistance you gave to the affair I took the liberty (in March last) of recommending to your notice. Captn. Crawford, from whom I have since heard, informs me, that your letter procured him a free, and easy admission to the Land office, & to such Indulgences as could be consistently granted; consequently his work became much less difficult, than otherwise it would have been.1

Some confident reports of Indian disturbances at Fort Pitt, drove many families in from Redstone, and gave some alarm to the female visitors of these waters; but upon a stricter scrutiny into the causes of the reports, we find that mis-representations and ill grounded fears, gave rise to the whole; & that our own people more than the Indians are to blame for the little misunderstandings which have happened among them.

My best respects attend Mrs. Armstrong, in which Mrs. Washington joins, and I am &c.2

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George Washington
Washington, George
15 April, 1770
Mount Vernon,
Baron de Botetourt
de Botetourt, Baron


My Lord,

Being fully persuaded of your Excellency’s inclination to render every just and reasonable service to the people you govern, or to any body or society of them, that shall ask it, and being encouraged in a more particular manner by a letter, which I have just received from Mr. Blair (clerk of the Council), to believe, that your Lordship is desirous of being fully informed how far the grant of land solicited by Mr. Walpole and others will affect the interest of this country in general, or individuals in particular, I shall take the liberty (being pretty intimately acquainted with the situation of the frontiers of this dominion) to inform your Lordship, that the bounds of that grant, if obtained upon the extensive plan prayed for, will comprehend at least four fifths of Edition: current; Page: [273] the land, for which this government hath lately voted two thousand five hundred pounds sterling, the purchase and survey of; and must destroy the well grounded hopes of those, (if no reservation is made in their favor,) who have had the strongest assurances, which government could give, of enjoying a certain portion of the lands, which have cost this country so much blood and treasure to secure.

By the extracts, which your Excellency did me the honor to enclose, I perceive, that the petitioners require to begin opposite to the mouth of Scioto, which is as least seventy or seventy-five miles below the mouth of the Big Kanhawa, (and more than three hundred from Pittsburg,) and to extend from thence in a southwardly direction through the pass of the Ouasioto Mountain, which, (by Evans’s map, and the best accounts I have been able to get from persons, who have explored that country,) will bring them near the latitude of North Carolina. From thence they go northeastwardly to the Kanhawa, at the junction of New River and Green Briar, upon both of which waters we have many settlers upon lands actually patented. From thence they proceed up the Green Briar to the head of the northeasterly branch thereof, thence easterly to the Allegany Mountains, thence along these mountains to the line of Lord Fairfax, and thence with his line, and the lines of Maryland and Pennsylvania, till the west boundary of the latter intersects the Ohio, and finally down the same to the place of beginning.

These, my Lord, are the bounds of a grant prayed Edition: current; Page: [274] for, and, if obtained, will give a fatal blow, in my humble opinion, to the interests of this country. But these are my sentiments as a member of the community at large; but I now beg leave to offer myself to your Excellency’s notice, in a more interested point of view, as an individual, and as a person, who considers himself in some degree the representative of the officers and soldiers, who claim a right to two hundred thousand acres of this very land, under a solemn act of government, adopted at a very important and critical period to his Majesty’s affairs in this part of the world; and shall, therefore, rely on your Lordship’s accustomed goodness and candor, whilst I add a few words in support of the equity of our pretensions, although, in truth, I have very little to say on this subject now, which I have not taken the liberty of observing to your Excellency before.

The first letter I ever did myself the honor of writing to your Excellency on the subject of this land, and to which I beg leave to refer, contained a kind of historical account of our claim; but as there requires nothing more to elucidate a right, than to offer a candid exhibition of the case, supported by facts, I shall beg leave to refer your Lordship to an order of Council, of the 18th of February, 1754, and to Governor Dinwiddie’s proclamation, which issued consequent thereupon, both of which are enclosed; and then add, that these troops not only enlisted agreeably to the proclamation, but behaved so much to the satisfaction of the country, as to be honored with the most public acknowledgments of it in their legislative capacity. Would it not be hard, then, my Edition: current; Page: [275] Lord, to deprive men under these circumstances, (or their representatives,) of the just reward of their toils? Was not this act of the Governor and Council offered to, and accepted by the soldiery, as an absolute compact between them? And though the exigency of affairs, or the policy of government, made it necessary to continue these lands in a dormant state for some time, ought not their claim to be considered, when the causes cease, in preference to all others? We fain would hope so. We flatter ourselves, that in this point of view it will also appear to your Lordship, and that, by your kind interposition, and favorable representation of the case, his Majesty will be graciously pleased to confirm this land to us, agreeably to a petition presented to your Excellency in Council the 15th of last December; with this difference only, that, instead of Sandy Creek (one of the places allotted for the location of our grant, and which we now certainly know will not be comprehended within the ministerial line, as it is called), we may be allowed to lay a part of our grant between the west boundary of Pennsylvania and the river Ohio, which will be expressly agreeable to the words of Governor Dinwiddie’s proclamation, inasmuch as it is contiguous to the Fork of Monongahela. This favor, my Lord, would be conferring a singular obligation on men, most of whom, either in their persons or fortunes, have suffered in the cause of their country; few of them benefited by the service; and it cannot fail to receive the thanks of a grateful body of men, but of none more warmly than of your Lordship’s most obedient and humble servant.

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George Washington
Washington, George
20 April, 1770
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


Revd. Sir,

Your favor of the 10th conveyed an unexpected piece of intelligence, tho’ a very agreeable one—Jack left this place with so many doubts & difficulties abt. going to Baltimore to be Innoculated with the Small Pox, that we all Concluded nothing was more foreign from his Intention—Mrs. Washington having fully adopted this opinion, I have withheld from her the information you gave me in respect to his undertaking, & purpose, if possible, to keep her in total ignorance of his having been there, till I hear of his return, or perfect recovery; as one step towds this, I shoud be obliged to you to address any Letter you may write me, under cover to Lund Washington, & in a hand not your own; for notwithstanding it is believed Jack was resolved to postpone this business, yet, her anxiety & uneasiness is so great, that I am sure she coud not rest satisfied without knowing the contents of any Letter of your writing to his Family—Indeed I believe was she to come to the knowledge of being at Baltimore (under Innoculation) it woud put an infallible stop to her journey to Williamsburg, & possibly delay mine, which woud prove very injurious, as my business requires that I shoud set of [sic] on Friday the 26th Inst. if he is in so favourable way as to permit it (instead of visiting him which I should immediately do if I am informed of any dangerous or unfavorable Symptoms attending his disorder). For this Reason, I shoud be glad to hear from Edition: current; Page: [277] him as late as can be (to reach me before Fryday) that if all is well we may proceed without any intimation to Mrs. Washington of this matter; she having often wishd that Jack woud take & go through the disorder without her knowing of it, that she might escape those Tortures which suspense wd throw her into, little as the cause might be for them.—When he is returned to Annapolis, you will be so good as to write me a Line by Post to Williamsburg which shall be the first intimation of this affair I purpose to give if I can keep it concealed so long.

I am with very great esteem, & thanks for your Attention to Jack on this occasion.1

George Washington
Washington, George
13 May, 1770
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan



Your favor of the 9th came to hand last night, but I do not think myself prepared at this time to give any conclusive answer to the question you propounded, respecting Mr. Custis’s travelling to perfect his Education.

It is a matter of very great consequence and well deserving of the most serious consideration, especially [by] one who stands in the degree of affinity to him that I do. A natural parent has only two things principally to consider, the improvement of his son, and the finances to do it with: if he fails in the first Edition: current; Page: [278] (not through his own neglect) he laments it as a misfortune; if exceeded in the Second, he endeavors to correct it as an abuse unaccountable to any, and regardless of what the world may say, who do not, cannot suspect him of acting upon any other motive than the good of the party; he is to satisfy himself only. But this is not the case with respect to guardians: they are not only to be actuated by the same motives which govern in the other case, but are to consider in what light their conduct may be viewed by those whom the constitution hath placed as a controulling power over them; because a faupas committed by them often incurs the severest censure, and sometimes punishment; when the intention may be strictly laudable.

Thus much, Sir, I have taken the liberty of saying to shew you in what light I consider myself, (generally) as the guardian of this youth. But before I could adopt the measure finally upon the extensive plan you seem to propose, and give a definitive answer, it would be incumbent on me (as the person who is to account for his worldly concerns, as well as personal accomplishments,) to have some regular System proposed; that it may be seen at one view how the expence and his income are proportioned to each other; for tho’ I am far, very far, from harboring any distrust of your being influenced by any similar views, or that you would be unreasonable in your expectations as his governor, yet some plan should be pointed out, some estimate formed, by which I am to be guided; otherwise were I hastily to determine that a Edition: current; Page: [279] year or two hence (or as his education and judgment ripened) he was to travel, and when that period arrived it was found to be upon a plan too enlarged for his fortune and a stop thereby put to it, it might be a disappointment to you which I should be sorry for, as I make it a point, at least endeavor to do so, not to deceive any one.

From what I have said, you may possibly conceive that I am averse to his travelling, for the completion of his education; but be assured, Sir, I am not; there is nothing, in my opinion more desirable to form the manners and encrease the knowledge of observant youth than such a plan as you have sketched out; and I beg of you to believe, that there is no gentleman under whose care Mrs. Washington and myself would so soon entrust Mr. Custis as yourself (after he is sufficiently instructed in classical knowledge here). It may be depended on therefore, that the gratification of this passion in him, will never meet with any interruption from me, and I think I may venture to add, from his mother, provided he is disposed to set out upon such a plan of improvement as your good sense is capable of dictating to him; and provided also that you will undertake to accompany and guide him in the pursuit of it. Add to this, that he will be content with such an allowance as his income can afford; for here it is also necessary to observe, that tho’ he is possessed of what is called a good estate, it is not a profitable one. His Lands are poor, consequently the crops short; and tho’ he has a number of slaves, slaves in such cases only add to Edition: current; Page: [280] the Expence. About 60, and from that to 80 Hogsheads of Tobacco, is as much as he generally makes of a year; and if this is cleared, it is as much as can be expected considering the number of people he has to cloath and the many incident charges attending such an estate.

This, Sir, is all the answer I am capable of giving you at present, if you will do me the favor to be more explicit on this subject in another letter. I will not only think of the matter with the best attention to it I am Master of, but advise with some of his, and my friends, whilst I am in Williamsburg, as a justification of my conduct therein. And as to his being innoculated for the Small Pox previous to such an Event, the propriety of it is so striking, that it cannot admit of a doubt. In truth my opinion of this is that it ought to happen whether he travels or not, as this disorder will in the course of a few years be scarce ever out of his own country.


May 19. Set off for Williamsburg; dined at Dumfries. Called at my Mother’s and lodged at Col. Lewis’s in Fredericksburg.

20. Breakfasted at Mr. Boucher’s. Dined at Coleman’s and lodged at Todds bridge.

21. Breakfasted at King William Court House, and dined and lodged at Eltham.2

22. Reached Williamsburg to breakfast, and dined at the Club at Mrs. Campbell and supped at the Raleigh.

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23. Dined at Mr. Dawson’s, and spent the evening in my own room.

24. Dined at the Treasurer’s, and spent the evening in my own room.

25. Dined at the Palace, and attended a Committee of the Association at Hayes. Spent the evening there.

26. Took a snack at Mrs. Dawson’s, and went up to Eltham in the afternoon.

27. At Eltham all day.

28. Returned to Williamsburg by 9 o’clock; dined at the Speaker’s, and attended a Committee of the Association at Hayes till 11 o’clock.

29. Dined at Mrs. Dawsons and spent the evening in my own room.

30. Dined at the Club, and spent the evening in my own room.

31. Dined at the Attorneys, and attended a Committee of the Association at Hayes till one o’clock.

June 1. Dined at the Club, at Mrs. Campbell’s, (Williamsburg), and attended a Meeting of the Association at the Capitol at 6 o’clock, and continued there till eleven o’clock.

2. Dined at the Club, and spent the evening in my own room.

3. Dined at the Club, and spent the evening in my own room.

4. Dined at the Club, and spent the evening at the Councils Ball at the Capitol.

5. Dined at the Club, and spent the evening in my own room.

6. Dined at the Club, and spent the evening in my own room.

7. Dined with the Council, and spent the evening in my own room.

8. Dined at the Club, and spent the evening in my own room.

9. Had a cold cut at Mrs. Campbell’s and went up to Eltham in the afternoon.

10. Dined at Eltham, and in the afternoon went to see Mr. Dandridge and returned to Eltham again.

11. Went over to Colo. Thos. Moore’s sale,1 and purchased two negroes, to wit, Frank and James, and returned to Eltham again at night.

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12. Came to Williamsburg to breakfast, dined at the Club, and spent the evening in my own room.

13. Dined at the Club and spent the evening in my own room.

14. Dined at the Speaker’s and went to bed by 8 o’clock.

15. Dined at the Treasurer’s and went to a meeting of the Association, at which till 11 o’clock; then went to bed.

16. Dined at the Club at Mrs. Campbell’s, and went to the play in the evening.

17. Went to Church in the forenoon, and from thence to Col. Burwell’s where I dined and lodged.

18. Came into Williamsburg in the morning. Dined at the Club, and went to the play in the afternoon.

19. Dined at the Club, and went to the play.

20. Dined at the President’s, and went to the play afterwards.

21. Dined at the Club at Mrs. Campbell’s at 8 o’clock, and went to bed directly after.

22. Dined at the Club and went to the play, after meeting the associates at the Capitol.

23. Dined at Mrs. Campbell’s and set off homewards after it.

George Washington
Washington, George
27 June, 1770
Mount Vernon,
George William Fairfax
Fairfax, George William


Dear Sir,

Herewith you will receive some Letters which I brought from Williamsburg; which place I left on Saturday in the afternoon. The Assembly was not then up; a few bills remained unfinished which would oblige the House to sit again this week; little business of a public nature has been transacted; private bills have engrossed the time of the House almost wholely since the first meeting of it.

A new Association is formed, much upon the old plan, but more relaxed, to which the merchants then in town acceded. Committees in each County are to Edition: current; Page: [283] be chosen to attend to the importations and see if our agreements cannot be more strictly adhered to. There was nothing new when I left Williamsburg. Yours and Mrs. Fairfax’s friends were well, as I suppose your letters advise. I had many compliments to you all (Colonel Fairfax included) which as I am but a poor hand at delivering specially, I must beg the favor of having them received in a lump.

I am very much obliged to you for the favor of getting stone from your quarries. I understand it has assisted me much, as it is got at much easier than with me. My compliments, in which Mrs. Washington, &c. joins, are tendered, and I should be glad to know how you all do. After a little rest and enquiry into the state of my business, I will do myself the pleasure of seeing you at Belvoir, and paying my respects to Sir Thomas. I am &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
July 30th, 1770
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


Dr. Sir,

The Books you wrote for I hope you will receive in good order by Joe, as I desired Lund Washington to pack them up carefully & see them put into the portmanteau. No thread came from Mr. Addison’s nor any from Mr. Digges, to which place I sent, thinking it might be arrived there along with Jack’s Edition: current; Page: [284] keys. We could easily have carried down, & most certainly should have done so, if it had ever got this length.

That there shoud be a dissatisfaction & murmuring at the Virginia Association (by those who are more strictly bound) I do not much wonder at, but it was the best that the friends to the cause coud obtain here, & tho’ too much relaxed from the spirit with which a measure of this sort ought to be conducted, yet will be attended with better effects (I expect) than the last, inasmuch as it will become general, & adopted by the trade. Upon the whole I think the people of Virgina have too large latitude & wish that the Inhabitants of the North may not have too little. What I woud be understood by it is, that their Public Virtue may not be put to too severe a Tryal to stand the Test much longer if their Importations are not equal to the Real Necessities of the People, whether it is or is not I cannot undertake to judge, but suppose they are not, by the defection of New York & attempts (tho’ unsuccessful as yet) in other places to admit a general Importation of goods, Tea only excepted.1—As soon as you are able to get the Samples from Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Washington will be much obliged in having Joe sent with them. We set out Edition: current; Page: [285] this day for Fredericksburg. I expect to be back about the 9th or 10th of next month. My love attends Jack. I am &c.1


October 5th.—Began a journey to the Ohio, in company with Dr. Craik, his servant, and two of mine, with a led horse and Edition: current; Page: [286] baggage. Dined at Towlston, and lodged at Leesburg, distant from Mount Vernon about forty-five miles. Here my portmanteau horse failed in his stomach.1

6th.—Fed our horses on the top of the Ridge, at one Codley’s, and arrived at my brother Samuel’s, on Worthington’s Marsh, a little after they had dined, the distance being about thirty miles; from hence I despatched a messenger to Colonel Stephen apprising him of my arrival and intended journey.

7th.—My portmanteau horse being unable to proceed, I left him at my brother’s, and got one of his, and proceeded by Joliffs & Jasper Rinkers2 to Samuel Pritchard’s on Cacapehon, distant, according to account 39 miles, but by my computation 42, thus reckoned: 15 to Joliffs, 14 to Rinkers, & 13 to Pritchard’s. At Rinkers, which appears to be a cleanly house, my boy3 was taken sick, but continued on to Pritchard’s. Pritchard’s is also a pretty good house, there being fine pasturage, good fences, and beds tolerably clean.

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8th.—My servant being unable to travel, I left him at Pritchard’s with Dr. Craik, and proceeded myself with Valentine Crawford1 to Colonel Cresap’s, in order to learn from him (being just arrived from England) the particulars of the grant said to be lately sold to Walpole and others, for a certain tract of country on the Ohio. The distance from Pritchard’s to Cresap’s according to computation is twenty-six miles, thus reckoned: to the Fort at Henry Enoch’s 8 miles (road exceeding bad); 12 to Cox’s at the mouth of little Cacapehon, and 6 afterwards.

9th.—Went up to Rumney in order to buy work-horses, and met Dr. Craik and my baggage; arrived there about twelve o’clock, distance 16 miles. In the afternoon, Doctor Craik, my servant (much amended) and the baggage, arrived from Pritchard’s, said to be 28 miles.

10th.—Having purchased two horses, and recovered another which had been gone from me near three years, I despatched my boy Giles with my two riding-horses home, and proceeded on my journey; arriving at one Wise’s (now Turner’s) mill about twenty-two miles, it being reckoned seven to the place where Cox’s Fort formerly stood; ten to one Parker’s; and five afterwards. The road from the South Branch of Patterson’s Creek is hilly, down the creek, on which is good land, sloping to Parker’s, and from Parker’s to Turner’s hilly again.

11th.—The morning being wet and heavy we did not set off till eleven o’clock, and arrived that night at one Killam’s, on a branch of George’s Creek, distant ten and a half measured miles from the north branch of the Potomac, where we crossed at the lower end of my deceased brother Augustine’s bottom, known by the name of Pendergrass’s. This crossing is two miles from the aforesaid mill and the road bad, as it likewise is to Killam’s, the country being very hilly and stony. From Killam’s to Fort Cumberland is the same distance, that it is to the crossing above mentioned, and the road from thence to Jolliff’s by the Old Town much better.

12th—We left Killam’s early in the morning; breakfasted at the Little Meadows, ten miles off, and lodged at the Great Crossings Edition: current; Page: [288] twenty miles further; which we found a tolerable good day’s work. The country we travelled over to-day was very mountainous and stony, with but very little good land, and that lying in spots.

13th.—Set out about sunrise; breakfasted at the Great Meadows1 thirteen miles, and reached Captain Crawford’s2 about five o’clock. The lands we travelled over to-day till we had crossed the Lawrel Hill (except in small spots) was very mountainous and indifferent; but when we came down the hill to the plantation of Mr. Thos. Gist, the land appeared charming, that which lay level being as rich and black as any thing could possibly be. The more hilly kind, tho’ of a different complexion must be good, as well from the crops it produces, as from the beautiful white oaks that grow thereon. Tho’ white oak in general indicates poor land, yet this does not appear to be of that cold kind. The land from Gist’s to Crawford’s is very broken tho’ not mountainous; in spots exceeding rich, and in general free from stone. Crawford’s is very fine land; lying on the Youghiogany at a place commonly called Stewart’s Crossing.

14th.—At Captain Crawford’s all day. Went to see a coal-mine not far from his house on the banks of the river. The coal seemed to be of the very best kind, burning freely, and abundance of it.

15th.—Went to view some land, which Captain Crawford had taken up for me near the Youghiogany, distant about twelve miles. This tract, which contains about one thousand six hundred acres, includes some as fine land as ever I saw, and a great deal of rich meadow, and in general is leveller than the country about it. This tract is well watered, and has a valuable mill-seat, (except that the stream is rather too slight, and, it is said, not constant more than seven or eight months in the year; but on account of the fall, and other conveniences, no place can exceed it.) In going to this land, I passed through two other tracts, which Captain Crawford had taken up for my brothers Samuel and John. That Edition: current; Page: [289] belonging to the former was not so rich as some I had seen, but very valuable on account of its levelness, and little stone—the soil and timber being good; that of the latter had some bottom land upon [?] that was very good (tho’ narrow)—the hills very rich, but the land in general broken. I intended to have visited the land, which Crawford had procured for Lund Washington, this day also, but, time falling short, I was obliged to postpone it. Night came on before I got back to Crawford’s, where I found Colonel Stephen. The lands, which I passed over to-day, were generally hilly, and the growth chiefly white-oak, but very good notwithstanding; and what is extraordinary, and contrary to the property of all other lands I ever saw before, the hills are the richest land; the soil upon the sides and summits of them being as black as a coal, and the growth walnut, cherry, pine [?] bushes, &c. The flats are not so rich, and a good deal more mixed with stone.

16th.—At Captain Crawford’s till the evening, when I went to Mr. John Stephenson’s1 (on my way to Pittsburg) and lodged. This day was visited by one Mr. Ennis, who had travelled down the Little Kenhawa, (almost) from the head to the mouth, on which he says the lands are broken, the bottoms neither very wide nor rich, but covered with beach. At the mouth the lands are good, and continue so up the river, and about Wheeling, and Fishing Creek, is, according to his account, a body of fine land. I also saw a son of Captain John Harden’s, who said he had been from the mouth of the Little Kenhawa to the Big; but his description of the lands seemed to be so vague and indeterminate, that it was much doubted whether he ever was there or not. He says, however, that at the mouth of the Big Kenhawa, there may be about 20 or 25,000 acres of land had in a body, that is good; that you are not above 5 or 6 miles to the Hills, and that the falls of the Kenhawa are not above 10 miles up it.

17th.—Dr. Craik and myself, with Captain Crawford and others, arrived at Fort Pitt, distant from the Crossing forty-three and a half measured miles.2 In riding this distance we passed Edition: current; Page: [290] over a great deal of exceedingly fine land, (chiefly white-oak,) especially from Seveigley’s Creek to Turtle Creek, but the whole broken; resembling, (as I think all the lands in this country do,) the Loudoun lands for hills. We lodged in what is called the town, distant about three hundred yards from the fort, at one Mr. Semple’s who keeps a very good house of public entertainment. These houses, which are built of logs, and ranged into streets, are on the Monongahela, and I suppose may be about twenty in number, and inhabited by Indian traders, &c. The fort is built on the point between the rivers Allegany and Monongahela, but not so near the pitch of it as Fort Duquesne stood. It is five-sided and regular, two of which next the land are of brick; the others stockade. A moat encompasses it. The garrison consists of two companies of Royal Irish, commanded by Captain Edmonson.

18th.—Dined in the Fort with Colonel Croghan and the officers of the garrison; supped there also, meeting with great civility from the gentlemen, and engaged to dine with Colonel Croghan the next day at his seat, about four miles up the Allegany.

19th.—Received a message from Colonel Croghan, that the White Mingo and other chiefs of the Six Nations had something to say to me, and desiring that I should be at his house about eleven (where they were to meet), I went up and received a speech, with a string of wampum from the White Mingo, to the following effect.

“That I was a person whom some of them remember to have seen, when I was sent on an embassy to the French, and most of them had heard of, they were come to bid me welcome to this country, and to desire that the people of Virginia would consider them as friends and brothers, linked together in one chain; that I would inform the governor, that it was their wish to live in peace and harmony with the white people, and that though there had been some unhappy differences between them and the people upon our frontiers, they were all made up, and they hoped forgotten; and concluded with saying, that their brothers of Virginia did not come among them and trade as the inhabitants of the other provinces did, from whence they were afraid that we did not look upon them with so friendly an eye as they could wish.”

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To this I answered, (after thanking them for their friendly welcome,) that all the injuries and affronts, that had passed on either side, were now totally forgotten, and that I was sure nothing was more wished and desired by the people of Virginia, than to live in the strictest friendship with them; that the Virginians were a people not so much engaged in trade as the Pennsylvanians, &ca., which was the reason of their not being so frequently among them; but that it was possible they might for the time to come have stricter connexions with them, and that I would acquaint the governor with their desires.

After dinner at Colonel Croghan’s we returned to Pittsburg, Colonel Croghan with us, who intended to accompany us part of the way down the river, having engaged an Indian called the Pheasant, and one Joseph Nicholson an interpreter, to attend us the whole voyage; also a young Indian warrior.

20th.—We embarked in a large canoe,1 with sufficient store of provisions and necessaries, and the following persons, (besides Dr. Craik and myself,) to wit:—Captain Crawford, Joseph Nicholson, Robert Bell, William Harrison, Charles Morgan, and Daniel Rendon, a boy of Captain Crawford’s, and the Indians, who were in a canoe by themselves. From Fort Pitt we sent our horses and boys back to Captain Crawford’s, with orders to meet us there again the 14th day of November. Colonel Croghan, Lieutenant Hamilton, and Mr. Magee, set out with us. At two we dined at Mr. Magee’s, and encamped ten miles below, and four above the Logstown. We passed several large islands, which appeared to [be] very good, as the bottoms also did on each side of the river alternately; the hills on one side being opposite to the bottoms on the other, which seem generally to be about three or four hundred yards wide, and so vice versa.

21st.—Left our encampment about six o’clock, and breakfasted at the Logstown, where we parted with Colonel Croghan and company about nine o’clock. At eleven we came to the mouth of the Big Beaver Creek, opposite to which is a good situation for a house, and above it, on the same side, (that is the west,) there appears to be a body of fine land. About five miles lower Edition: current; Page: [292] down, on the east side, comes in Raccoon Creek, at the mouth of which and up it appears to be a body of good land also. All the land between this creek and the Monongahela, and for fifteen miles back, is claimed by Colonel Croghan under a purchase from the Indians, (and which sale he says is confirmed by his Majesty.) On this creek, where the branches thereof interlock with the waters of Shirtees Creek, there is, according to Colonel Croghan’s account, a body of fine, rich, level land. This tract he wants to sell, and offers it at five pounds sterling per hundred acres, with an exemption of quit-rents for twenty years; after which, to be subject to the payment of four shillings and two pence sterling per hundred; provided he can sell it in ten-thousand-acre lots. Note: the unsettled state of this country renders any purchase dangerous. From Raccoon Creek to Little Beaver Creek appears to me to be little short of ten miles, and about three miles below this we encamped; after hiding a barrel of biscuit in an island (in sight) to lighten our canoe.

22d.—As it began to snow about midnight, and continued pretty steadily at it, it was about half after seven before we left our encampment. At the distance of about eight miles we came to the mouth of Yellow Creek, (to the west) opposite to, or rather below which, appears to be a long bottom of very good land, and the ascent to the hills apparently gradual. There is another pretty large bottom of very good land about two or three miles above this. About eleven or twelve miles from this, and just above what is called the Long Island (which though so distinguished is not very remarkable for length, breadth, or goodness), comes in on the east side the river a small creek, or run, the name of which I could not learn; and a mile or two below the island, on the west side, comes in Big Stony Creek (not larger in appearance than the other), on neither of which does there seem to be any large bottoms or bodies of good land. About seven miles from the last mentioned creek, twenty-eight from our last encampment, and about seventy-five from Pittsburg, we came to the Mingo Town, situate on the west side the river, a little above the Cross Creeks. This place contains about twenty cabins, and seventy inhabitants of the Six Nations. Had we set off early, and kept constantly at it, we might have reached lower Edition: current; Page: [293] than this place to-day; as the water in many places run pretty swift, in general more so than yesterday. The river from Fort Pitt to the Logstown has some ugly rifts and shoals, which we found somewhat difficult to pass, whether from our inexperience of the channel, or not, I cannot undertake to say. From the Logstown to the mouth of Little Beaver Creek is much the same kind of water; that is, rapid in some places, gliding gently along in others, and quite still in many. The water from Little Beaver Creek to the Mingo Town, in general, is swifter than we found it the preceding day, and without any shallows; there being some one part or another always deep, which is a natural consequence, as the river in all the distance from Fort Pitt to this town has not widened at all, nor doth the bottoms appear to be any larger. The hills which come close to the river opposite to each bottom are steep; and on the side in view, in many places, rocky and cragged; but said to abound in good land on the tops. These are not a range of hills, but broken and cut in two, as if there were frequent watercourses running through, (which however we did not perceive to be the case, consequently they must be small if any.) The river along down abounds in wild geese, and several kinds of ducks, but in no great quantity. We killed five wild turkeys to-day. Upon our arrival at the Mingo Town, we received the disagreeable news of two traders being killed at a town called the Grape-Vine Town, thirty-eight miles below this; which caused us to hesitate whether we should proceed, or wait for further intelligence.

23d.—Several imperfect accounts coming in, agreeing that only one person was killed, and the Indians not supposing it to be done by their people, we resolved to pursue our passage, till we could get some more distinct account of this transaction. Accordingly about two o’clock we set out with the two Indians, who were to accompany us, in our canoe, and in about four miles came to the mouth of a creek called Sculp Creek on the east side, at the mouth of which is a bottom of very good land, as I am told there likewise is up it. The Cross Creeks, (as they are called,) are not large; that on the west side is biggest. At the Mingo Town we found and left sixty & odd warriors of the Six Nations, going to the Cherokee country to proceed to war against the Catawbas. About Edition: current; Page: [294] ten miles below the town, we came to two other cross creeks; that on the west side largest, but not big, and called by Nicholson, French Creek. About three miles, or a little better below this, at the lower point of some islands, which stand contiguous to each other, we were told by the Indians with us that three men from Virginia (by Virginians they mean all the people settled upon Redstone, &c.) had marked the land from hence all the way to Red-stone; that there was a body of exceeding fine land lying about this place, and up opposite to the Mingo Town, as also down to the mouth of Fishing Creek. At this place we encamped.

24th.—We left our encampment before sunrise, and about six miles below it we came to the mouth of a pretty smart creek, coming in to the eastward, called by the Indians Split-Island Creek, from its running in against an island. On this creek there is the appearance of good land a distance up it. Six miles below this again we came to another creek on the west side, called by Nicholson, Wheeling; and about a mile lower down appears to be another small water coming in on the east side, which I remark, because of the scarcity of them, and to show how badly furnished this country is with mill-seats. Two or three miles below this again is another run on the west side, up which is a near way by land to the Mingo Town; and about four miles lower, comes in another on the east, at which place is a path leading to the settlement at Red-stone. About a mile and a half below this again, comes in the Pipe Creek, so called by the Indians from a stone, which is found here, out of which they make pipes. Opposite to this, that is, on the east side, is a bottom of exceeding rich land; but as it seems to lie low, I am apprehensive that it is subject to be overflowed. This bottom ends where the effects of a hurricane appear, by the destruction and havoc among the trees. Two or three miles below the Pipe Creek is a pretty large creek on the west side, called by Nicholson, Fox-Grape-Vine by others Captema Creek, on which, eight miles up, is the town called the Grape-Vine Town; and at the mouth of it is the place where it was said the traders lived, and the one was killed. To this place we came about three o’clock in the afternoon, and finding nobody there, we agreed to camp; Edition: current; Page: [295] that Nicholson and one of the Indians might go up to the town, and inquire into the truth of the report concerning the murder.1

25th.—About seven o’clock, Nicholson and the Indian returned; they found nobody at the town but two old Indian women (the men being a hunting); from these they learnt that the trader was not killed, but drowned in attempting to ford the Ohio; and that only one boy, belonging to the traders, was in these parts; the trader, (father to him) being gone for horses to take home their skins. About half an hour after seven we set out from our encampment; around which and up the creek is a body of fine land. In our passage down to this we see innumerable quantities of turkeys, and many deer watering and browsing on the shore-side, some of which we killed. Neither yesterday nor the day before did we pass any rifts, or very rapid water, the river gliding gently along; nor did we perceive any alteration in the general face of the country, except that the bottoms seemed to be getting a little longer and wider, as the bends of the river grew larger.

About five miles from the Vine Creek comes in a very large creek to the eastward, called by the Indians Cut Creek, from a town or tribe of Indians, which they say was cut off entirely in a very bloody battle between them and the Six Nations. This creek empties just at the lower end of an island, and is seventy or eighty yards wide; and I fancy it is the creek commonly called by the people of Red-stone &c Wheeling. It extends, according to the Indians’ account, a great way, and interlocks with the branches of Split-Island Creek; abounding in very fine bottoms, and exceeding good land. Just below this, on the west side, comes in a small run; and about five miles below it, on the west side also, another middling large creek empties, called by the Indians Broken-Timber Creek; so named from the timber that is destroyed on it by a hurricane; on the head of this was a town of the Delawares, which is now left. Two miles lower down, on the same side, is another creek smaller than the last, and bearing, (according to the Indians,) the same name. Opposite to these two creeks, (on Edition: current; Page: [296] the east side,) appears to be a large bottom of good land. About two miles below the last mentioned creek, on the east side, and at the end of the bottom aforementioned, comes in a small creek or large run. Seven miles from this comes in Muddy Creek, on the east side of the river, a pretty large creek and heads up against and with some of the waters of Monongahela, (according to the Indians’ account,) and contains some bottoms of very good land; but in general the hills are steep, and country broken about it. At the mouth of this creek is the largest flat I have seen upon the river; the bottom extending two or three miles up the river above it, and a mile below; tho it does not seem to be of the richest kind and yet is exceeding good upon the whole, if it be not too low and subject to freshets. About half way in the long reach we encamped, opposite to the beginning of a bottom on the east side of the river. At this place we threw out some lines at night and found a catfish, of the size of our largest river cats, hooked to it in the morning, though it was of the smallest kind here. We found no rifts in this day’s passage, but pretty swift water in some places, and still in others. We found the bottoms increased in size, both as to length and breadth, and the river more choked up with fallen trees, and the bottom of the river next the shores rather more muddy, but in general stony, as it has been all the way down.

26th.—Left our encampment at half an hour after six o’clock, and passed a small run on the west side about four miles lower. At the lower end of the long reach, and for some distance up it, on the east side, is a large bottom, but low, and covered with beech near the river-shore, which is no indication of good land. The long reach is a straight course of the river for about eighteen or twenty miles, which appears the more extraordinary as the Ohio in general is remarkably crooked. There are several islands in this reach, some containing an hundred or more acres of land; but all I apprehend liable to be overflowed.

At the end of this reach we found one Martin and Lindsay, two traders, and from them learnt, that the person drowned was one Philips, attempting, in company with Rogers, another Indian trader, to swim the river with their horses at an improper place; Rogers himself narrowly escaping. Five miles lower down comes Edition: current; Page: [297] in a large creek from the east, right against an island of good land, at least a mile or two in length. At the mouth of this creek (the name of which I could not learn, except that it was called by some Bull’s Creek, from one Bull that hunted on it) is a bottom of good land, though rather too much mixed with beech. Opposite to this island the Indians showed us a buffalo’s path, the tracks of which we see. Five or six miles below the last mentioned creek we came to the Three Islands before which we observed a small run on each side coming in. Below these islands is a large body of flat land, with a watercourse running through it on the east side, and the hills back neither so high nor steep in appearance, as they are up the river. On the other hand, the bottoms do not appear so rich, though much longer and wider. The bottom last mentioned is upon a straight reach of the river, I suppose six or eight miles in length, at the lower end of which on the east side comes in a pretty large run from the size of the mouth. About this, above, below and back, there seems to be a very large body of flat land with some little risings in it.

About twelve miles below the Three Islands we encamped, just above the mouth of a creek, which appears pretty large at the mouth, and just above an island. All the lands from a little below the creek, which I have distinguished by the name of Bull Creek, appear to be level, with some small hillocks intermixed, as far as we could see into the country. We met with no rifts to-day, but some pretty strong water; upon the whole tolerable gentle. The sides of the river were a good deal incommoded with old trees, which impeded our passage a little. This day proved clear and pleasant; the only day since the 18th that it did not rain or snow, or threaten the one or other.

27th.—Left our encampment a quarter before seven; and after passing the creek near which we lay, and another much the same size and on the same side, (west) also an island about two miles in length, (but not wide,) we came to the mouth of Muskingum, distant from our encampment about four miles. This river is about one hundred and fifty yards wide at the mouth; it runs out in a gentle current and clear stream, and is navigable a great way into the country for canoes. From Muskingum to the Little Kanhawa is about thirteen miles. This is about as wide at Edition: current; Page: [298] the mouth as the Muskingum, but the water much deeper. It runs up towards the inhabitants of Monongahela, and, according to the Indians’ account, forks about forty or fifty miles up it, and the ridge between the two prongs leads directly to the settlement. To this fork, and above, the water is navigable for canoes. On the upper side of this river there appears to be a bottom of exceeding rich land, and the country from hence quite up to the Three Islands level and in appearance fine. The Ohio running round it in the nature of a horse-shoe forms a neck of flat land, which, added to that running up the second long reach (aforementioned,) cannot contain less than fifty thousand acres in view.

About six or seven miles below the mouth of the Little Kenhawa, we came to a small creek on the west side, which the Indians called Little Hockhocking; but before we did this, we passed another small creek on the same side near the mouth of that river, and a cluster of islands afterwards. The lands for two or three miles below the mouth of the Kenhawa on both sides of the Ohio appear broken and indifferent; but opposite to the Little Hockhocking there is a bottom of exceeding good land, through which there runs a small watercourse. I suppose there may be, of this bottom and flat land together, two or three thousand acres. The lower end of this bottom is opposite to a small island, which I dare say little of it is to be seen when the river is high. About eight miles below Little Hockhocking we encamped opposite to the mouth of the Great Hockhocking, which, tho so called, is not a large water; though the Indians say canoes can go up it forty or fifty miles. Since we left the Little Kenhawa the lands appear neither so level nor so good. The bends of the river and bottoms are longer, indeed, but not so rich as in the upper part of the river.

28th.—Left our encampment about seven o’clock. Two miles below, a small run comes in, on the east side, through a piece of land that has a very good appearance, the bottom beginning above our encampment, and continuing in appearance wide for four miles down, to a place where there comes in a small run, and to the hills, where we found Kiashuta and his hunting party encamped. Here we were under a necessity of paying our compliments, as this person was one of the Six Nation chiefs, and the Edition: current; Page: [299] head of them upon this river. In the person of Kiashuta I found an old acquaintance, he being one of the Indians that went to the French in 1753. He expressed a satisfaction at seeing me, and treated us with great kindness, giving us a quarter of very fine buffalo. He insisted upon our spending that night with him, and, in order to retard us as little as possible, moves his camp down the river about 6 miles just below the mouth of the creek, the name of which I could not learn it not being large. At this place we all encamped. After much counselling the over night, they all came to my fire the next morning with great formality; when Kiashuta, rehearsing what had passed between me and the Sachems at Colonel Croghan’s, thanked me for saying, that peace and friendship were the wish of the people of Virginia, (with them) and for recommending it to the traders to deal with them upon a fair and equitable footing; and then again expressed their desire of having a trade opened with Virginia, and that the governor thereof might not only be made acquainted therewith, but of their friendly disposition towards the white people. This I promised to do.

29th.—The tedious ceremony, which the Indians observe in their counsellings and speeches, detained us till nine o’clock. Opposite to the creek, just below which we encamped, is a pretty long bottom, and I believe tolerably wide; but about eight or nine miles below the aforementioned creek, and just below a pavement of rocks on the west side, comes in a creek, with fallen timber at the mouth, on which the Indians say there are wide bottoms and good land. The river bottoms above, for some distance, are very good, and continue for near half a mile below the creek. The pavement of rocks is only to be seen at low water. About a mile or a little better below the mouth of the creek there is another pavement of rocks on the east side, in a kind of sedgy ground. On this creek many buffaloes are according to the Indians’ account. Six miles below this comes in a small creek on the west side, at the end of a small, naked island, and just above another pavement of rocks. This creek comes thro a bottom of fine land, and opposite to it, (on the east side of the river,) appears to be a large bottom of very fine land also. At this place begins what they call the Great Bend. Five miles below, Edition: current; Page: [300] this, again on the east side, comes in (about 200 yards above a little stream or gut) another creek, which is just below an island, on the upper point of which are some dead standing trees, and a parcel of white-bodied sycamores; in the mouth of this creek lies a sycamore blown down by the wind. From hence an east line may be run three or four miles; thence a north line till it strikes the river, which I apprehend would include about three or four thousand acres of exceeding valuable land. At the mouth of this creek which is three or four miles above two islands (at the lower end of the last is a rapid, and the point of the bend) is the warriors’ path to the Cherokee country. For two miles and a half below this the Ohio runs a north-east course, and finishes what they call the Great Bend. Two miles and a half below this we encamped.

30th.—We set out at fifty minutes past seven, the weather being windy and cloudy, (after a night of rain.) In about two miles we came to the head of a bottom, (in the shape of a horse-shoe,) which I judge to be about six miles round; the beginning of the bottom appeared to be very good land, but the lower part (from the growth) did not seem so friendly. An east course from the lower end would strike the river again about the beginning of the bottom. The upper part of the bottom we encamped on was an exceeding good one, but the lower part rather thin land, and covered with beech. In it are some clear meadow-land, and a pond or lake. This bottom begins just below the rapid at the point of the Great Bend. From whence a N. N. W. course would answer to run a parallel to the next turn of the river. The river from this place narrows very considerably, and for five or six miles or more is scarcely more than one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards over. The water yesterday, except the rapid at the Great Bend, and some swift places about the islands, was quite dead, and as easily passed one way as the other; the land in general appeared level and good.

About ten miles below our encampment, and a little lower down than the bottom described to lie in the shape of a horse-shoe, comes in a small creek on the west side, and opposite to this on the east begins a body of flat land, which the Indians tell us runs quite across the fork to the falls in the Kenhawa, and Edition: current; Page: [301] must at least be three days’ walk across; if so, the flat land contained therein must be very considerable. A mile or two below this we landed, and after getting a little distance from the river, we came, (without any rising,) to a pretty lively kind of land grown up with hickory and oaks of different kinds, intermixed with walnut, &c. We also found many shallow ponds, the sides of which, abounding with grass, invited innumerable quantities of wild fowl, among which I saw a couple of birds in size between a swan and a goose, and in color somewhat between the two, being darker than the young swan and of a more sooty color. The cry of these was as unusual as the bird itself; I never heard any noise resembling it before. About five miles below this we encamped in a bottom of good land, which holds tolerably flat and rich for some distance out.1

31st.—I sent the canoe along down to the junction of the two rivers, about five miles that is, the Kenhawa with the Ohio, and set out upon a hunting party to view the land. We steered nearly east for about eight or nine miles, then bore southwardly and westwardly, till we came to our camp at the confluence of the rivers. The land from the rivers appeared but indifferent, and very broken; whether these ridges may not be those that divide the waters of the Ohio from the Kenhawa is not certain, but I believe they are; if so, the lands may yet be good; if not, that which lies off the river bottoms is good for little.

November 1st.—A little before eight o’clock we set off with our canoe up the river, to discover what kinds of lands lay upon the Kenhawa. The land on both sides this river just at the mouth is very fine; but on the east side, when you get towards the hills, (which I judge to be about six or seven hundred yards from the river,) it appears to be wet, and better adapted for meadow than tillage. This bottom continues up the east side for about two miles; and by going up the Ohio a good tract might be got of bottom land, including the old Shawnee Town, which is about three miles up the Ohio, just above the mouth of a creek, where the aforementioned bottom ends on the east side the Kenhawa, which extends up it at least fifty miles by the Indians’ Edition: current; Page: [302] account and of great width (to be ascertained as we come down); in many places very rich, in others somewhat wet and pondy; fit for meadow, but upon the whole exceeding valuable, as the land after you get out of the rich bottom is very good for grain, tho’ not rich. We judged we went up this river about ten miles to-day. On the east side appear to be the same good bottoms, but small, neither long nor wide, and the hills back of them rather steep and poor.

2d.—We proceeded up the river with the canoe about four miles farther, and then encamped, and went a hunting; killed five buffaloes and wounded some others, three deer, &c. This country abounds in buffaloes and wild game of all kinds; as also in all kinds of wild fowl, there being in the bottoms a great many small, grassy ponds, or lakes, which are full of swans, geese, and ducks of different kinds. Some of our people went up the river four or five miles higher, and found the same kind of bottom on the west side; and we were told by the Indians, that it continued to the falls, which they judged to be fifty or sixty miles higher up. This bottom next the water (in most places) is very rich; as you approach the hills you come (in many) to a thin white-oak land and poor. The hills so far as we could judge were from half a mile to a mile from the river, poor and steep in the parts we saw, with pine growing on them. Whether they are generally so or not we cannot tell, but I fear they are.

3d.—We set off down the river, on our return homewards, and encamped at the mouth. At the beginning of the bottom above the junction of the rivers, and at the mouth of a branch on the east side, I marked two maples, an elm, and hoop-wood tree, as a corner of the soldiers’ land (if we can get it), intending to take all the bottom from hence to the rapids in the Great Bend into one survey. I also marked at the mouth of another gut lower down on the west side, (at the lower end of the long bottom,) an ash and hoop-wood for the beginning of another of the soldiers’ surveys, to extend up so as to include all the bottom (in a body) on the west side. In coming from our last encampment up the Kenhawa, I endeavored to take the courses and distances of the river by a pocket compass, and guessing, which I make thus: N. by W, 2 miles; N. N. W., 1½ miles; N. W., ½ mile to the mouth of a Edition: current; Page: [303] pretty smart creek to the eastward; No. W., 2 miles to another creek of the same size on the same side. West, ½ mile; W. N. W., ½ a mile; N. W., 1 mile; W. N. W., 2 miles; W. by N., 2 miles; N. W., 1½ miles; W. N. W., ½ mile, to the mouth.

4th.—The Ohio from the mouth of the Kenhawa runs thus: North, 2 miles; N. N. W., 1¼, to the mouth of a creek and Old Shawnee Town; N. b. W, 1½ miles; N. E. 1 mile; N. E. by E., 1½ miles; N. N. E., 4 miles; E. N. E., ¾ of a mile to the mouth of a creek on the west side, and to the hills, which the Indians say is always afire, to which the bottom from the mouth of the Kenhawa continues and then ends. After passing these hills, which may run on the river near a mile, there appears to be another pretty good bottom on the east side. At this place we met a canoe going to the Illinois with sheep; and at this place also, that is, at the end of the bottom from the Kenhawa, just as we came to the hills, we met with a sycamore about sixty yards from the river of a most extraordinary size, it measuring, (three feet from the ground,) forty-five feet round, lacking two inches; and not fifty yards from it was another, thirty-one feet 4 inches round (three feet from the ground also). The second bottom hinted at the other side (that is the one lying above the bottom that reaches from the Kanhawa) is that taken notice of the 30th. ulto., to lie in the shape of a horse shoe, and must from its situation and quantity of level land be very valuable, if the land is but tolerably good. After passing this bottom, and about a mile of hills, we entered into a third bottom and encamped. This bottom reaches within about half a mile of the rapid at the point of the Great Bend.

5th.—I sent off the canoe with our baggage, and walked across the neck on foot, with Captain Crawford, the distance, according to our walking, about eight miles, as we kept a straight course under the foot of the hills, which run about south-east and were two hours and a half walking of it. This is a good neck of land, the soil being generally good, and in places very rich. There is a large proportion of meadow ground, and the land as high, dry, and level as one could wish; the growth in most places is beech intermixed with walnut, &c., but more especially with poplar, (of which there are numbers very large.) The land towards the Edition: current; Page: [304] upper end is black-oak, and very good. Upon the whole, a valuable tract might be had here, and I judge the quantity to be about four thousand acres. After passing this bottom and the rapid, as also some hills, which jut pretty close to the river, we came to that bottom before remarked the 29th ultimo, which being well described there needs no further remark except that the bottom within view appears to be exceeding rich. But as I was not out upon it, I cannot tell how it is back from the river. A little above this bottom we encamped, the afternoon being rainy, and night wet.

6th.—We left our encampment a little after daylight, and in about five miles we came to Kiashuta’s hunting camp, which was now removed to the mouth of that creek, noted October 29th for having fallen timber at the mouth of it, in a bottom of good land. Between the bottom last described and this bottom, there is nothing but hills on the east side, except a little flat of 100 acres or so, between. This bottom thro’ which the creek comes may be about four or five miles in length and tolerably wide, grown up pretty much with beech, tho’ the soil is good.

By the kindness and idle ceremony of the Indians, I was detained at Kiashuta’s camp all the remaining part of this day; and having a good deal of conversation with him on the subject of land, he informed me, that it was further from the mouth of the Great Kenhawa to the fall of that river, than it was between the two Kenhawas; that the bottom on the west side, (which begins near the mouth of the Kenhawa,) continues all the way to the falls without the interposition of hills, and widens as it goes, especially from a pretty large creek that comes in about ten or fifteen miles higher up than where we were; that in the fork there is a body of good land, and at some pretty considerable distance above this, the river forks again at an island, and there begins the reed, or cane, to grow; that the bottoms on the east side of the river are also very good, but broken with hills, and that the river is easily passed with canoes to the falls, which cannot be less than one hundred miles, but further it is not possible to go with them; and that there is but one ridge from thence to the settlements upon the river above, that it is possible for a man to travel, the country between being so much broken with steep hills and precipices.

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He further informed (which seemed to be corroborated by all with whom I conversed,) that the back of the short broken hills but down upon the rivers are very uneven, and not rich except the lands upon creeks, till you come towards the heads of the creeks; then the land grows leveller, and the soil richer.

Wednesday, 7th.—We set out at half an hour after seven and ing the bottom through which the creek with the fallen timber at the mouth runs, and which I believe is called Buffalo Creek, we came to a range of hills for a mile or more in length upon the river (east side); then comes in the bottom opposite to which the creek, below which we lodged at with the Indians the 28th ulto. empties. This also appears to be a bottom of four or five miles in length, and tolerable good from the river. When we pass this bottom the hills (rather smaller and flatter than usual) come close to the river (east side, for four or five miles); then begins another bottom above, or opposite to a small island. But before we came to this mile or two, we passed a good smart bottom on the east side. This bottom lies opposite to Great Hockocking [ ] above which and opposite to Dela Hunting party, we encamped.

Thursday, 8th.—We left our encampment as soon as we could clearly distinguish the rocks; and after passing the bottom which neither appeared to be long, wide nor very we came to a second noticed the bottom, 27th ulto. opposite to a creek on the west side, called by the Indians Little Hockhocking, but may easily be distinguished by having a large stone just at its mouth (the upper side), and appears to be very wide and good, and must be very valuable if it is not liable to be overflowed, some parts of it appearing low. The lower part of this bottom (as was observed the 27th ulto.) is opposite to a small and barren island with only a few bushes upon it. The upper part of it begins at much such another place as side (and part of a pretty long and at a drain or small run that comes out of the hills. This is within a mile or two of the mouth of the Kenhawa, and the next bottom, except a little narrow slip at the foot of the hills, below the

At the mouth of the Kenhawa, Captain Crawford, one of the Indians and myself, left the canoe, intending to meet Edition: current; Page: [306] it again at the [mouth] of Muskingum, about thirteen miles above, but the Indian by [mistake] brought us to the River miles below it. In this excursion we passed over various kinds of land, some tolerable good, white-oak ground, level and meadowy; some very hilly and broken with stone; and some black oak, thinly timbered but good for farming; and others about miles before we came to the river (which was at a place where there was no bottom) exceeding good, full level enough and well timbered with and black oak; but in all the ground we passed over this day, and I suppose we could not have walked less than miles, there was no water. This was part of the land where I thought (on Octo. 27) 50,000 acres might be got; but it does not answer my expectations: however by falling the river too low, I apprehend the worst of it; as we were the Ridges that divide the waters of Ohio from the Kenhawa and up towards the 3 Islands, has appearance.

Just below the mouth of the Muskingum we encamped.

Friday, 9th.—The night proving very rainy and morning wet, we did not set out till half after ten o’clock, and encamped by the 3 Islands. Seeing a bear upon the shore we landed and followed it about half a mile from the river, which gave us an opportunity of seeing a little of the land, which was [very] hilly but rich.

Saturday, 10th. After a night of incessant thunder and lightning, attended with heavy and constant rain till 11 o’clock in the day, we set off about twelve o’clock (the rain then ceasing, and to the lower end of the long reach distant about 12 miles.

A little stream, imperceptible to the view in our passage down, now pouring in her mite, the river rising very fast and grown so muddy as to render the water irksome to drink.

Sunday, 11th.—The last night proved a night of incessant rain, attended with thunder and lightning. The river by this morning had raised about feet and was swelling fast. The rain seeming to abate a little and the wind springing up in our favor we were tempted to set off; but we were deceived in both; for the wind soon ceased and the rain continued without intermission, till about four o’clock, when it moderated. However, tho’ we did not set off till eleven, we got to the head of the long reach abt 18 miles, the river continuing to rise fast, and much choaked with wood.

Edition: current; Page: [307]

Monday, 12th.—There fell a little rain in the night, tho’ nothing to [speak] of. About sunrise we left our encampment to encounter a very stream which by this time had [risen] feet perpendicular, and running with great velocity. After contending with it the whole day we were not able to get more than about five miles. The water still rising, and the current, if possible running with more violence, we came to a resolution of ordering our horses (which by appointment were to be at burg the 14th inst.) to meet us at Mingo Town, accordingly

Tuesday, 13th.—We despached a young Indian express to Valentine Crawford, who had the charge of them, to proceed on to that place, where we purposed, if possible, to get the canoe, being about 50 miles below. In pursuance of this resolution we imbarked again, and with difficulty got about 5 miles further to the mouth of the uppermost broken timber creek. In [course] of last night the River rose perpendicular, and in the with what it rose in the day time must be now four or five and twenty feet [above] its usual height, and not a great [deal] below its banks—in low [places above them]. This day, about 3 in the afternoon, we met two battoes and a large canoe going (at a very fast rate) to the Illinois, with provisions for the garrison at Fort Chartres.

Wednesday, 14th.—The river began [to come] at a stand between sunset and dark night, and continued for some [hou]rs so, falling only two feet by sun [rise]. About an hour by sun we [left] our encampment and reached a [little] above the Captening (or Fox Grape Wine Creek) about eleven miles not finding the water quite so strong as yesterday, with a little assistance, from the wind. About two or three miles below [Capten]ing I got out (on the west side) [passe]d through a neck of as good [lands] as ever I saw, between that and [the cre]ek; the land on the hillsides was as rich as the bottoms, than which nothing can exceed. The bottom at the mouth of Captening appears of equal goodness with the one below it.

Thursday, 15th.—The canoe set off at sunrise, as I did to view that [bottom] opposite to the mouth of Pipe Creek. In passing [over] the neck I found the lower part was very rich; upon the river towards the hills with well timbered; and not only in places. The middle back of the rich bottom is black Edition: current; Page: [308] and white oak land [fit for] farming or any purpose whatever, and intermixed with meadows. The upper end is as rich quite to the hills (which are as ever I saw but subject to freshes.1

* * * * * *

the course of the creek which meanders through a bottom of fine land, especially at the forks where there appears a large body of it. The vail (through which this creek runs) as far as we could see up it, appears to be wide, and the soil of the hills which confines it good, tho’ very steep in some places. On this creek which heads up a little to the southward of Redstone settlement, there is according to the Indians’ account and all the accounts I could get, a great deal of fine land. The body of flat land at the Forks is but a very little way from the river in a direct line and may contain I guess a thousand acres or more. Below the mouth of this creek there is a bottom of pretty good land but not large; and about five miles above, at the mouth of a small run which comes in at the lower point of an island (and which by mistake I called Octo. 23, Fishing Creek) there is a bottom of as fine land as can possibly be, but not large, containing not more than two or three hundred acres. At the head of this bottom and a little below the second Cross Creek we encamped, distant from our last thirteen or fourteen miles.

Here it was for the second time the old Indian with me spoke of a fine piece of land and beautiful place for a house, and in order to give me a more lively idea of it, chalked out the situation on his deer skin. It lies upon Bull Creek, at least thirty miles from the mouth, but not more than five from the mouth of Muddy Creek, in an E. S. E. direction. The spot he recommends for a house lies very high, commanding a prospect of a great deal of level land below on the creek—the ground about it very rich and a fine spring in the middle of it, about which many buffaloes use and have made great roads. Bull Creek according to his Edition: current; Page: [309] account runs parellel with the Long Reach in the Ohio, and not above six or seven miles from it; having fine bottoms which widen as they extend into the country, and towards the head of it is large bodies of level, rich land.

17th.—By this morning the river had fallen in the whole two or three and twenty feet, and was still lowering. About eight o’clock we set out, and passing the lower Cross Creeks we came to a pretty long and tolerably wide and good bottom on the east side of the river; then comes in the hills, just above which is Buffalo Creek, (a creek I neither saw nor remarked in going down) upon which and above it between that and the Cross Creeks near the Mingo Town, (distant three or four miles) is a bottom of exceeding fine land, but not very large unless it extends up the creek. About three o’clock we came to the Town without seeing our horses, the Indian, (who was sent express for them,) having passed through only the morning before; (being detained by the creeks, which were too high to ford, without going high up them). Here we resolved to wait their arrival, which was expected to-morrow; and here then will end our water voyage along a river, the general course of which from Beaver Creek to the Kenhawa is about south-west, (as near as I could determine); but, in its windings through a narrow vale, extremely serpentine; forming on both sides of the river alternately necks of very good bottoms, (some exceedingly fine,) lying for the most part in the shape of a half-moon, and of various sizes. There is very little difference in the general width of the river from Fort Pitt to the Kenhawa; but in the depth I believe the odds are considerably in favor of the lower parts, as we found no shallows below the Mingo Town, except in one or two places where the river was broad, and there, I do not know but there might have been a deep channel in some part of it. Every here and there are islands, some larger and some smaller, which, operating in the nature of locks, or steps, occasion pretty still water above, but for the most part strong and rapid water alongside of them. However there is none of these so swift but that a vessel may be rowed or set up with poles. When the river is in its natural state, large canoes, that will carry five or six thousand weight or more, may be worked against stream by four hands, twenty or twenty-five miles a day; and down, a Edition: current; Page: [310] good deal more. The Indians, who are very dexterous (even their women) in the management of canoes, have their hunting-camps and cabins all along the river, for the convenience of transporting their skins by water to market. In the fall, so soon as the hunting-season comes on, they set out with their families for this purpose; and in hunting will move their camps from place to place, till by the spring they get two or three hundred or more miles from their towns; then beaver catch it in their way up, which frequently brings them into the month of May, when the women are employed in planting, the men at market, and in idleness, till the Fall again, when they pursue the same course. During the summer months they live a poor and perishing life.

The Indians who reside upon the Ohio, (the upper parts of it at least,) are composed of Shawanees, Delawares, and some of the Mingoes, who, getting but little part of the consideration that was given for the lands eastward of the Ohio, view the settlement of the people upon this river with an uneasy and jealous eye, and do not scruple to say, that they must be compensated for their right if the people settle thereon, notwithstanding the cession of the Six Nations thereto. On the other hand, the people from Virginia and elsewhere are exploring and marking all the lands that are valuable, not only on Redstone and other waters of the Monongahela, but along down the Ohio as low as the Little Kenhawa; and by next summer I suppose will get to the Great Kenhawa at least. How difficult it may be to contend with these people afterwards is easy to be judged, from every day’s experience of lands actually settled, supposing these to be made; than which nothing is more probable, if the Indians permit them, from the disposition of the people at present. A few settlements in the midst of some of the large bottoms would render it impracticable to get any large quantity of land together; as the hills all the way down the river (as low as I went,) come pretty close, and are steep and broken, incapable of settlements though some of them are rich and only fit to support the bottoms with timber and wood. The land back of the bottoms, as far as I have been able to judge, either from my own observations or from information, is nearly the same, that is, exceeding uneven and hilly; and I do presume that there are no bodies of flat, rich land to be found, till one gets far Edition: current; Page: [311] enough from the river to head the little runs and drains, that come through the hills, and to the sources (or near them) of the creeks and their branches. This, it seems, is the case of the lands upon Monongahela and Youghiogany, and I fancy holds good upon this river, till you get into the flat lands (or near them) below the falls. The bottom land differs a good deal in quality. That highest up the river in general is richest; tho the bottoms are neither so wide nor long, as those below. Walnut, [?] cherry, and some other woods that grow snarly and neither tall nor large, but covered with grape vines, (with the fruit of which this country at this instant abounds,) are the growth of the richest bottoms; but on the other hand, these bottoms appear to me to be the lowest and most subject to floods. The sugar-tree and ash, mixed with walnut, &c., compose the growth of the next richest low grounds; beech, poplar, oaks &c. the last. The soil of this is also good, but inferior to either of the other kinds; and beech bottoms are excepted against on account of the difficulty of clearing them, their roots spreading over a large surface of ground and being hard to kill.

Sunday 18th.—Agreed with two Delaware Indians to carry up our canoe to Fort Pitt, for the doing of which I was to pay six dollars and give them a quart tin can.

Monday 19th.—The Delawares set off with the canoe, and, our horses not arriving, the day appeared exceeding long and tedious. Upon conversing with Nicholson, I found he had been two or three times to Fort Chartres, at the Illinois, and got from him the following account of the lands between this and that, and upon the Shawna River, on which he had been hunting.

The lands down the Ohio grow more and more level as you approach the falls, and about 150 miles below them, the country appears quite flat and exceeding rich. On the Shawna river (which comes into the Ohio 400 miles below the falls and about 1100 from Pittsburg) up which he had hunted 300 and more miles the lands are exceeding level, rich and fine, but a good deal intermixed with cane or reed, which might render them difficult to clear; that game of all kinds was to be found here in the greatest abundance, especially buffalo. That from Fort Chartres to Pittsburg by land is computed 800 miles, and in travelling Edition: current; Page: [312] thro’ the country from that place he found the soil very rich, the ground exceeding level to Opost (a French settlement) and from Opost to the Lower Shawna Town on Scioto equally flat. That he passed through large plains thirty miles in length without a tree, except little islands of wood. That in these plains thousands and tens of thousands of buffalo may be seen feeding; that the distance from Fort Chartres to Opost is about 240 miles and the country not very well watered; from Opost to the Lower Shawna Town is about 300 more, abounding in good springs and rivulets; that the remainder of the way to Fort Pitt is hilly, and the hills larger as you approach the fort, tho’ the land in general is also good.

At Fort Pitt I got the distances from place to place down the Ohio, as taken by one Mr. Hutchings, and which are as follows, with some corrections of mine:—

From Fort Pitt to miles
Logstown W. 18½
Big Beaver Creek W. 29½
Racoon Creek G.W. E. 34
Little Beaver Creek W. 44
Yellow Creek W. 52
Big Stony Creek G.W. W. 66
Mingo Town W. 73
Cross Creeks 74
Buffalo Creek or Scalp Ck. G.W. E. 78
Second Cross Creek G.W. 84
Wheeling, or Split Island Ck. G.W. E. 94
Sculp Creek G.W. W. 100
Path to Redstone G.W. E. 108
Pipe Creek G.W. W. 110
Captening G.W. W. 113
Cut Creek G.W. E. 118
Broken Timber Creek G.W. W. 123
2d. Broken Timber Creek G.W. W. 125
Muddy Creek G.W. E. 134
Beginning of the Long Reach 137
End of the Long Reach 155
Bull Creek G.W. E. 160
A pretty large Creek on the west 178
Muskinghum W. 182
Little Kenhawa E. 195
Little Hockhocking W. 202
Hockhocking W. 210
Creek with fallen timber at the mouth E. 230
[?] Creek on the west and beginning of the Great Bent W. 236
Another small Creek on the east, just above a gut E. 241
Rapid at the point of the Great Bent 245
Big Kenhawa E. 272
The Distance by Hutchings is 266¼
Big Guyandot E. 308
Big Sandy Creek E. 321
Scioto River W. 366
Big Buffalo Lick, a mile eastward of the river W. 390
Large Island divided by a gravelly creek 410½
Little Mincamie river W. 492¼
Licking Creek E. 500¼
Great Mincamie river W. 527½
Where the Elephant’s bones were found E. 560¼
Kentucke river 604¼
The Falls 682
To where the low country begins 837¾
Beginning of the 5 islands 875¼
Large river on the east side 902¼
Very large island in the middle of the river 960¼
Ouabache river 999½
Big Rock and Cave on the west side 1042¼
Shawano river 1094
Cherokee river 1107
Fort Massiac 1118¾
Mouth of the Ohio 1164
In all 1164
Edition: current; Page: [314]

The distances from Fort Pitt to the mouth of the Great Kenhawa are set down agreeable to my own computation, but from thence to the mouth of River Ohio are strictly according to Hutchings’ account, which account I take to be erroneous inasmuch as it appears that the miles in the upper parts of the river are very long, and those towards the Kanhawa short, which I attribute to his setting off in a falling fresh and running slower as he proceeded on.

The letters E and W. signify which side of the river the respective waters come in on, that is, whether on the east or west side.

20th.—About one o’clock our horses arrived, having been prevented from getting to Fort Pitt by the freshes. At two we set out and got about ten miles, the Indians travelling along with us.

Tuesday,1 21st.—Reached Fort Pitt in the afternoon, distant from our last encampment about twenty-five miles, and, as near as I can guess, thirty-five from the Mingo Town. The land between the Mingo Town and Pittsburg is of different kinds. For four or five miles after leaving the first mentioned place we passed over steep, hilly ground hurt with stone covered with white-oak, and a thin shallow soil. This was succeeded by a lively white-oak land, less broken; and this again by rich land, the growth of which was chiefly white and red-oak mixed; which lasted, with some intervals of indifferent ridges, all the way to Pittsburg. It was very observable, that, as we left the river, the land grew better, which is a confirmation of the accounts I had before received, that the good bodies of land lie upon the heads of the runs and creeks; but in all my travels through this country, I have seen no large body of level land. On the branches of Raccoon Creek there appears to be good meadow ground, and on Shurtees Creek, (over both which we passed,) the land looks well. The country between the Mingo Town and Fort Pitt appears to be well supplied with springs.

Thursday, 22d.—Stayed at Pittsburg all day. Invited the officers and some other gentlemen to dinner with me at Semple’s, among whom was one Dr. Connolly, (nephew to Colonel Croghan,) a very sensible, intelligent man, who had travelled over a good Edition: current; Page: [315] deal of this western country both by land and water, and confirms Nicholson’s account of the good land on the Shawna River, up which he had been near four hundred miles. This country (I mean on the Shawna River), according to Dr. Connolly’s description, must be exceedingly desirable on many accounts. The climate is exceeding fair, the soil remarkably good; the lands well watered with good streams, and level enough for any kind of cultivation. Besides these advantages from nature, it has others not less important to a new settlement, particularly game, which is so plenty as not only to render the transportation of provisions there, (bread only excepted,) altogether unnecessary, but to enrich the adventurers with the peltry for which there is a constant and good market. Dr. Connolly is so much delighted with the lands and climate on that river, that he seems to wish for nothing more, than to induce one hundred families to go there and live, that he might be among them. A new and most desirable government might be established there, to be bounded, (according to his account), by the Ohio northward and westward, the ridge that divides the waters of the Tennessee or Cherokee River southward and westward, and a line to be run from the Falls of Ohio, or above, so as to cross the Shawna River above the fork of it. Dr. Connolly gives much the same account of the land between Fort Chartres in the Illinois country, and Post St. Vincent, (Opost) that Nicholson does, except in the article of water, which the Doctor says is bad, and in the summer scarce, there being little else than stagnate water to be met with.

Friday 23d.—After settling with the Indians and people that attended me down the river, and defraying the sundry expenses accruing at Pittsburg, I set off on my return home; and, after dining at the widow Miers’s, on Turtle Creek, reached Mr. John Stephenson’s (two or three hours in the night.)

24th.—When we came to Stewart’s Crossing at Crawford’s, the river was too high to ford, and his canoe gone adrift. However, after waiting there two or three hours, a canoe was got, in which we passed, and swam our horses. The remainder of this day I spent at Captain Crawford’s, it either raining or snowing hard all day.

Sunday 25th.—I set out early in order to see Lund Washington’s Edition: current; Page: [316] land; but the ground and trees being covered with snow, I was able to form but an indistinct opinion of it; though, upon the whole, it appeared to be a good tract of land, and as level as common—indeed more so. From this I went to Mr. Thomas Gist’s and dined, and then proceeded on to the Great Crossing at Hogland’s, where I arrived about eight o’clock.

Monday 26th.—Reached Killam’s, on George’s Creek, where we met several families going over the mountains to live; some without having any places provided. The snow upon the Allegany Mountains was near knee deep.

Tuesday 27th.—We got to Colonel Cresap’s at the Old Town, after calling at Fort Cumberland and breakfasting with one Mr. Innis at the new store opposite—25 miles.

28th.—The Old Town Gut was so high as to wet us in crossing it, and when we came to Cox’s the river was impassable; we were obliged therefore to cross in a canoe, and swim our horses. At Henry Enoch’s, at the Forks of Cacapehon, we dined, and lodged at Rinker’s, the distances they computed: from the old Town to Cox’s, 8 miles; from thence to the Cacapehon, 12; and 18 afterwards—in all 38 miles. The last 18 I do not think long ones.

Thursday 29th.—Set out early, and reached my brother’s by one o’clock (about 22 or 3 miles). Dr. Craik, having business at Winchester, went that way, and was to meet at Snicker’s to-morrow by ten o’clock.

Friday 30th.—According to appointment the Doctor and I met, and after breakfasting at Snicker’s we proceeded to West’s, where we arrived at or about sunset.

Saturday December 1st.—Reached home, being absent from it nine weeks and one day.

George Washington
Washington, George
Decr 16th, 1770
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


According to appointment Jacky Custis now returns to Annapolis. His mind [is] a good deal released Edition: current; Page: [317] from Study, & more than ever turnd to Dogs Horses and Guns; indeed upon Dress and equipage, which till of late, he has discovered little Inclination of giving into. I must beg the favor of you, therefore, to keep him close to those useful branches of Learning which he ought now to be acquainted with, and as much as possible under your own Eye. Without these, I fear he will too soon think himself above controul, and be not much the better for the extraordinary expence attending his Living in Annapolis; which I should be exceeding sorry for, as nothing but a hasty progress towards the completion of his Education, can Justifie my keeping him there at such an expence as his Estate will now become chargeable with.

The time of Life he is now advancing into requires the most friendly aid and Council (especially in such a place as Annapolis); otherwise, the warmth of his own Passions, assisted by the bad example of other Youth, may prompt him to actions derogatory of Virtue, & that Innocence of Manners which one coud wish to preserve him in: For wch reason I would beg leave to request, that he may not be suffered to sleep from under your own Roof, unless it be at such places as you are sure he can have no bad examples set him; nor allow him to be rambling about of Nights in Company with those, who do not care how debauched and viceous his Conduct may be.

You will be so good I hope, as to excuse the liberty I have taken in offering my sentiments thus freely—I have his welbeing much at Heart, & should Edition: current; Page: [318] be sorry to see him fall into any Vice, or evil course, which there is a possibility of restraining him from.1

George Washington
Washington, George
Jan 2nd, 1771
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


Jack’s return has been delayed, as well from a belief that you might not be well settled, as from a desire of gratifying him in his favourite amusement of Hunting, these Hollidays. He returns now he says, with a determination of applying close to his Studies; and I confide entirely in your promise of making him do so, as time slips of[f] a pace, and other Idea’s & pursuits, will soon render it more difficult to keep him Edition: current; Page: [319] confined to them, than at present. In respect to the kinds, & manner of his Studying, I leave it wholely to your better Judgment—had he begun, or rather pursued his study of the Greek Language, I should have thought it no bad acquisition; but whether [if] he acquire this now, he may not forego some more useful branches of learning, is a matter worthy of consideration. To be acquainted with the French Tongue is become a part of polite Education; and to a man who has [the prospect] of mixing in a large Circle absolutely [necessary. Without] Arithmetick, the common [affairs of] Life are not to be managed [with Edition: current; Page: [320] success. The study of Geo]metry, and the Mathe[matics (with due regard to the li]mites of it) is equally [advantageous. The principles] of Philosophy Moral, Natural, &c. I should think a very desirable knowledge for a Gentleman; but as I said before, I leave the whole to your direction; with this earnest request, that, in whatever kind of Study you think proper to engage him, he may be kept diligently to it, for he really has no time to loose.

The shortness of the distance between this and your present habitation will, I hope, give us the pleasure of seeing you and Miss Boucher often at Mount Vernon, in this hope Mrs Washington also rests and with her Compliments and wishes, joind with mine for the return of many happy, & prosperous years to you, I remain with great sincerity etc.


George Washington
Washington, George
June 5th, 1771
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


I should have set Mr. Custis off for Annapolis as soon as I heard of your passing by (being very unwilling that he should loose any time from School that [is] possible to be avoided) but it was thought necessary to [keep] him till his cloaths could be Washd & got in readiness [to] take with him, which has detained him till now.—By him I send you £50 Maryld Curry the Sum wrote for [in] your last. Inclosing at the same time Doctr Stevenson’s letter and acct which I beg the favour of you to pay as Edition: current; Page: [321] soon as convenient, agreeable to his request.—The money thus receivd & paid, you will please to credit and charge according to the Rates which the different kinds of Specie pass in the respective Governments; otherwise I shoud be a considerable looser between 66⅓ & 20 pr Ct. the proportion which the two Currencies bear to Sterling, leaving a difference of 46⅓ between Virga & Maryland, when in Fact (with us upon this River, who receive Dollrs at 6/.) the real difference is only 25 pr Ct.—at ye utmost, 30.

In respect to the other matters contained in your Letter of the 9th Ulto I shall endeavour to be as explicit as I can. And first in regard to Mr Custis going to England.—My own Inclinations have always been strong in favour of his prosecuting the plan you formerly laid down for him—his Friends a good deal divided in theirs—some on acct of the expence; others, as being almost the last of a Family, think he shoud run no risks that are to be avoided—These opinions tho they are insufficient to biass my own Judgment in this matter (as I think the more conspicuous the point of view a man is to appear in, the more pains should be taken to enlarge his mind and qualify him for a useful Member of Society) yet they determined me in some measure not to appear sollicitous or forward in promoting it; but leave things a little more to their own workings, and to the turn and disposition of the Youth himself, after his Genius is a little more unfolded and he better able to have an opinion of his own.—In this state of mind I was, when your prospects of a change, & Edition: current; Page: [322] doubts [about] accompanying him, were communicated to me; which will have no small weight in turning the Scale; for, however desirable it may be to see him travel (if his Income shoud be thought by Genl Court sufficient to admit of the expence) under the care of a Gentleman who would endeavour to guard, & steer him clear of those follies & vices which youth almost imperceptably falls into, at the same time that he was Instilling into him taste for useful knowledge and Improvement, Yet I must own I should never wish to see him set out for England, at his time of Life recommended to the care of a merchant only—or to Embark on a Tour of the kind you proposed without a Conductor; as pleasure and dissipation without a kirb, would leave little room for study, & more than probably end in his Ruin: I am therefore more perplex’d than ever I was, & find the difficulty of giving a defenitive answer encreased by your doubts; and [can only] add, that when the period arrives at which you [think] it eligible for him to set out on a Tour of this [kind, it will] if it appears to be his own desire, upon a pro[bability of your intention] & your inclination to accompany him, meet [with my] hearty concurrence, notwithstanding the ex[pense. Far]ther than this I do not think myself at liberty [to decide. I] conceive there is much greater circumspection to [be observed] by a Guardian than a natural Parent, who is only accountable to his own Conscience for his Conduct; whereas any faupas in a Guardian however well meant the Action, seldom fails to meet with malicious construction, and often Edition: current; Page: [323] subjects the Party to Inconvenience which is troublesome to get relieved from—This opinion of mine is not known to my Ward—He believes, for anything I know to the contrary, that his Trip to England is resolvd on—& I should be glad if his time was devoted to the Study of those useful Branches of Learning as will render him fit for it.

I very sincerely congratulate you on the prospect of your change, to a parish not far distant from this, & should be glad to see you soon confirmd in a Benefice equal to the full extent of your wishes.—Colo Colvil by his Will left the Legatees in England five years to put in their Claim & proove their Right; this time will not expire till the 8th day of Octr next—as to Mr Johnson’s Physick as he has been so obliging to provide it, you will be so [good as], when an opportunity offers, to send it over; tho’ if [it be] some of the last, nothing is to be expected from it; th[at was] used without having in the smallest degree, the de[sired effect.]

I cannot conclude, without requesting [in the] most Importunate manner that all due attention [and considera]tion may be given to Jack’s Education—I fear [the progress] he has made in Classical knowledge has of la[te been] trifling; as I cannot discover that he is much [farther] in Latten than when he left Mr Magowan, know[s little] Arithmetick, and is quite ignorant of the Greek Language, which he has begun under the Tuition of that Gentleman; & therefore, as well as from some enquiries which I [have] lately made, apprehend, that he lacks that Attention Edition: current; Page: [324] which is necessary to advance him in his Studies—the Information which I have but Just come to the knowledge of has filled me with a sincere concern, not because of the expence attendg his Living in Annapolis were it 4 times as great; but on acct of the lost time which is never to be regained.—Duty & Inclination both prompt me to mention this matter to you, as I have his Improvement much at heart, and wd wittingly leave nothing unattempted on my part to see this accomplished.

I am with Mrs Washington’s Compliments [and] thanks for your attention to Jack in the Small Pox1.

If (?) Fees a £3 £42. 0. 0
[F]ar[e]s (?) 7/6 6. 7. 6
third of a Doctor 10. 0
⅓ of a Doctor 2. 6
Pennsylvania Money 1. 0. 0
£50. 0. 0.
George Washington
Washington, George
24 June, 1771



Your letters of the 15th December from Georgia, and 20th of April, from Charlestown, came duely to hand. In answer to them, I have only to inform you, Edition: current; Page: [325] that my advertisements which you refer to, were issued in consequence of instructions from our late Governor and Council; and that I have nothing more to do in the affair, than to receive, & deliver in to them the several claims of the respective Officers & Soldiers who embarked in the service of this Colony in the year 1754 (under a Proclamation of the then Governor, offering a reward of 200,000 acres of Land to all those who shou’d voluntarily engage in an Expedition against the French, who were at that time encroaching on his majesty’s lands, on the Ohio;) among those who embarked under this encouragement was your son, and well entitled, not only by proclamation, but by his merit and bravery, to a Lieutenant’s share of the Lands, which no doubt he (if any of us do) will obtain, as I have exhibited your claim for that purpose.—Nothing final, however, is determined on with respect to this matter—you will stand upon the same footing with the rest of the claimants, provided you contribute in the same proportion towards the incidental charges attending the Surveys &c which are now set about & for which each subaltern Officer has already been call’d upon for the respective sums of £6- and £4.—10—0—current money of this government in order to prosecute the work; it will behoove you therefore to give some person a power of attorney to act on your behalf, who must be furnished with the means of contributing your quota past, and to come, for furthering of this business, which must, from the nature of it, be attended with trouble and expense. I know of no person better Edition: current; Page: [326] qualified to serve you in this matter, than the one who first exhibited your claim; I mean Mr. Alexr. Craig, who is a resident of Williamsburg, a man of very fair character, and lays more in the way of receiving your instructions and communicating such information as may be proper for you to receive, than I should be, or any one else I am acquainted with.

It may not be amiss to add for your further satisfaction, that all the claims are not yet given in, consequently the proportion and value of the land which may fall to each officer’s share is not fully ascertained; and that we have many difficulties, & some uncertainties to struggle through, before our right to these lands will be fully recognized. Such powerful sollicitation is there at the Court of Great Britain for the lands to the westward of us, where our grant was located; and such the opposition we meet with; tho’ it is hoped that the Equity of our claim will at length prevail.1

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In which case, the Land will be well worth the trouble and expence we may bestow to obtain it, notwithstanding the remote distance it is from navigation.

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I am much obliged to you for the favorable opinion you are pleas’d to entertain of me, and wish I may continue to deserve it, and approve myself Sir, &c.

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George Washington
Washington, George
9 July, 1771
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


Sear Sir,

From several concurring causes, which have assembled upon the eve of my departure for Williamsburg, I have both my head and my hands too full of business to allow me time to write more than a hasty undigested answer to your letter of the 4th. This, however, I shall attempt to do.

In my last I informed you, (as well as I can recollect the contents of the letter) that the friends (I do not confine myself to the relations) of Mr. Custis, were divided in their opinions, of the propriety of his travelling, not on account of the advantages which might result from it, but on account of the expense, as he would set out with so heavy a charge, as you thought sufficient to induce you to accompany him, which would at once anticipate half his income. For his estate is of a kind, that rather comes under the denomination of a large than a profitable one. He has a good deal of land and a great many slaves, it is true, but the former is more to be esteemed for the situation than the produce, being of an indifferent quality and much worn, so that large crops cannot be made from them. These doubtful opinions was a sufficient cause, I added, for me to be circumspect in my conduct, as I had another tribunal to account to besides that in my own breast, for the part I was to act on this occasion. For you cannot but know, that every farthing, which is expended on this young gentleman, must undergo the inspection of the General Edition: current; Page: [330] Court, in their examination of my guardianship accounts, and that it would never answer for me to permit him to launch into any uncommon or extravagant tract, (especially at a time when a heavy and expensive chancery suit is just commenced against his estate,) without first knowing whether such an expence would be submitted to by those, who had a constitutional right to put a negative thereon.

These are the reasons why I said in my last, that my own inclinations were still as strong as ever for Mr. Custis’s pursuing his travelling scheme, but that it was necessary the Court should approve of the expense, (I did not want their opinion of the utility of travelling) and provided, that it should appear, when his judgment is a little more matured, that he is desirous of undertaking this tour upon a plan of improvement, rather than a vague desire of gratifying an idle curiosity, or spending his money wantonly. For by the bye, if his mother does not speak her sentiments, rather than his, he is abundantly lukewarm in the scheme; and I cannot help giving it as my opinion, that his education, from what I have understood of his improvements, (however advanced it may be for a youth of his age,) is by no means ripe enough for a tour of travelling; not that I think his becoming a mere scholar is a desirable education for a gentleman, but I conceive a knowledge of books is the basis upon which other knowledge is to be built, and that it is men and things more than books he is to be acquainted with by travelling. At present, however well versed he may be in the principles of the Latin Edition: current; Page: [331] language (which is not to be at all wondered at, as he began the study of it as soon as he could speak), he is unacquainted with several of their classical authors, which might be useful to him to read. He is ignorant of the Greek, (which the advantages of understanding I do not pretend to judge), knows nothing of French, which is absolutely necessary to him as a traveller; little or nothing acquainted with arithmetic, and totally ignorant of the mathematics, than which, so much of it at least as relates to surveying, nothing can be more essentially necessary to any person possessed of a large landed estate, the bounds of some part or other of which is always in controversy.

Now, whether he has time between this and next spring to acquire a sufficient knowledge of these, or so much of them as are requisite, I leave you to judge of; and whether a boy of seventeen years old, which will be his age the last of November next, can have any just notions of the end and design of travelling? I have already given it as my opinion, that it would be precipitating this event, unless he was to go immediately to the university for a couple of years, and in this case he could see nothing of America; which might be a disadvantage to him, as it is to be expected that every man, who travels with a view of observing the laws and customs of other countries, should be able to give some description of the situation and government of his own.

Upon the whole, it is impossible for me at this time to give a more decisive answer, however strongly inclined I may be to put you upon an absolute certainty Edition: current; Page: [332] in this affair, than I have done; and should think myself wanting in candor, if I concealed any circumstance from you, which leads me to fear, that there is a possibility, if not a probability, that the whole design may be totally defeated; and therefore I add, that before I ever thought myself at liberty to encourage this plan, I judged it highly reasonable and necessary, that the mother should be consulted. I laid your first letter and proposals before her, and desired that she would ponder well, before she resolved, as an unsteady behavior might be a disadvantage to you. Her determination was, that, if it appeared to be his inclination to undertake this tour, and if it should be adjudged for his benefit, she would not oppose it, whatever pangs it might give her to part with him. This declaration she still adheres to, but in so faint a manner, that I think, what with her fears and his indifference, (if he really is so) it will soon be declared that he has no inclination to go, the consequence of which is too obvious to be mentioned. I do not say that this will be the case; I cannot speak positively. But as this [is] the result of my own reflection upon the matter, I thought it but fair to communicate it to you.

Several causes, I believe, have concurred to make her view his departure, as the time approaches, with more reluctance than she expected. The unhappy situation of her daughter has in some degree fixed her eyes upon him as her only hope. Add to this the doubts of her friends, &c., to what I have already said, I can only add, that my warmest wishes are to Edition: current; Page: [333] see him prosecute a plan, at a proper period, which I am sure will redound to his advantage, and that nothing shall be wanted on my part to aid and assist him in it. In the event of his going, I should think myself highly favored, and him much honored, by Governor Eden’s letters of introduction. Such, with others that might be procured, can not fail of having their advantages.

You will please to make my compliments to Mr. Dulany, and assure him, that I have not the vestige of a house at the Frederic Springs, otherwise it should have been, if unengaged, much at his service. The two seasons I spent at those waters I stood indebted to Mr. Mercer for the use of his house.

I scarce know what answer to give to the papers you transmitted to me as an executor of the will of Col. Thos. Colvill, deceased. The affairs of that estate are unhappily involved with Mr. Semple, to whom Colo. Colvill in his life time sold a tract of land in Maryland, called Merryland, for (I think) £2600 sterling, and from whom we can neither get the money nor land. Till this matter is settled the executors are unable to pay off the legacies in this country, consequently can answer no demands of the residuary legatees in England, who only come in for the surplusage if any there be. I believe there will be more than sufficient to discharge the debts and legacies here, but the overplus will be trifling. I remain, &c.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
20 July 1771
Mt. Vernon,



Our goods by the Liberty, Captn. Walker, came to hand in good order, and soon after his arrival; as they generally will do when shipped in a vessel to this river, and scarcely ever when they go to any others (unless they should be despatched in one of your own ships, and the Captain particularly instructed concerning the delivery of them.) For it don’t often happen that a vessel bound to one river has goods of any consequence for another, and the masters, in these cases keep the packages till an accidental conveyance offers, and for want of better opportunities, frequently commit them to boatmen who care very little for the goods so they get their freight, and often land them where it suits their convenience, not where they have engaged to do, which was the case of those parcels sent by Saunderson. It is to little purpose, therefore, to recommend it to us to seek redress of the masters for these delays or abuses (though it may be the only remedy left) unless the injury is of so extensive a nature as to make it worth while to be at some expense and trouble to watch for and find out the Captains. Our situation in this country differs very widely from yours. A ship going from Virginia to London is always, and with ease, to be met with at that part; but a ship from London to Virginia may be in Rappahannock, or any of the other rivers, three months before I know anything of her arrival, and may make twenty voyages without my seeing, or Edition: current; Page: [335] even hearing of the captain, in the same manner that vessels may trade to Liverpool, Whitehaven, or Bristol, unknown to you. It is more expedient, therefore, to prevent the evil, than to redress it afterwards, and this is very easily done by sending the goods out in ships belonging to the river they are destined for. So much in answer for that part of your letter of the 13th of November advising me to make Saunderson (a man I never saw in my life, and perhaps never shall) pay the extra expence I was put to in getting my goods from Mr. Bland’s warehouse at Boyds Hole.

There are several other passages in the letter above mentioned that I think it incumbent upon me to take some notice of; not that I am fond of dwelling upon a subject that is full as disagreeable to me as it can be to you, but because there is one paragraph in particular in it, respecting the Windsor glass, which appears to me to contain an implication of my having deviated from the truth. Why else should you require in the name of the person you bought of, a square to be sent you? And what end was it to answer, but to charge me indirectly with a misrepresentation of the fact? For if it was supposed by Mrs. Dennis that I had related a falsehood, it might as well have been imagined, that I would have practised a deceit, as there could have been no difficulty in making Mrs. Ann Dennis a square of 8 by 10 out of 9 and 11, and any one who would condescend to practise the one would not hesitate to execute the other. But, however credulous I may have been in relation to the prices of tobacco, I could not well Edition: current; Page: [336] have been so in respect to the measurement of the glass when I built a house with sashes 9 by 11, and got squares that would not fit them. I do not repeat this matter with a view of having any allowance made me—I neither want nor would accept of any; but to show that it is much more likely Mrs. Dennis should put up a box of 8 by 10 through carelessness or by mistake, than that I should mistake the size when I came to use it. I had nothing more in view when I made the complaint first, than to shew how inattentive the tradesmen and shopkeepers sometimes are, that I might be relieved from the like inconveniences for the time to come. This was my reason also for taking notice of the Duffield from Mauduit & Co,1 not that I expected any deduction from the price, as they could not see the condition of the cloth for want of my having an opportunity of reshipping it, an inconvenience we are obliged to submit to and is among the disadvantages attending my shipping to a house that has no connection with the river I live on, and it is seldom we have it in our power of sending any little trifling matters which want repairs, alterations, &c. to London, not choosing to put Captains of vessels, with whom we have no concern, nor any way of obliging in return, to any trouble in sending for or taking charge of them. So likewise is it a disadvantage on account of your letters which come chiefly by York and James River ships, by which means I have the postage from Williamsburg to Alexandria always Edition: current; Page: [337] to pay, which upon a letter that contains an account of sales, or that has anything else enclosed, amounts often to four, five, and sometimes eight or ten shillings, which in the end increases to no trifling sum.

I observe what you have said in respect to the purchase of our goods with ready cash. It is what those who have money in your hands, or who pay interest for the loan of yours, have an undoubted right, to expect. And if we are allowed the benefits of debenture, and the prompt payment of goods (for I am told, the tradesmen and shopkeepers generally, if not always, make out their notes on twelve or more months’ credit, according to the general run of their dealings, and then discount according to the payments)—I say, if these are allowed, it is all we have a right to expect; and yet, I do aver that I can buy linen and many other articles in the stores here in their sterling way of dealing, cheaper than I can import them, which is a mystery not easy to be accounted for, as I do not conceive that you are charged the retail prices for the goods you purchase. For though the quantity that I, or any other individual, may want is small, yet, when it is considered that one person has a demand for twenty pounds worth, another for fifty, a third for an hundred, and so on to the amount of thousands for any article (linen for example), to be shipped off at one and the same time, surely the whole is of dignity enough to bring you under the denomination of a wholesale purchaser, and sufficient to entitle you to all the benefits of a drawback upon the exported goods. This is the light in which things Edition: current; Page: [338] have always appeared to me. I may be mistaken, however, in my conjectures for want of better knowledge of trade; and if I expect any thing that is unreasonable, or inconsistent with the principles of a just, fair and practicable commerce, I am sure I do not desire to be indulged in it. But I cannot help adding that it has ever been my opinion that in return, for the heavy charges upon our tobacco and the ample and uncommon commissions which are drawn upon the sales of it, we ought to reap every advantage which can be procured in the purchase of our goods. Otherwise I should be glad to know to what end we import them. * * *

Our Association in Virginia for the non-importation of goods is now at an end except against tea, paper, glass, and painters’ colors of foreign manufacture. You will please, therefore, to be careful that none of the glass, paper, &c., contained in my invoices, are of those kinds which are subject to the duty imposed by Parliament for the purpose of raising a revenue in America. The late great calamity which has befallen this country by the overflowing of the waters will be communicated to you I expect through so many different channels that it is scarce worth my while to touch upon the subject. Neither my ward nor self has sustained any damage by this disaster, but it is expected, that it cannot fail to have some effect upon the prices of tobacco. In which case we suppose ours will reap the advantage of it as well as others.

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Sept. 21. Set out with Mr. Wonneley for the Annapolis races. Dined at Mr. William Digges, and lodged at Mr. Ignatius Digges.

22. Dined at Mr. Sam. Galloway’s, and lodged with Mr. Boucher in Annapolis.

23. Dined with Mr. Loyd Dulany, and spent the evening at the Coffee House.

24. Dined with the Govr., and went to the play and ball afterwards.

25. Dined at Doctor Stewards, and went to the play and ball afterwards.

26. Dined with Mr. Ridouts, and went to the play after it.

27. Dined at Mr. Carroll’s, and went to the ball.

28. Dined at Mr. Boucher’s, and went from thence to the play, and afterwards to the Coffee House.

29. Dined with Major Jenifer, and supped at Dan’l Dulany, Esqs.

30. Left Annapolis, and dined and supped with Mr. Sam’l Galloway.

October 1. Dined at Upper Marlborough, and reached home in the afternoon.

George Washington
Washington, George
7 November, 1771
George Mercer
Mercer, George


Dear Sir,

2 Since you first left this country, I have been favored with two letters from you; one of them serving to enter your own, and the claims of Captains Stobo Edition: current; Page: [340] and Vanbraam, to part of the two hundred thousand acres of land, granted under Governor Dinwiddie’s proclamation; and the other, of the 18th of December, which did not come to my hands till about the first of last month, urging the expediency of prosecuting our right to those lands with spirit.

In respect to the first, I have only to inform you, that your own claim, as well that for your brother as yourself, was entered before the receipt of your letter, and that Stobo’s and Vanbraam’s are also entered. In answer to the second, I can only add, that the same backwardness, which has ever appeared in our Honorable Board to recognise our right to these lands, seems still to prevail, and that our business in this affair is by no means in that forwardness, which I could wish, owing, I believe I may say, to other causes, as well as to a lukewarmness in those from whom we seek redress. The unequal interest and dispersed situation of the claimants make a regular coöperation difficult. An undertaking of this kind cannot be conducted without a good deal of expense and trouble; and the doubt of obtaining the lands, after the utmost efforts, is such, as to discourage the larger part of the claimants from lending assistance, Edition: current; Page: [341] whilst a few are obliged to wade through every difficulty, or relinquish every hope.

In this state of things, and in behalf of those, who had contributed to the expense of exploring and surveying the lands, I petitioned the Governor and Council, that the amount of each man’s share, according to his rank, should be ascertained, and each claimant suffered to designate and survey his portion separately, by which means every man would stand upon his own footing. This petition I thought so reasonable, and so consistent with every principle of common justice, to say nothing of the disadvantage of being forced into large tracts, and the manifest inconvenience of dividing them afterwards, that I conceived it could not possibly be rejected; but to my great astonishment it was so, and we are now compelled to be at the expense of surveying our whole quantity in twenty surveys, and then each individual subjected to the charge of surveying his own separately. In this way we are doubly taxed, while the whole is held as a kind of joint interest, and no man knows his property, or can tell how or in what manner to dispose of it. In short, so many glaring obstacles opposed their mode of proceeding, that they did not even attempt to remove them, but contented themselves with putting the soldiers upon a worse footing, than the meanest individual in the community, rather than be thought to give a license for the pillaging of his Majesty’s or the Proprietary lands, when it is a fact well known, and every age evinces it, that no country ever was or ever will be Edition: current; Page: [342] settled without some indulgence. What inducements have men to explore uninhabited wilds, but the prospect of getting good lands? Would any man waste his time, expose his fortune, nay, life, in such a search, if he was to share the good and the bad with those that come after him? Surely not. We have surveyed ten of the largest tracts we can find in the district allowed us, and have been able to get sixty thousand acres, and for this tract we have been obliged to go between two and three hundred miles below Fort Pitt, as the lands thereabouts are thought to be within the Pennsylvania government; at least, they are surveyed under those rights, and held by such a number of individuals, that it was thought to be impolitic to engage in private disputes, whilst there appeared but a gloomy prospect of getting any land at all.

The claims, which have been presented to me, are now all given in, and the Governor and Council have determined, that each officer shall share according to the rank in which he entered the service, and that the land shall be distributed in the following manner, namely, to each field-officer fifteen thousand acres, to each captain nine thousand, to each subaltern six thousand, to the cadets two thousand five hundred each, six hundred to a sergeant, five hundred to a corporal, and four hundred to each private soldier. They have made a reserve of thirty thousand acres, as well to provide for any claims, which may hereafter come in, as to compensate those, who have been and must necessarily continue to be saddled with the expense, Edition: current; Page: [343] which we find will not be very inconsiderable, as we have already expended near two hundred pounds, and the surveyor not yet paid.1

This expense must now be greatly augmented, as we shall be exposed to a considerable charge in exploring the lands, before we can proceed to survey any more. From every thing we know at present, it appears impossible to get two hundred thousand acres in twenty surveys, without including mountains and inhospitable hills to the amount of near one half, which will render the grant of little value, and be the Edition: current; Page: [344] source of much discontent at a division. It behooves us, therefore, to examine the lands well before we survey. And allow me to add, that it will be very proper for you to give Messrs. Stobo and Vanbraam a hint, that something more than entering their claims is necessary. I dare say they will hardly think it reasonable to profit by the labor and purse of others. It is highly incumbent on them, therefore, to appoint an agent in this country to transact their business and advance their proportion of the expense, if they expect to share in the lands.

To give you a minute detail of the proceedings, respecting this grant, would be a work of time, and afford you little entertainment. What I have here said will serve as a general outline, and that is all I have aimed at in this letter. I should not have delayed answering your first letter till this time, had you not mentioned your intention of embarking soon on your return. This account having been frequently corroborated by your brother, of whom I often inquired after you, I thought a letter could have little chance of finding you in England. I have just been told by Mr. Mercer, that you are to remain in London for some advices from him, respecting the affairs of the Ohio Company. Mrs. Washington makes a tender of her compliments to you, and I am, with very sincere regard, dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant.

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George Washington
Washington, George
22 November, 1771
Mt. Vernon,
Robert Stobo
Stobo, Robert


Dear Sir,

Your claim to a share of the 200,000 acres of land under Governor Dinwiddie’s proclamation has been entered, and the Governor and Council have settled the proportions which fall to each man’s lot (according to the rank he entered the service with), by which each field officer is allowed 15,000 acres, each captain, 9000, each subaltern, 6000, each cadet, 2500, a sergeant, 600, a corporal, 500, and each private soldier, 400 acres apiece.

The soliciting this matter with some other expences that have attended the prosecution of our claim have cost a few individuals upwards of £200 already, and instead of getting one half the land contiguous to the forks of Monongahela (now Fort Pitt), where they are of some value, we are obliged to go down the Ohio near 300 miles lower, and take the land in twenty surveys, by which means, and the nature of that country which you know is very hilly and broken, we shall be obliged to include a large portion of bad land, so as not only to render the grant of little value, but will create a good deal of discontent at a division, as it is absolutely impossible to make an equal distribution of the good and bad, nor divide it by lot, as different ranks are entitled to different quantities; and when all is done, what plague and trouble we are yet to meet with from the proprietors of the new government to the westward of us, whose grant includes every inch of the land we Edition: current; Page: [346] are expecting under our Order of Council, I know not. Time only can reveal it.

The expence attending the grant of ours, is in a manner but just beginning, as we have not surveyed a third part of the land yet, and are laid under the inconvenience and hardship of first exploring the country, then surveying our whole quantity in twenty surveys, and after that each man his particular quantity separately—a grievance we have labored much to get removed, but could not. It is therefore incumbent upon you to appoint an agent here to attend to your interest in these lands; who should be enabled to contribute your proportion of the expense, for without money the business cannot go forward, even if the way was smooth, much less where there are difficulties in every stage of it.

What I have here said will just serve to give you some idea of this affair; to relate the whole proceedings, with the troubles and vexations that have accompanied them in stating our claims, drawing petitions, presenting memorials, &c. &c., would require a volume, and afford little entertainment.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
4th May, 1772
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


After a tiresome, and in my opinion, a very unimportant Session, I returned home about the middle of last Month accompanied by Colo Bassett &c.

The expediency of an American Episcopate was long & warmly debated, and at length rejected. As a substitute, the House attempted to frame an Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, to be composed of a President and four other clergymen, who were to have full power and authority to hear and determine all matters and causes relative to the clergy, and to be vested with the [power] of Suspension, deprivation, & visitation. From this Jurisdiction an Appeal was to be Edition: current; Page: [348] had to a Court of Delegates, to consist of an equal number of Clergymen and Laymen; but this Bill, after much canvassing, was put to Sleep, from an opinion that the subject was of too much Importance to be hastily entered into at the end of a Session.—An Act has passed this session empowering Trustees (to be chosen by ye Subscribers to the Scheme) to raise money by way of Subscription, & Lottery, for the purpose of opening, & extending the Navigation of Potomack from the Tide Water, to Fort Cumberland; & for perpetuating the Toll arising from vessells to the Adventurers in the scheme1—but ye Execution of it must necessarily be suspended till some thing similar passes into a Law in your province.—An Act has also passed for Erecting a Light House on Cape Henry, from which I think the Shipping will derive great advantages2—and a Bill went through the House, but rejected in the Council, for having Septennial Vestrys, and a general dissolution of all those now in existence.

Herewith I send the Pamphlets you desird me to get, together with your Accts from both Printing Offices discharged; both Printers being desired to forward your Gazettes for the future to the care of Mr. Lowndes of Bladensburg.

I expected to have made you a visit soon after my return from Williamsburg, and to have gone from thence to Annapolis, but am a little uncertain now when it will be in my power to enjoy this pleasure; as I have business that will call me into Loudoun, Edition: current; Page: [349] Fauquier, and Berkeley (one of the New Counties taken from Frederick, the other Dunmore) sometime between the middle, & last of this month; & am now engaged in Fishing and other matters which seems I think to require my attendance.

George Washington
Washington, George
21st May, 1772
Mount Vernon,
Jonathan Boucher
Boucher, Jonathan


Inclination having yielded to Importunity, I am now contrary to all expectation under the hands of Mr. Peale; but in so grave—so sullen a mood—and now and then under the influence of Morpheus, when some critical strokes are making, that I fancy the skill of this Gentleman’s Pencil, will be put to it, in describing to the World what manner of man I am. I have no doubt of Mr Peale’s1 meeting with very good Incouragement in a Tour to Williamsburg; for having mentioned him to some Gentlemen at our Court, they seem desirous of employing him in his way down.2

Edition: current; Page: [350]

Your excuse for denying us the pleasure of your Company, with Governor Eden & Lady, tho not strictly warranted by Scripture, is nevertheless highly admissable, and I sincerely congratulate you upon the prospect of happiness; as I think there is a fair Field of it opening to your view, from the judiciousness of your choice—Whether Mrs Washington ever stretches as far as Annapolis or not, we shall certainly take some very early opportunity of making your acquaintance on this occasion.

May 23d.

The foregoing Letter was designed to go by Jack Custis, who intended, as he said, but afterwards altered his mind; to take the benefit of a Ball at Alexandria on Thursday Evening, in his way home the next day.—In the interim Joe brought me your favor of the 21st, forbidding us any longer to hope for the pleasure of Govr Eden and Lady’s Company; which we had been flattering ourselves with the honor of, for several days; & which I now beg the favor of you to assure them we regret; at the same time I am further to ask you to apologize to Mr Eden for my not paying my respects to him at Mr Digges; which I fully intended to do, but falling under Mr Peale’s hands that morning in a regular Rot[ation, he kept] me so long, knowing that it w[as his custom] of asking, that I had not time [to visit him Edition: current; Page: [351] bef]ore Dinner, and the Govr You wrote me he was to set out for Mr Rogers after it.—Be pleased to assure Mr and Mrs Eden, which you may do with great truth, that Mrs Washington and myself shall think ourselves very happy in seeing them at Mount Vernon whenever they can make it convenient to give us the honor of their Company.

I find upon enquiry that, it will not be in my power to supply you and Mr Calvert with the Weathers you want; the Rot, or some other distemper among my sheep swept off near an hundred, in the Space of a Month, this Spring for me.—I am much obliged to Mr Galloway for the Claret, and as I have no immediate use for it (having a Box or two by me) I must trouble Mr Digges for House Room for it till I return from my trip upward.

George Washington
Washington, George
15 June, 1772
Mount Vernon,
Lord Dunmore
Lord Dunmore


My Lord,

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, Edition: current; Page: [352] 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 Edition: current; Page: [353] 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 Edition: current; Page: [354] 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.

George Washington
Washington, George
2 August, 1772
Mt. Vernon,
Matthew Campbell
Campbell, Matthew



In reply to your letter of the 4th I think it a piece of justice due to you to acknowledge that I was not lead to inquire into the price of the goods I had purchased of you already, and might hereafter take from anything that passed between us at the time I offered to discontinue my own importations (upon condition I could get my goods at nearly what they would cost to import them myself). I very well remember that nothing conclusive passed between you and me on that occasion, as a proof of which I made out my own invoice and sent it home by Captain Jordan as usual. Consequently you were not restrained on that account from charging me what you pleased. My inquiry arose from an opinion that I was dealing with you upon better terms than common, and this opinion was founded upon what Mr. Adam told me of his scheme. When I came, therefore, to Edition: current; Page: [355] see an article advanced a good deal higher than I expected I own to you that I was alarmed and thought it high time to know upon what footing I was purchasing. If after this acknowledgment, which I thought it incumbent on me to make, in order that you might be released even from the apprehension of an engagement, you still think proper to let me have the goods I may find occasion to buy in the country at 25 per cent sterling advance upon the genuine cost, dischargeable at the current exchange, I will confine my whole country dealings to your store, and will endeavor to throw the wages which I pay to hirelings into your hands also; provided, you will let me know upon what certain reasonable advance they can have their goods (upon the strength of my credit). For unless they can deal with you upon better terms than with others, I should not think myself justifiable in attempting to influence their choice, and this knowledge I must come at in order that I may convince them (if satisfied myself) of the propriety of the measure.

You may believe me sincere when I assure you that no man wishes to see your company prosper in trade more than I do, and self interest apart, I have always thought the way to do this was to import largely and sell low provided you could get a ready vend and quick payments for your goods. But do not deceive yourself by the ready despatch you have hitherto met with; for though I do not pretend to dispute your selling at a low advance in general, (having had no opportunity at all of judging) yet give Edition: current; Page: [356] me leave to add that the progress you have hitherto met with, is by no means an evident proof of it. The mind of man is fond of novelty; curiosity led many to your store, and inclination when there tempted them to be doing. To this they were excited by an opinion which most people had imbibed of your large importation, and intended scheme of trade. But, my good sir, this is but the work of a day, and like the evening of it, will sink into obscurity, unless by a steady adherence to your plan you convince the judgment as well as satisfy the curiosity of your customers. You see that I have used a freedom which friendship only can excuse me for. If I did not wish well to your undertaking, I should not take the liberty of troubling you with my sentiments, which however different from your own, or wrong in your principles, are truely genuine.

George Washington
Washington, George
5 November, 1772
Lord Dunmore
Lord Dunmore


My Lord, and Gentlemen;

The whole quantity of 200,000 acres of land granted by the Hon. Robert Dinwiddie’s proclamation of the 19th of Feb., 1754, being now fully obtained (within the number of surveys limited) and the last certificates thereof lodged in the Secretary’s office, I take the liberty humbly to inform your Excellency and Honors that the surveys formerly made are already patented, agreeably to an order of Council of the 6th of Nov., 1771, and that the certificates lately returned and unappropriated, are for 28,400, 21,941, 7,276, Edition: current; Page: [357] 7,894, and 6,788 acres, in all, 72,299 acres. It is also necessary to inform the Board that the following claims, including not only those which were given on the — day of Oct. 1771, but such as have been entered here, are yet to be acknowledged and satisfied accordingly:

Col. Joshua Fry’s heir, being short of his full ninth at the last distribution 7 232 acres
George Washington, also short of his ninth at that distribution 453 acres
Col. Muse & others also short of his ninth at that distribution 199 acres
And’w Waggener also short of his ninth at that distribution 2,672 acres
John Savage also short of his ninth at that distribution 2,672 acres
Dr. James Craik also short of his ninth at that distribution 394 acres
Robt. Stobo’s heir for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 9,000 acres
Jacob Vanbraam for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 9,000 acres
William Bronaugh for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 6,000 acres
James Forest’s heir for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 6,000 acres
Thomas Bullet for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 2,500 acres
John Wright’s heir for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 2,500 acres
Jno. David Wilper for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 600 acres
And’w Touler for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Francis Self for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Arthur Watts, dec’d for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Robert Stewart for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Alex’r Bonny for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Wm. McAnulty for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 200 acres
Thos. Napp for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Jesse May for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Robt. Murphy for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Jno. Smith for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
Wm. Horn, dec’d for his full proportion of the 200,000 acres. 400 acres
53,432 acres
Edition: current; Page: [358]

This ninth of 53,432 acres of land, taken from the amount of the survey on the other side, leaves, of the 30,000 acres, (set apart in Oct., 1771, for satisfying any claims which might thereafter come in, and for the further purpose of reimbursing the few who had been at the trouble and whole risque) 18,867 acres, which if appropriated to those who were full in advance at that time, and distributed according to the former proportions, will go thus:

To George Washington, 3,500;
To Geo. Muse, 3,500;
To Geo. Mercer 2,800;
To Adam Stephen 2,100
To Andrew Lewis 2,100
To Peter Hog 2,100
To John West 1,400 and
To James Craik 1,400 acres.

And if this method of proportioning the 18,867 acres of land is approved of by Y’r Exc’ll’y and Hon’rs, and you are pleased to order, as before, an association of names into each Patent, so as to bring the amount of their several claims as near to the quantity of land in the survey as may be, the following method of doing it probably will be found to answer as well as any other, as it cost some hours in shifting and changing the claims from one survey to another, to bring them so near; but if any other method, better approved of, it cannot but be equally agreeable to the parties concerned, as chance, at all events, must have the government of this matter.

Edition: current; Page: [359]
Tract of 7,276 Acres.
To Geo. Washington for his div. of the last distribution 453
And for his div. of the 18,867 acres 3,500
To Geo. Muse the residue, 3,323
The Tract of 28,400 acres.
To Capt. Stobo’s heir in full. 9,000
To Capt Vanbraam 9,000
To representative of James Towners, dec’d. 6,000
To Andrew Fowler, 400
To Thomas Napp. 400
To Arthur Watts, dec’d 400
To Jesse May (assigned to M. Fox) 400
To Frank Self 400
To Jno. Smith 400
To Alex. Bonny 400
To Wm Horn dec’d— 400
To Wm. McAnulty, 400
The Tract of 7,894 acres.
To Wm Bronaugh, in full 6,000
Dr. Craik, for his div. at the last distribution 394
Dr. Craik, for his div. at the 18,867 acres 1,400
Col. Muse, for residue 100
The Tract of 6,788 acres.
To And’w Waggener, for his div. at the last distribution 2,572
Jno. West, his div. to the 18,867 acres 1,400
Col. Mercer, for the remainder of the tract—with what he received over his proportion at the last distribution, it more than pays him 2,816
The Tract of 21,944 Acres.
To the heirs of Col. Fry, for his div. at the last distribution 7,242
John Savage, for his div. at the last distribution 2,572
Thos Bullet, in full of the grant 2,500
Wm. Wright, dec’d full of the grant 2,500
John David Wilfer 600
Adam Shepherd, for his div. of 18,867 acres 2,100
Andrew Lewis 2,100
Peter Hog 2,100

As the opening of the patents for these lands will put an end to the business of this tract of 1754, so far as depends upon Y’r Excellency and Hon’rs, I would beg leave to offer two points of material interest to some of the trustees to the serious consideration and determination of the Board. The first is, as none of the patentees, under the mode adopted of granting land to numbers in the same patent, can be ascertained of their particular property therein till a legal division is established, which (as in the case of a late grant of 28,667 acres to sixty odd patentees, is scarcely practicable to accomplish, and, of consequence the saving of the land by cultivation and improvement, next to impossible; by this means the intended bounty offered for a valuable consideration Edition: current; Page: [361] is not only rendered void but to those who have contributed to the expense, evidently injurious, inasmuch as they have paid for that which it is not in their power to come at,) I say, under these circumstances, whether some expedient cannot be hit upon to serve those who are willing and desirous of complying with the theory of the grant, either by prolonging the time of cultivation, if this can be done, or by directing each man’s share in any patent to be laid off, (if the division is not effected by consent of parties) within a certain limited period, of which public notice to be given, as each patentee thereafter shall respectively apply to the Surveyor, who may be instruced, to lay off the same in one body and in a good figure to prevent injustice,

The second matter to be offered is: whether something cannot, and if it can, ought not to be done, compeling those who have never paid one farthing, or taken one single step towards obtaining their lands, (not even the fees of office on their own particular tracts,) to contribute in proportion to the quantity of land they have, and are to receive? Without something of this sort can be done previous to the patenting, or in the patenting of these lands, nothing is to be expected from them afterwards; for where men (I am speaking of those who hold principal shares in this grant, for as to common soldiery, little ever was expected from them,) are found so remiss, after repeated exhortation, as neither to afford time nor money for the purpose of conducting a work which could not possibly have gone without both, little of Edition: current; Page: [362] the latter is to be expected after the business is at an end and their patents delivered to them, unless litigious law-suits are commenced, some of which against infants, and some against persons beyond sea, and without this, I must, after having been already saddled with almost the whole trouble and many expenses peculiar to myself, submit to considerable loss, as I have been obliged to advance all the fees of office, and many drafts of the Surveyor, and considered, I dare say, by him, as liable for his whole fees, assured by having one, in that case, for the before mentioned tract of 28,600 acres patented to the common soldiery to pay for without. (I fear,) their being a penny the better of it, as no step hath yet been taken to obtain a division. One year of the three gone, and one-half of them may never more be heard of.

I have thus, may it please Y’r Excellency and Hon’r, endeavored to draw the whole of this matter into one short view, to save you the trouble of referring from one order of Council to another. I have now to beg pardon for the trouble I have had occasion from time to time to give in prosecuting this matter, and have the honor to be, &c.


George Washington
Washington, George
15 February, 1773
Mount Vernon,
Colonel Bassett
Colonel Bassett


Dear Sir:

Your favor of the 5th came to my hands in course of post last Thursday, and filled us with no small concern at the indisposition of yourself and family. Edition: current; Page: [363] Equally concerned am I to hear of the unhappy state of our paper currency, and that the interposition of the Assembly is thought necessary. Should this measure be resolved on, be so good as to advise me, whether it be intended that the country business generally shall be proceeded on, or this alarming affair of the money only taken into consideration. In the former case, I shall come down; in the latter, as the session will be short and my business obliges me to the Gen’l Court, I believe I shall decline it.

Could there have been anything favorable said on the subject of corn, I should not have neglected advising you of it till this time. I have scarcely heard the name of corn mentioned since I left Williamsburg, and nothing can contribute more towards keeping down the price than the mildness of the winter hitherto, having had no snow to cover the ground here yet, and but little hard weather. I have a few hundred barrels of my own to sell, but have met with no offers for it as yet.

Our celebrated fortune, Miss French, whom half the world was in pursuit of, bestowed her hand on Wednesday last, being her birthday (you perceive I think myself under a necessity of accounting for the choice) upon Mr. Ben Dulany, who is to take her to Maryland in a month from this time. Mentioning of one wedding puts me in mind of another, tho’ of less dignity; this is the marriage of Mr. Henderson (of Colchester) to a Miss More (of the same place) remarkable for a very frizzled head, and good singing, Edition: current; Page: [364] the latter of which I shall presume it was that captivated our merchant.

Mrs. Washington, Patsy Custis and Jack, who is now here, are much as usual, and the family not sicklier than common. Hoping this will find you perfectly restored, and the rest of the good folks of Eltham in better health than when you wrote last, I am with best wishes to Mrs Bassett, yourself and the children, in which all here join.

George Washington
Washington, George
15 February, 1773
Mt. Vernon,
John Dalton
Dalton, John



I am obliged to you for the notice you have given me of an intended meeting of your vestry on Tuesday next. I do not know, however, that it will be in my power to attend, nor do I conceive it at all necessary that I should, as I am an avowed enemy to the scheme I have heard (but never till of late believed) that some members of your vestry are inclined to adopt.

If the subscription to which among others I put my name was set on foot under sanction of an order of vestry, as I always understood it to be I own myself at a loss to conceive upon what principle it is, that there should be an attempt to destroy it, repugnant it is to every idea I entertain of justice to do so; and the right of reclaiming the pews by the vestry in Edition: current; Page: [365] behalf of the parish (which have been built by private contribution granting the subscription money to be refunded with interest,) I most clearly deny. Therefore, as a parishioner who is to be saddled with the extra charge of the subscription money, I protest against the measure. As a subscriber who meant to lay the foundation of a family pew in the new church, I shall think myself injured. For give me leave to ask, can the raising of that £150 under the present scheme be considered in any other light than that of a deception? Is it presumable that this money would have been advanced if the subscribers could possibly have conceived that after a solemn act of vestry under faith of which the money was subscribed, the pews would be reclaimed? Surely not! The thought is absurd! and can be stated in no better point of view than this: Here is a parish wanting a large church, but considering the circumstances of its constituents is content with a small one, till an offer is made to enlarge it by subscription (under certain privileges), which is acceded by the vestry; and when effected and the parish better able to bear a fresh tax, what does it want? Why to destroy a solemn compact and reclaim the privileges they had granted. For I look upon the refunding of money as totally beside the question. And for what purpose I beg leave to ask, is this to be done? I own to you I am at a loss to discover; for as every subscriber has an undoubted right to a seat in the church, what matters it whether he assembles his Edition: current; Page: [366] whole family into one pew, or, as the custom is, have them dispersed into two or three; and probably it is these families will increase in a proportionate degree with the rest of the parish, so that if the vestry had a right to annul the agreement, no disadvantage would probably happen on that account.

Upon the whole, Sir, as I observed to you before, considering myself as a subscriber, I enter my protest against the measure in agitation. As a parishioner, I am equally averse to a tax which is intended to replace the subscription money. These will be my declared sentiments if present at the vestry. If I am not, I shall be obliged to you for communicating them.

George Washington
Washington, George
12th March, 1773
Dr. Thruston
Dr. Thruston


Revd. Sir,

Your favor of the 25th ulto. by Mr. Watson came duly to hand; in answer to it I must beg leave to inform you, that the short allotment of Land to Mr. Andw Waggener was not the result of any determination of the Officers who met at Fredericksburg on the 23d of Novemr. (for they had nothing to do, either in settling the proportions, or distributing the Land,) but was a solemn act of the Governor and Council, on the sixth preceeding, (adopted after having a full state of the several advances laid before them, and in my opinion, upon the most just and equitable principles.) If Mr. Waggener therefore, is injur’d, Edition: current; Page: [367] or thinks himself injured, he must appeal to that Board as the only Tribunal which can afford him redress.

From your statement of the case, however, it would appear that you have been deceived by Mr. Waggener’s representation of this matter—he has been a culprit in respect to his contributions, from the very beginning as thus.—In August 1770 a meeting of all the principal claimants, was required in Fredericksburg:—accordingly Mr. Waggener, among others, attended, and exhibiting the nature of his claim, was considered as the representative of his uncle Thos. Waggener.—An advance was then voted—his proportion call’d for—but not paid ’till many months after.—

In March, 1771, another meeting of the Claimants was summoned in Winchester; (for by, or before this time, it is necessary to be remarked, that our affairs, never in a very promising way, began to grow very alarming, from the sollicitation of a large Grant on the Ohio, by some of the most powerful men in England, and by Lord Bottetourt; notwithstanding the order of the council of the 15th December 1769—expressly forbidding the Surveys to go on) at this meeting, the few that attended, maugre all the discouragements, resolved, as the only chance left, to proceed at all hazards to surveying; altho’ they were sensible that the expence would be great; and would inevitably light on their own heads, if it failed; accordingly, another sum was voted, and Mr. Waggener call’d upon in an earnest and pressing manner Edition: current; Page: [368] to advance his proportion:—and what has he done? why, not paid one shilling of it to this hour; so that it was not for his non-attendance at Fredericksburg in November last (where, give me leave to add, if other business was an excuse for this negligence, no man could plead it with more propriety than myself, having left all my business in Williamsburg undone, by reason of the late coming in of the merchants, in order to be up there) that he was curtailed of his land in the first distribution, but, for want of his money to make the surveys, the effecting of which could not be done without. Whether this neglect proceeded from a disinclination to advance more under the circumstances, as they then appeared—from disability, or any other cause, his own Breast can best determine; sufficient it is, that he was call’d upon on the 4th of March, 1771, to make this deposit, and that it is not done yet:—The Council seeing, and having no reason to disbelieve these things, not only as they respected Mr. Waggener, but all others under the like predicament, thought it very just and reasonable, that those who, rather than give up their hopes, had waded thro’ every difficulty and expence, should be first considered, and therefore determin’d, (without a dissenting voice, that I have hear’d of) that, of the first surveys, every one should receive in the proportion he had advanced; being well satisfied that this work could not have gone on without money; and that it never was expected, nor could with propriety be expected that I, who had had so much trouble in other respects, was to ride about as a Collector, to Edition: current; Page: [369] receive five pounds of this man, ten pounds of that and so on; it being sufficient for the Parties to be apprized of their quotas, and to whom to pay it. To what I have here said, I must take the liberty of observing further by way of explanation of my own meaning and the Council’s intention, that my offer which you hint at had no allusion to an alteration of the kind you apply for—for the matter under contemplation at the time of inserting that saving clause was the quality of the soil, it being supposed that the difference therein might cause an unequal division, tho’ each man should obtain his quantum of Land.

These, Sir, are facts, and but part of the reasons which govern’d in the determination of this matter, under which you may judge how far Mr. Waggener has just cause of complaint. Colo. Fry, Lt. Savage &c. have shared the same fate; & Captn. Stobo, Vanbraam & others who have contributed nothing, have had no part of the Lands already survey’d, allowed them, but left to come in at the second distribution, when I dare say the Govr. & Council will measure their justice by the same Rule they observ’d upon the last occasion, if the same causes prevail, as they are left at large, by the Proclamation of 1754 under which we derive our claim, to divide the Land in any manner they think proper.—That Mr. Wagener, or the greatest delinquent of the whole shou’d be now ready & willing to pay up their deficiencies & take a share of the patents, I neither wonder at or doubt; many men have objections to the purchase of Lottery tickets (in which light this Grant of ours, Edition: current; Page: [370] to the most sanguine of us all, has appear’d) that would be fond enough of partaking in the prizes; but let it be asked, would the delinquents have been ready & willing to have paid up their quotas, if the scheme had fallen through? (as it most assuredly would have done if a few had not stood forth in support of the claim) & where will be the answer? It does not need the gift of prophecy to make it; for if the money could not be got whilst there was the chance of a prize, there wou’d be little hopes of receiving it in a case of a Blank.

What kind of Land may be included in the next surveys, I cannot undertake to determine; but should think it hard if the District allow’d us, never yet half explored, shou’d not be able to afford more than 127,000 acres of good land, the quantity now patented. I have rather exceeded the bounds of a letter, by endeavoring to give you some idea of this matter; after which I have only to repeat, that I have no power to redress the complaint, even if I had adjudged it reasonable, which in truth I do not, as I have declared upon this, & shall do upon every other occasion, when call’d upon.—Notwithstanding I am informed,—that you have been pleased to complain of the advantage which Doctr. Craik & I (why not Colo. Fry & Colo. Mercer also) have reaped in a distinct allotment, the reasons of which I endeavor’d, in as clear & distinct a manner as I could to account for; and as far as I was concern’d in the distinction, if it is considered in this light, with openness & candour; with what propriety am I accused then? Did it matter anything, Edition: current; Page: [371] whether Doctr. Craik, Mr. West or Mr. Polson was left out of the large Survey, so far as the general end respecting quantity was answered by it? And if it did not, was there any person better entitled to the indulgence than the Doctor, considered in every point of view? I think not, and admitting that by fixing my Lott in this Survey, & turning others out, the amount of the Claims had corrisponded as nearly as now with the quantity of the Survey; was there any reason for doing of it? if not, why shou’d it have happened?—

I did not on the one hand, pick the Surveys that were assigned me, either from the excellency of the Land, or convenience of situation; If I had, I should have avoided the largest Tract I now have (composing a full moiety of my quantum) as every inch of it, from the Surveyors’ account, is subject to be overflowed—nor did I, on the other, object to the fifty thousand on account of the Land, for if I had my choice of the whole country, I should have fixed in this Survey, but because I thought (after the Land became patented) if any additional trouble was to be encounter’d (from the strange manner of granting it) it might as well fall upon others, as me; as my shoulders had supported the whole weight heretofore; and in as much as I might add without much arrogance, that if it had not been for my unremitted attention to every favorable circumstance, not a singe acre of Land would ever have been obtained.

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George Washington
Washington, George
13 March, 1773
James Wood
Wood, James


Dear Sir,

Herewith you will receive Lord Dunmore’s certificates of my claims (as well in my own right as by purchase from Captain Posey and Mr. Thruston) in the location of which in the government of West Florida I shall rely on your friendship and care.

Unnecessary it is to add that I should choose good land or none at all. But as many things concur to make land valuable, it is impossible for me at this distance, and under my present knowledge of that country, to be explicit in any direction. Suffice it then to observe, generally, that I would greatly prefer the land upon the river, to lands back from it; that I should not like to be in a low morassy country, nor yet in that which is hilly and broken; and that, from the idea I entertain of that country at this time, I should like to be as high up the Mississippi as the navigation is good, having been informed that the lands are better, and the climate more temperate in the northern parts of the government than below.

If I could get the lands equally good in one survey, I should prefer it. If not, then in one or more as circumstances require. Perhaps some locations already made upon the river might for a small consideration be bought; if so, I would rather advance a little money than put with less valuable land. You will please to have the grant surveyed and effectually secured, with such indulgences as those claiming Edition: current; Page: [373] under the proclamation of 1763 are entitled to; and do all and every thing in my behalf which shall to you seem right and proper; the cost of doing which I will pay, and moreover for your faithful discharge of this trust allow you the sum of one hundred pounds Virginia currency on the due execution of it. Wishing you a pleasant tour and safe return to your friends.1

George Washington
Washington, George
30 March, 1773
Mt. Vernon
James Wood
Wood, James


Dear Sir,

I intended to have had a little further conversation with you on the subject of the Florida Lands, but my haste to leave Williamsburg and your dining out the day I did do so, prevented it. I addressed a short letter to you by way of memorandum, and left it with Mr. Southall. I hope you received it; that I may Edition: current; Page: [374] be satisfied you did so, please to advise me, as the governor’s certificates of my claim were inclosed therein.

These certificates will be sufficient authority for the governor of West Florida to warrant the surveys, and if any scruple is entertained of my purchases from Mr. Thruston and Captain Posey, I shall remove it by transmitting their bonds which should have accompanied this letter could I have been assured of its reaching your hands before your departure.

You will readily perceive by the tenor of my last that it is good land, or none, I am now in pursuit of; and that I could wish to have it procured in such a part of the country as from your own observation aided by information, you shall judge most valuable; although in accomplishing of it, I pay a little more. For these reasons it is I avoid particular directions. I shall place a generous confidence in your integrity, having no doubt either of your ability or inclination to serve me. By meeting with Mr. Gist, and others of your old acquaintances you will have it in your power of forming from their accounts a pretty general, and perhaps just idea of the nature of the country; and of determining by your own observations on them whether the lands on the Mississippi, the Mobile, or elsewhere, promise in futuro to become most valuable. Not till after which I would recommend it to you to fix on your locations. Doctor Connolly is curious in his observations and sensible in his remarks. To him, therefore, I have wrote (as he has been pleased to solicit my correspondence) requesting Edition: current; Page: [375] his assistance to you. I have also taken the liberty of writing to the Governor of West Florida expressing my hopes of obtaining this land (and more) in case you should think proper to locate it in that government, agreeable to the tenor of his Majesty’s proclamation; mentioning at the same time your intended tour, and the discretionary power I had vested you with; and as Lord Dunmore promised me that he would give you an introduction to him, I hope you received it.

It would appear to me from the words of his Majesty’s proclamation of October 1763, that those who obtain land under it are not only entitled to an exemption of quit rents for ten years, but exempt also from cultivation and improvement for the same term. Of this latter, however, please to be informed from the best authority, as in the event of it, I should be strongly [inclined] to extend my views beyond the quantity I here claim, especially as the time allowed for doing it is not short and difficult to be complied with. This, therefore, is a matter I would beg leave to refer to your consideration; requesting in case you find the country from a comparative view of it desirable, good lands easy to be obtained, and not difficult to keep under the established rules of government, that you would increase my quantity to fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five thousand acres. In short I could wish to have as much good land located in a body or contiguous together (for the convenience of the superintendence) as I could save without much difficulty or expence, even if the first ten thousand Edition: current; Page: [376] should be subject to the same laws of cultivation with the last.

Various are the reports concerning the quit rents and purchase money of these lands; but it appears evident to me from the strict sense and letter of the Proclamation, that the governor has no right to exact more than is demanded in Virginia or any other of his Majesty’s colonies, in none of which, I believe, nore than two shillings sterling rent, and ten shillings right money, are required. * * *

George Washington
Washington, George
3 April, 1773
Mount Vernon,
Benedict Calvert
Calvert, Benedict


Dear Sir,

I am now set down to write to you on a subject of importance, and of no small embarrassment to me. My son-in-law and ward, Mr. Custis, has, as I have been informed, paid his addresses to your second daughter, and, having made some progress in her affections, has solicited her in marriage. How far a union of this sort may be agreeable to you, you best can tell; but I should think myself wanting in candor, were I not to confess, that Miss Nellie’s amiable qualities are acknowledged on all hands, and that an alliance with your family will be pleasing to his.

This acknowledgment being made, you must permit me to add, Sir, that at this, or in any short time, his youth, inexperience, and unripened education, are, and will be, insuperable obstacles, in my opinion, to the completion of the marriage. As his guardian, Edition: current; Page: [377] I conceive it my indispensable duty to endeavor to carry him through a regular course of education (many branches of which, I am sorry to add, he is totally deficient in), and to guard his youth to a more advanced age before an event, on which his own peace and the happiness of another are to depend, takes place. Not that I have any doubt of the warmth of his affections, nor, I hope I may add, any fears of a change in them; but at present I do not conceive that he is capable of bestowing that attention to the important consequences of the married state, which is necessary to be given by those, who are about to enter into it, and of course I am unwilling he should do it till he is. If the affection, which they have avowed for each other, is fixed upon a solid basis, it will receive no diminution in the course of two or three years, in which time he may prosecute his studies, and thereby render himself more deserving of the lady and useful to society. If, unfortunately, as they are both young, there should be an abatement of affection on either side, or both, it had better precede than follow marriage.

Delivering my sentiments thus freely will not, I hope, lead you into a belief, that I am desirous of breaking off the match. To postpone it is all I have in view; for I shall recommend to the young gentleman, with the warmth that becomes a man of honor, (notwithstanding he did not vouchsafe to consult either his mother or me on the occasion,) to consider himself as much engaged to your daughter, as if the indissoluble knot were tied; and, as the surest means Edition: current; Page: [378] of effecting this, to apply himself closely to his studies, (and in this advice I flatter myself you will join me,) by which he will, in a great measure, avoid those little flirtations with other young ladies, that may, by dividing the attention, contribute not a little to divide the affection.

It may be expected of me, perhaps, to say something of property; but, to descend to particulars, at this time, must seem rather premature. In general, therefore, I shall inform you, that Mr. Custis’s estate consists of about fifteen thousand acres of land, a good part of it adjoining the city of Williamsburg, and none of it forty miles from that place; several lots in the said city; between two and three hundred negroes; and about eight or ten thousand pounds upon bond, and in the hands of his merchants. This estate he now holds independent of his mother’s dower, which will be an addition to it at her death; and, upon the whole, it is such an estate as you will readily acknowledge ought to entitle him to a handsome portion with a wife. But as I should never require a child of my own to make a sacrifice of himself to interest, so neither do I think it incumbent on me to recommend it as a guardian.

At all times when you, Mrs. Calvert, or the young ladies, can make it convenient to favor us with a visit, we should be happy in seeing you at this place. Mrs. Washington and Miss Custis join me in respectful compliments, and

I am, dear Sir, your most obedient servant.

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George Washington
Washington, George
13 April, 1773
Mount Vernon,
Lord Dunmore
Lord Dunmore


My Lord,

In obedience to your Lordship’s request, I do myself the honor to inform you, that, by letters this day received from Dr. Cooper of King’s College in New York, I find it will be about the first of next month before I shall set off for that place, and that it will perhaps be the middle of June before I return. Harvest then coming on, and seldom ending till after the middle of July, I could almost wish to see it accomplished; but if the delay in doing it is attended with any kind of inconvenience to your Lordship, I will, at all events, be ready by the first of July to accompany you through any and every part of the western country, which you may think proper to visit.

I beg the favor of your Lordship to inform me, therefore, as nearly as you can, of the precise time you will do me the honor of calling here, that I may get ready accordingly, and give notice of it to Mr. Crawford (if your Lordship purposes to take the route of Pittsburg), whom I took the liberty of recommending as a good woods-man, and well acquainted with the lands in that quarter, that he may be disengaged when we get to his house, which is directly on that communication. I am persuaded, that such a person will be found very necessary in an excursion of this sort, from his superior knowledge of the country, and of the inhabitants, who are thinly scattered over it.

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No person can be better acquainted with the equipage and simple conveniences necessary in an undertaking of this sort, than your Lordship, and, therefore, it would be impertinent in me to mention them; but if your Lordship should find it convenient to have any thing provided in this part of the country, and will please to honor me with your commands, they shall be punctually obeyed. As, also, if your Lordship chooses to have an Indian engaged, I will write to Colonel Croghan, Deputy Indian Agent, who lives near Pittsburg, to have one provided.

The design of my journey to New York is to take my son-in-law, Mr. Custis, to King’s College. If your Lordship, therefore, has any letters or commands, either to that place or Philadelphia, I shall think myself honored in being the bearer of them, as well as benefited by means of the introduction. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
25 April, 1773
Mount Vernon,
Colonel Bassett
Colonel Bassett


Dear Sir:

The interruption of the post for several weeks, prevented our receiving the melancholy account of your loss until within these few days. That we sympathize in the misfortune, and lament the decree which has deprived you of so dutiful a child, and the world of so promising a young lady, stands in no need, I hope, of argument to prove; but the ways of Providence being inscrutable, and the justice of it not to be scanned by the shallow eye of humanity, Edition: current; Page: [381] nor to be counteracted by the utmost efforts of human power or wisdom, resignation, and as far as the strength of our reason and religion can carry us, a cheerful acquiescence to the Divine Will, is what we are to aim; and I am persuaded that your own good sense will arm you with fortitude to withstand the stroke, great as it is, and enable you to console Mrs. Bassett, whose loss and feelings are much to be pitied.

By letters from Doct’r Cooper, President of the College in New York, my departure for that place is now fixed to about the 8th of May, which puts it out of my power to attend the meeting in Williamsburg this Court. I have therefore by Mr. Henderson inclosed several letters to and drafts upon different people for money, to Col. Fielding Lewis, who wrote me that he should be in Williamsburg; but if sickness, or any other unforeseen accident should prevent his attendance, I should take it very kind of you to ask for and open my letter to him and comply with the contents in respect to the receiving and paying of money.

Mrs. Washington, in her letter to Mrs. Bassett, informs her of Jack Custis’s engagement with Nelly Calvert, second daughter of Benedict Calvert, Esq., of Maryland. I shall say nothing further therefore on the subject than that I could have wished he had postponed entering into that engagement till his studies were finished. Not that I have any objection to the match, as she is a girl of exceeding good character; but because I fear, as he has discovered much Edition: current; Page: [382] fickleness already, that he may either change, and therefore injure the young lady; or that it may precipitate him into a marriage before, I am certain, he has ever bestowed a serious thought of the consequences; by which means his education is interrupted and he perhaps wishing to be at liberty again before he is fairly embarked on those important duties.

My sincere good wishes attend Mrs. Bassett and ye family.


May 10. I set out on my journey to New York, lodged at Mr Calvert’s.

11. Breakfasted at Mr. Igns. Digges. Dined at the Coffee House in Annapolis, and lodged at the Governor’s.

12. Dined, supped, and lodged at the Governor’s.

13. After breakfast, and about 8 o’clock, set out for Rockhall, where we arrived in two hours and 25 minutes. Dined on board the Annapolis, at Chestertown, and supped and lodged at Mr. Ringgold’s.

14. Stop’d at Georgetown on Sassafras, and dined and lodged at Mr. Dl. Heath’s.

15. Dined at Newcastle and lodged at Wilmington.

16. Breakfasted at Chester and dined at Govr. Penn’s in Philadelphia.

17. Dined again at Govr. Penn’s and spent the evening at the Jockey Club.

18. Dined with several gentlement at our own lodgings, and went to the Assembly in the evening.

19. Dined at the Governor’s, and spent the evening at Mr. Allan’s.

20. Dined with Mr. Cadwallader, and went to the Ball.

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21. Dined with Mr. Meredeth, and spent the evening at Mr. Mease’s.

22. Dined at Mr. Morris’s, and spent the evening at the Club.

23. Set out for New York with Lord Sterling, Majr. Bayard, and Mr. Custis, after breakfasting with Govr. Penn. Dined with Govr. Franklin at Burlington, and lodged at Trenton.

24. Breakfasted at Princeton; dined at Bound Brook, and reached Lord Sterling’s at Baskin’s Ridge in the afternoon.

25. Dined and lodged at Lord Sterling’s, drank tea at Mr. Kimble’s.

26. Dined at Elizabeth Town, and reached New York in the evening, which I spent at Hull’s Tavern. Lodged at a Mr Farmer’s.

27. Dined at the entertainment given by the citizens of New York to Gen’l Gage.

28. Dined with Mr. James Delancey, and went to the play and Hull’s Tavern in the evening.

29. Dined with Majr. Bayard and spent the evening with the Old Club at Hull’s.

30. Dined with Gen’l Gage, and spent the evening in my own room, writing.1

31. Set out on my return home. Dined with Captn. Kennedy near New Ark, and lodged at Amboy.

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June 1. Breakfasted at Brunswick on the banks of the Princeton; dined at Princeton and lodged at Bristol.

2. Got to Philadelphia by nine o’clock to my old lodging. Dined at my lodgings and spent ye evening there.

3. Rid to the Meadows along the River before breakfast. About 11 o’clock left Phila.; dined at the Sorrel House, 13 miles from it, and lodged at the Ship Tavern, 34 off.

4. Breakfasted at the Sign of the Bull, 13 miles from ye Ship; dined at Lancaster, 19 miles further, and lodged at Wright’s Ferry, 10 miles from Lancaster.

5. Breakfasted in York Town. Dined at the Sign of the Buck, 14 miles from York, which is 12 miles from Wright’s Ferry, and lodged at Suttons, 15 miles from the Buck.

6. Breakfasted at Slades, 10 miles from Suttons, and dined and lodged at Baltimore Town.

7. Breakfasted at the Widow Ramsay’s, 15 miles from Baltimore, and lodged at Mr. Calvert’s.

8. Reach’d home to dinner, about 2 o’clock.

* * * * * *

George Washington
Washington, George
20th June, 1773
Mount Vernon,
Colonel Bassett
Colonel Bassett


Dear Sir,

It is an easier matter to conceive, than to describe the distress of this Family; especially that of the unhappy Parent of our Dear Patsy Custis, when I inform you that yesterday removed the Sweet Innocent Girl Entered into a more happy & peaceful Edition: current; Page: [385] abode than any she has met with in the afflicted Path she hitherto has trod.1

She rose from Dinner about four o’clock in better health and spirits than she appeared to have been in for some time; soon after which she was seized with one of her usual Fits, & expired in it, in less than two minutes without uttering a word, a groan, or scarce a sigh.—This sudden, and unexpected blow, I scarce need add has almost reduced my poor Wife to the lowest ebb of Misery; which is encreas’d by the absence of her son, (whom I have just fixed at the College in New York from whence I returned the 8th Inst) and want of the balmy consolation of her Relations; which leads me more than ever to wish she could see them, and that I was Master of Arguments powerful enough to prevail upon Mrs. Dandridge to make this place her entire & absolute home. I should think as she lives a lonesome life (Betsey being married) it might suit her well, & be agreeable, both to herself & my Wife, to me most assuredly it would.

I do not purpose to add more at present, the end of my writing being only to inform you of this unhappy change.—

Our Sincere Affections are offered to Mrs. Bassett, Mrs. Dandridge, & all other Friends, & I am very sincerely

Edition: current; Page: [386]


THE Subscriber having obtained Patents for upwards of TWENTY THOUSAND Acres of LAND on the Ohio and Great Kanhawa (Ten Thousand of which are situated on the banks of the first-mentioned river, between the mouths of the two Kanhawas, and the remainder on the Great Kanhawa, or New River, from the mouth, or near it, upwards, in one continued survey) proposes to divide the same into any sized tenements that may be desired, and lease them upon moderate terms, allowing a reasonable number of years rent free, provided, within the space of two years from next October, three acres for every fifty contained in each lot, and proportionably for a lesser quantity, shall be cleared, fenced, and tilled; and that, by or before the time limited for the commencement of the first rent, five acres for every hundred, and proportionably, as above, shall be enclosed and laid down in good grass for meadow; and moreover, that at least fifty good fruit trees for every like quantity of land shall be planted on the Premises. Any persons inclinable to settle on these lands may be more fully informed of the terms by applying to the subscriber, near Alexandria, or in his absence, to Mr. LUND WASHINGTON; and would do well in communicating their intentions before the 1st of October next, in order that a sufficient number of lots may be laid off to answer the demand.

As these lands are among the first which have been surveyed in the part of the country they lie in, it is almost needless to premise that none can exceed them in luxuriance of soil, or convenience of situation, all of them lying upon the banks either of the Ohio or Kanhawa, and abounding with fine fish and wild fowl of various kinds, as also in most excellent meadows, many of which (by the bountiful hand of nature) are, in their present state, almost fit for the scythe. From every part of these lands water carriage is now had to Fort Pitt, by an easy communication; and from Fort Pitt up the Monongahela, to Redstone, vessels of convenient Edition: current; Page: [387] burthen, may and do pass continually; from whence, by means of Cheat River, and other navigable branches of the Monongahela it is thought the portage to Potowmack may, and will, be reduced within the compass of a few miles, to the great ease and convenience of the settlers in transporting the produce of their lands to market. To which may be added, that as patents have now actually passed the seals for the several tracts here offered to be leased, settlers on them may cultivate and enjoy the lands in peace and safety, notwithstanding the unsettled counsels respecting a new colony on the Ohio; and as no right money is to be paid for these lands, and quitrent of two shillings sterling a hundred, demandable some years hence only, it is highly presumable that they will always be held upon a more desirable footing than where both these are laid on with a very heavy hand. And it may not be amiss further to observe, that if the scheme for establishing a new government on the Ohio, in the manner talked of, should ever be effected, these must be among the most valuable lands in it, not only on account of the goodness of soil, and the other advantages above enumerated, but from their contiguity to the seat of government, which more than probable will be fixed at the mouth of the Great Kanhawa.

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George Washington
Washington, George
25 September, 1773
Mount Vernon,
Willliam Crawford
Crawford, Willliam


Dear Sir,

I have heard, (the truth of which, if you saw Lord Dunmore in his way to or from Pittsburg you possibly are better acquainted with than I am,) that his Lordship will grant patents for lands lying below the Scioto, to the officers and soldiers, who claim under the proclamation of October, 1763. If so, I think no time should be lost in having them surveyed, lest some new revolution should happen in our political system. I have, therefore, by this conveyance, written to Captain Bullet, to desire he will have ten thousand acres surveyed for me; five thousand of Edition: current; Page: [389] which I am entitled to in my own right, the other five thousand by purchase from a captain and lieutenant.

I have desired him to get this quantity of land in one tract, if to be had of the first quality; if not, then in two, or even in three, agreeably to the several rights under which I hold, rather than survey bad land for me, or even that which is middling. I have also desired him to get it as near the mouth of the Scioto, that is, to the western bounds of the new colony as may be; but for the sake of better lands, I would go quite down to the Falls, or even below, meaning thereby to get richer and wider bottoms, as it is my desire to have my lands run out upon the banks of the Ohio. If you should go down the river this fall, in order to look out your own quantity under the proclamation, I shall be much obliged to you for your assistance to Captain Bullet, in getting these ten thousand acres for me, of the most valuable land you can, and I will endeavor to make you ample amends for your trouble; but I by no means wish or desire you to go down on my account, unless you find it expedient on your own. Of this I have written to Captain Bullet, under cover to you, desiring, if you should be with him, that he will ask your assistance.

As I have understood that Captain Thompson (by what authority I know not) has been surveying a good deal of land for the Pennsylvania officers, and that Dr. Connolly has a promise from our Governor of two thousand acres at the Falls, I have desired Edition: current; Page: [390] Captain Bullet by no means to involve me in disputes with any person, who has an equal claim to land with myself, under the proclamation of 1763. As to the pretensions of other people, it is not very essential; as I am told that the Governor has declared he will grant patents to none but the officers and soldiers, who are comprehended within the proclamation aforementioned; but even of these claims, if I could get lands equally as good, as convenient, and as valuable in every respect, elsewhere, I should choose to steer clear.1

Old David Wilper, who was an officer in our regiment, and has been with Bullet running out land for himself and others, tells me, that they have already discovered salt springs in that country, three of Edition: current; Page: [391] which Captain Thompson has included within some surveys he has made; and the other, an exceedingly valuable one, upon the River Kentucky, is in some kind of dispute. I wish I could establish one of my surveys there; I would immediately turn it to an extensive public benefit, as well as private advantage. However, as four are already discovered, it is more than probable there are many others, and if you could come at the knowledge of them by means of the Indians or otherwise, I would join you in taking them up in the name or names of some persons, who have a right under the proclamation, and whose right we can be sure of buying, as it seems there is no other method of having lands granted; but this should be done with a good deal of circumspection and caution, till patents are obtained.

I did not choose to forego the opportunity of writing to you by the gentlemen, who are going to divide their land at the mouth of the great Kenhawa, though I could wish to have delayed it till I could hear from the Governor, to whom I have written, to know certainly whether he will grant patents for the land which Captain Bullet is surveying, that one may proceed with safety; as also whether a discretionary power, which I had given Mr. Wood to select my land in West Florida, under an information, even from his Lordship himself, that lands could not be had here, would be any bar to my surveying on the Ohio; especially as I have heard since Mr. Wood’s departure, that all the lands on that part of the Mississippi, to which he was restricted by me, are already Edition: current; Page: [392] engaged by the emigrants, who have resorted to that country. Should I, however, receive any discouraging account from his Lordship on these heads, I shall embrace the first opportunity that offers afterwards to acquaint you with it.

By Mr. Lëet I informed you of the unhappy cause, which prevented my going out this fall. But I hope nothing will prevent my seeing you in that country in the spring. The precise time, as yet, it is not in my power to fix; but I should be glad if you would let me know how soon it may be attended with safety, ease, and comfort, after which I will fix upon a time to be at your house.

I am in the mean while, with sincere good wishes for you, Mrs. Crawford, and family, your friend, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
26th Septemr 1773
Mount Vernon,
Michael Cresap
Cresap, Michael



In my passage down the Ohio in the Fall of the year 1770, I made choice of a piece of Land, being the first bottom on the So East side the river above Capteening, as also a little above a place where the effects of a hurricane appear among the Trees, and opposite to a Creek on the other side near the upper end of the bottom, call’d Pipe Creek.1 The next Spring, when Capt: Crawford went down the Ohio to survey, I desired him to run out this Land for me, which he accordingly did, & returned me the Plat of Edition: current; Page: [393] it, as you may see by the inclosed copy; intending as soon as a Patent could be obtained, to apply for me. The summer following, hearing that Doctor Brisco had taken possession of this bottom, (altho’ inform’d of my claim to it) I wrote him a letter, of which the inclos’d is a copy.—And within these few days I have heard (the truth of which I know not) that you, upon the Doctor’s quitting of it, have also taken possession of it. If this information be true, I own I can conceive no reason why you or any other person should attempt to disturb me in my claim to this Land, as I have not, to my knowledge, injur’d or attempted to injure, any other man in his pretensions to Land in that country; it is a little hard, therefore upon me that I cannot be allowed to hold this bottom (which is but a small one) in peace and quietness, ’till a legal right can be obtained, which I always have been and still am ready to pay for, as soon as I know to what office to apply.—I would feign hope that my information respecting your taking possession of this Land, is without foundation; as I should be sorry to enter into a litigation of this matter with you or any other Gentleman; but as I conceiv’d that I had as good a right to make choice of this bottom, as any other person has; as I am sure that I am the first that did so, and have had it survey’d so as to ascertain the bounds, upwards of two years ago, I am resolved not to relinquish my claim to it.—But if you have made any Improvements thereon not knowing of my claim, I will very readily pay you the full value thereof being, etc.

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George Washington
Washington, George
10 October, 1773
Mount Vernon,
John Armstrong
Armstrong, John


Dear Sir,

Upon my return home from the Annapolis races (from whence I wrote you, committing the letter to the care of Capt. McGachen of Baltimore Town, who assured me it should be forwarded the week after,) I received a letter from Lord Dunmore, our Governor, containing the following paragraph, which I enclose for your information, agreeable to my promise.

“I last post received yours of the 12th inst.1 (that is September) wherein you beg to be informed whether I propose granting patents to such officers and soldiers as claim under his Majesty’s proclamation in 8ber 1763. I do not mean to grant any patents on the Western waters, as I do not think I am at present impowered so to do. I did indeed tell a poor old German lieutenant who was with me,2 and informed me he was very poor and had ten children, that I possibly might grant him a patent contiguous to that which he had under Mr. Dinwiddie’s proclamation, which, I suppose, is what may have given rise to the report you have heard.”

I was suspicious, as I think I wrote you in my last, that the report of Lord Dunmore’s granting patents was rather premature; for after declaring to the officers of his own government that he did not conceive himself at liberty to issue patents for lands on the Western Waters, I could scarce think he would change his opinion without giving them some intimation of it, either in a publick or private manner; and yet there are some words in his letter (which I have Edition: current; Page: [395] marked) which seem to imply an expectation at least of doing it. It remains therefore to be considered, whether the officers claiming under his Majesty’s proclamation of 1763 have a better chance of securing their lands elsewhere; and if they have not, whether the known equity of their claims, the prevailing opinion that Bullet is proceeding by authority in the surveys he is now making, and the united endeavors of the officers to obtain patents for the lands actually surveyed, may not discourage other emigrants from settling thereon; and, in the end, induce government to comply with their just requisitions by fulfilling its own voluntary promises. I own it is a kind of lottery, and whether the chance of a prize is not worth the expense of a survey, is the point in question. As subjects and individuals of the community at large, we are at least upon a par with those who are occupying the country; but whether any of these pleas, under the present discouragements of government, will avail anything, is a mere matter of speculation, on which every person must exercise his own powers of reflection.

George Washington
Washington, George
2 November, 1773
Lord Dunmore
Lord Dunmore


My Lord,

Urged by repeated applications from a number of officers, whom I have had the honor to command in the service of this colony, I take the liberty of addressing your Excellency on the subject of the lands, Edition: current; Page: [396] which the gentlemen conceive themselves entitled to under his Majesty’s bounty of October, 1763.

The exception in favor of the officers and soldiers, contained in his Majesty’s order in Council,1 of the 6th of April last, they humbly conceive is so strong an implication of your Lordship’s right to grant them these lands, as to remove every restraint you were under before; and as there are no waste lands to be had in this colony, but such as lie upon the western waters, they humbly pray for leave to survey on the river Ohio, and its waters, below the mouth of Scioto (the western boundary of the new colony, should it ever take place), apprehending that your Excellency has an undoubted right to grant patents for these lands, since they have ever been considered as appertaining to Virginia, warranted, as they have been informed, by the Colony Charter, and sold by the Six Nations at the treaty of Fort Stanwix, in 1768. Nor is the right thereto, it is humbly presumed, by any means diminished by the nominal line, commonly called the Ministerial Line; since that transaction seems to have been considered by government as a temporary expedient, at the instigation of the Indian Agent, to satisfy the southern Indians, who, as it is said, have disclaimed any right to the very lands in contest; and no further regard has been paid to it by the ministers themselves.

The officers of the Virginia troops, impressed with these sentiments, and having undoubted reason to Edition: current; Page: [397] believe, that there is no other chance left them to obtain their lands, but on the Ohio, and knowing at the same time, that the officers of Pennsylvania, under a belief that these lands appertain to Virginia, and that patents will be granted for them, have surveyed two hundred thousand acres,—would fain hope, that they may be allowed to proceed by authority to make their surveys also, anywhere upon the Ohio, or its waters, below the Scioto; humbly representing to your Lordship, that a delay in this case is, in effect, equal to a refusal, as the country is becoming spread over with emigrants, and experience has convinced all those, who have had occasion to attend to the matter, that these people when once fixed are not to be dispossessed, were it politic to attempt it.

The officers have an entire confidence in your Lordship’s disposition to promote their just rights. They have no other dependence, and they hope to be put on an equal footing with those other officers, whose pretensions are not better founded than their own.

The part I take in bringing this matter to a hearing will, I hope, meet with your Lordship’s excuse, as I am, with the greatest respect, my Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient and most humble servant.1

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George Washington
Washington, George
17th Jan’y—1774
Mount Vernon,
William Black
Black, William



I was not a little surprized when informed by your own letter, as well as from Mr. Hill’s, of Mrs. Black’s having refused to acknowledge her right of Dower in the Lands I bought of you. Did you not repeatedly assure me, that she was ready at all times, to relinquish her right? and did she not signify as much to me herself, as I brought her from Williamsburg to Colo. Bassett’s? From whence then does this sudden change proceed? Is it because I placed more confidence than I ought, & to make things agreeable to you, & convenient to your creditors, paid the money in Williamsburg, when I was not obliged to do it ’till the Title was effectually secured, & had ’till the 25th of Decr to do this in? A generous mind would recoil at such a thought: & yet what other construction can I put upon this change. You say “I tell her she only wants the customary compliment” for my own part, I know of no compliment established by Custom: I have bought many pieces of Edition: current; Page: [399] Land before these, and never had a demand of the kind; nor can I harbor so unfavorable an opinion of Mrs. Black, as to think she is influenced by so low and pitiful a consideration; however, if I misjudge the matter, and the custom is, as you say, you must have comply’d with it yourself; whatever, therefore, you have given to others, for these very Lands, I will (tho’ I think myself under no obligation to do it) give to Mrs. Black, which will remove that objection.—But if I was surprized at this refusal of Mrs. Black’s, how much more so ought I to be, at your attempting, according to Mr. Hill’s account, to withhold the Mills, which is solely an act of your own? Under what pretext is this done? Do you not remember, that by our agreement you were to deliver possession of the plantations, Mills, and every thing thereunto belonging, immediately after the 25th of Decemr; & that you are bound to do this in a Bond of £11,000—? But this bond you tell me must be given up to you, before you can surrender possession of the premises, when one of the express conditions of it, is to enforce a compliance: Is not your request, therefore, a very reasonable & proper one? To convince you that it is so, I enclose you a copy of the Bond (as you certainly have forgot it) accompanied with this assurance, that I shall hold fast the Original, till you have complyed with the conditions of it; after which, as it is not intended, nor can have any further operation, it is a matter of moonshine in whose hands it is lodged, or what becomes of it.

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Thus much respecting the Dower & Detainer in general, I shall observe further to you, that though it never was my intention or desire, to hasten Mrs. Black out of the House, whilst the weather continued unfavorable, yet, when you applyed for this & some other indulgences, did I not always tell you, that I thought myself under no obligation to enter into a second contract on this head? And did I not moreover refuse to sign an instrument of writing which you had drawn, declaratory of your wants because I chose to be govern’d by circumstances, & the future conduct of your people; not that I had any objection, (as I dare say I might tell you) to your Negroes staying on the plantations to finish your crops, & take care of your stock, provided there was room for my people, & yours behaved themselves well, neither disturbing of us in our operations, nor committing of waste; so in like manner respecting the vessell,—but these being apply’d for as matters of indulgence, after you had enter’d into a Solemn contract to deliver up the whole, on or before the 25th of December, whence comes it, that, after having fulfilled every tittle of the contract on my part, you should conceive yourself at liberty to withhold the Mills, & talk of not delivering up possession, ’till I should first surrender a Bond, wh’ch is the only security I have for your doing of it, and for indemnifying me against Mrs. Black’s claim; after I have paid every farthing of the purchase money.—

Is there honor, justice or equity in such kind of proceedings? No, Sir, there is not, & to cut the Edition: current; Page: [401] matter short, I have directed Mr. Hill to wait upon you, & before evidences to demand immediate possession of the two Mills,—to view & note down, before the same evidences, the order & condition of the houses, &c., occupied by you and your people,—to require you to hasten the finishing of your crops, that all your people, except such as are necessary for the care of your stock may be transported—and lastly, that you may remove yourself & Family, as soon as the weather will permit Mrs. Black to go with convenience, that my people may have the free & uninterrupted management of the whole purchased premises.—And to this, I have to add by way of hint to you, that, whatever accident or damage comes to the Mills, Mill-Dams, or any house, houses, or other things in your occupation; I shall look to you for full & ample reparation for the same; as I also do, for the profits of the Mill, till surrender’d, which can easily be ascertained by your own advertisements.—It was far from my expectation, & much further from my desire, to enter into a litigation of those points, but I shall conceive it a duty incumbent on me to assert a just right; and to see that the bargain which we have made, is reciprocally complied with.—

I do not incline to take any part of your household furniture;—the fixtures appurtaining to the houses, I expect will remain entire.—but if Mr. Hill should choose (I do not know that he does) to take any part, or all of your Stocks, & you & he can agree upon the terms, he has my consent:—but as to the negro Miller & wife, I shall not interfere in the Edition: current; Page: [402] purchase of them, for if Mr. Hill should like the Negroes & price, I suppose he will buy them; but if he does not, he would be to blame to do it.

P. S. The Bond from Col: Byrd’s Trustees to me, I have by this opportunity sent to Mr. Wythe, from whom you can get it, so soon as he thinks it ought to be given up:—the other may also be surrender’d, so soon as you have comply’d with the conditions of it.

George Washington
Washington, George
12 Feby. 1774
Mount Vernon,
Colonel Bassett
Colonel Bassett


Dear Sir,

I find there will go some matters from this country, which will make my attendance at the Assembly necessary; this I cannot possibly do and go over the Mountains this Spring. I have therefore determined, much against my Inclination & Interest, to postpone my Trip to the Ohio till after Harvest (as I cannot well be absent from home at that Season.) As March therefore (at least the first of it) is a disagreeable Season to travel our Roads In, and as I am obliged [illegible] to run land about the 20th of the month of March, and from thence proceed into Frederick and Berkeley I hope it will be agreeable and convenient to Mrs. Bassett and you to give us the pleasure of seeing you here after that time; the Roads and Weather will be then good: our Fisheries will be then come on, and I think you will have more satisfaction than in an earlier visit.

The Letter herewith Inclosed for Mr. Dandridge Edition: current; Page: [403] contains Black’s Bond which Mr. Wythe has advised me to lodge in some safe hands to be tendered to that pritty Gentleman upon his complying with the Conditions of it. As the care of it is a thing of the utmost Importance, I should be obliged to you (if Captn. Crawford should not go to Mr. Dandridge’s himself) to send the letter by Abram, or some careful Person, least the Bond should get lost.

As I am very much hurried just now, by business of different kinds, and as I presume my Wife has informed Mrs. Bassett of Jack’s Marriage, and all the other little occurrences she can think of, I shall only request you to make my affecte. Complements to her, and the rest of the Family, and believe me to be with great truth.1

George Washington
Washington, George
22 February, 1774
Mount Vernon,
Henry Riddell
Riddell, Henry



Mr. Young, hearing me express a desire of importing Palatines to settle on my lands on the Ohio, tells Edition: current; Page: [404] me, that, in discoursing of this matter in your company, you suggested an expedient, which might probably be attended with success; and that if I inclined to adopt it, you wished to be informed before the sailing of your ship.

The desire of seating and improving my lands on the Ohio, is founded on interested as well as political views. But the intention of importing Palatines for the purpose was more the effect of sudden thought, than mature consideration, because I am totally unacquainted with the manner, as well as the expense of doing it; and I was led into the notion principally from a report of either this or some other ship of yours being blamed, for not taking an offered freight of these Germans at forty shillings sterling. I was thus induced to think if this charge was not much accumulated by other expenses, that I could fall on no better expedient to settle my lands with industrious people, than by such an importation.

The terms upon which I have thought of importing Palatines, or people from Ireland, or Scotland, are these; to import them at my expense, where they are unable to transport themselves, into the Potomac River, and from hence to the Ohio; to have them, in the first case, engaged to me under indenture; in the second, by some other contract equally valid, to become tenants upon the terms hereafter mentioned; as without these securities, I would not encounter the expense, trouble, and hazard of such an importation.

But to make matters as easy and agreeable as possible to these emigrants, I will engage, on my part, Edition: current; Page: [405] that the indentures shall be considered in no other light, than as a security for reimbursing to me every expense I am under, with interest, in importing them, removing them to the land, and supporting them there, till they can raise a crop for their own subsistence; giving up the said indentures, and considering them altogether as freemen and tenants, so soon as this shall happen; not to each person or family respectively, but when the whole accumulated expense shall be discharged; as I must, for my own safety, consider them as jointly bound for this payment, till the expiration of the indented terms, otherwise I must be an inevitable loser by every death or other accident; whilst they cannot, in the worst light, be considered as more than servants at large during the indented term. I can also engage to set them down upon as good land as any in that country; and, where there is neither house built, nor land cleared, I will allow them an exemption of rent four years; and, where there is a house erected, and five acres of land cleared and fit for cultivation, two years.

They shall have the land upon lease for twenty-one years, under the usual covenants; and also at an annual rent, after the first becomes due, of four pounds sterling for each hundred acres, allowing each family to take more or less, as inclination and convenience may prompt. And I will, moreover, engage to renew the leases at the expiration of the above twenty-one years; and, in like manner, at the end of every seven years afterwards, upon an increased rent, to be agreed on between the landlord and tenant; or, in Edition: current; Page: [406] order to fix the matter absolutely, if this should be more agreeable, the rent may be increased at these periods in proportion to the increased value of that, or the adjoining lands possessed of equal advantages of soil and situation.

These are the terms on which I thought to import and plant people on my Ohio lands, which are, for the quantity, equal if not superior to any in that country; situate altogether upon the Ohio, or Great Kenhawa, two fine inland navigable rivers, abounding in fish and wild fowl of all sorts, as the lands do in wild meats of the best kind.

From Alexandria to the navigable waters of the Ohio, along a much frequented road used by wagons, is, according to the computed distance, two hundred miles. This land-carriage, if the inland navigation of the Potomac should be effected, than which I think nothing easier, will be reduced to sixty miles as matters now stand; some say to forty, and others to twenty. But call it the greatest distance, any commodity made upon any part of these lands of mine may be transported along a very easy water-communication to the settlement of Red-stone, where the land-carriage at this time begins. To say nothing, therefore, of the advantages of raising stock of all kinds, and horses, which will carry themselves to market, and are now and will, from the nature of things, continue to be in great demand in the interior parts of this great continent, hemp, flax, pot-ashes, indigo, and the like, will well afford the expense of this land-carriage, admitting it never may be reduced. Edition: current; Page: [407] and can be cultivated to advantage on the river bottoms in that country.

Having thus exhibited a general view of my design, I shall now be obliged to you, Sir, to inform me with as much precision as you can, what certainty there is that your ship will go to Holland; what probability there is of her getting Palatines, if she does go; when they may be expected in this country; what would be the freight; and, as near as you can judge, the whole incidental expense attending each person delivered at Alexandria; and, moreover, whether it would be expected, that the whole of these charges, including freight, should be paid down immediately on the arrival of the ship here, as it must appear rather hard to make a certain provision for an uncertain event.

It may not be amiss further to observe, that I see no prospect of these people being restrained in the smallest degree, either in their civil or religious principles; which I take notice of, because these are privileges, which mankind are solicitous to enjoy, and upon which emigrants must be anxious to be informed.

I wrote to Philadelphia by the last post for full information of the manner and charge of importing these people from Holland1; and, if your account in answer to this letter should prove agreeable to my Edition: current; Page: [408] wishes, I will send a more particular description of the lands, which I wish to settle, as well as copies of the plots, and do any other matter which may be judged necessary to further the design. I am, &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
5th May, 1774
Mount Vernon,
Thomas Lewis
Lewis, Thomas



Your letter of the 31st of March did not come to my hands ’till the latter end of last month; and no direct opportunity that I have heard of, has offered since, this letter taking the chance of conveyance from place to place only.—

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Immediately upon the receipt of your favor by Mr. Young, I despatched a letter to Capt. Crawford (covering yours to him) pointing out the necessity of his attempting to qualify as your Deputy, at your Court for April. Before this I did not urge him (as he appeared anxious to return home) to take that rout, for two reasons:—in the first place I did not advert to the necessity of this qualification; in the next place ’till your letter arrived (which was after he was gone) I did not know whether you would accept of him as an assistant or not.—At the same time I wrote to him, I forwarded Letters under his cover, (in order to be deliver’d by him, to Mr. Madison, Mr. Jones and Capt. Hog, requesting the favor of each to facilitate his business if he came in on this errand; but what has been the result of all this I know not, never having heard a syllable from him since.—

I come now to take notice of what you have said in respect to Mr. Michael Cresap, whose claim to the round bottom and other Lands along the banks of the Ohio (for as I am credibly informed) thirty miles, is equally well founded; and founded upon no other right, or pretence than that of claiming, every good bottom upon the river; building a cabbin thereon to keep off others, and then selling them, and going on to possess other Lands in the same manner.—This if common report tells truth, is the foundation of Mr. Cresap’s claim to the round bottom; set up long after I had made choice of it, and had had it survey’d as a stage, or Lodgment between Fort Pitt, & my Lands on the Great Kenhawa:—it is true, as this Edition: current; Page: [410] is esteem’d a valuable bottom, he may have taken more pains in the improvement of it, than of the others; but his choice, or even knowledge of it, was long after I had had it survey’d.

This being the amount of his claim, I will now give you the substance of mine, which cannot be better done, than by informing you, that in the fall of the year 1770, when I went to view the Lands, which have been since surveyed under the Proclamation of 1754, I made choice of this spot of Land (called the round bottom) marked Trees, & directed Captn. Crawford, when he went down the spring following to survey it, which he accordingly did, as may appear by his certificate inclosed you by Mr. Young. Sometime after this, hearing that Doctor Brisco had taken possession of it, & actually had or was going to fix Negroes on it, I wrote him a letter of which No 1 is a copy, upon which I was informed he had quit it. Sometime after this again, I learned that Mr. Michael Cresap had taken possession of it, built houses, and was working hands thereon, upon which I also wrote him a letter of which No. 2. is the copy; and was given to understand that Mr. Theobald (or Tibbles, as he is commonly called) who was Partner with Mr. Cresap in this Land, was determined to give it up; receiving at the same time a message by Capt. Crawford from Mr. Michael Cresap, that if I would let him have the Land he would pay me what I thought the worth of it; to which I returned for answer, that as it was the only piece of Land I had upon the Ohio, between Fort Pitt and the Kenhawas, and found it Edition: current; Page: [411] very necessary as a stage or Lodgment, in coming up the river, I could not agree to part with it, but again offered to pay for any labor or improvement, which he had made.

In this situation things were, when I wrote to you by Mr. Young;—otherwise, if I had thought that Mr. Cresap could, with any color of Justice, or even at any rate (as he must be conscious, that the mode he has praticed, of engrossing & selling Lands, I should have mention’d it to you before, but in truth, from every thing that has passed, I concluded that he had yielded to my prior claim.—In like manner may my title to the three thousand acres on the waters of Sharter & Racoon) be disputed: For after that also was surveyed for me; after I had bought the rights (or claims rather) of several people to it, & after I had actually built several houses thereon, by way of strengthening my right, numbers of People went, in a forcible manner, and in defiance of repeated notices, & took possession of the Land, & built cabbins in such a manner as to prevent even entrance into my houses, & may, as Mr. Cresap has, dispute my title under pretence of having improved it;—but I do not expect that such claims as these can ever have an operation to my prejudice, or ought to retard my Patent; however, I do not wish to hasten any measure faster than it can be done with propriety.—1

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2 May 5. Set off for Mr. Calvert’s; dined and lodged there.

6. After dinner returned home. Mr. and Mrs. Custis and Miss Calvert came home with us. Found Mr. Tilghman here.

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7. Went with the above company to a boat race and barbecue at Johnson’s ferry. Returned at night with Mr. Milner.

8. Mr. Tilghman and Mr. Milner went away after breakfast. We (that is the rest) went to Pohick Church.

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9. At home all day alone.

10. Miss Calvert, Miss (?) Custis and Mr. Custis went over to Maryland. I continued at home all day. Major Waggener and Mr. Thos. Triplet dined here.

11. At home all day alone.

12. Set off with Mrs. Washington for Williamsburg. Dined at Dumfries and lodged at Col. Lewis’s in Fredericksburg.

13. At Fredericksburg all day. Dined at Col. Lewis’s and spent the evening at Weedon’s.

14. Dined at Roys Ordinary and lodged at Tods Bridge.

15. Breakfasted at Ruffins Ferry and dined and lodged at Col. Bassett’s.

16. Came to Williamsburg, dined at the Governor’s, and spent the evening at Mrs. Campbell’s.

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17. Dined at the Speaker’s and spent the evening at Southall’s.

18. Dined at the club at Mrs. Campbell’s and spent the evening at Southall’s.

19. Dined and spent the evening at Mrs. Campbell’s.

20. Dined at Mrs. Campbell’s, and spent the afternoon at my own lodgings.

21. Dined at the Speaker’s and went up to Colo. Bassett’s in the afternoon.

22. At Colo. Bassett’s all day.

23. Came to Williamsburg with Mrs. Washington. Dined at the Attorneys, and spent the evening there.

24. Dined at the Speaker’s, and spent the evening at Mrs. Campbell’s.

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25. Dined and spent the evening at the Governor’s.

26. Rid out with the Governor to his farm and breakfasted with him there. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s and spent the evening at my lodgings.

27. Dined at the Treasurer’s and went to the Ball given by the House of Burgesses to Lady Dunmore.

28. Dined at Mrs. Campbell’s and spent the evening at my lodgings.

29. Went to church in the fore and afternoon. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s, and spent the evening at my lodgings.

30. Dined at Mr. Southall’s. Spent the evening in my own room.

31. Dined at Mr. Charlton’s, and spent the evening in my room.

June 1st. Went to church and fasted all day.

2. Dined at Mr. Charlton’s and came up to Col. Bassett’s in the afternoon.

3. At Colo. Bassett’s all day in company with Mr. Dandridge, &c.

4. Went up by water with Mr. and Mrs. Bassett, Mrs. Dandridge and Mrs. Washington to the land bought of Black in Kings and Queens. Returned to Col. Bassett’s to dinner.

5. At Col. Bassett’s all day.

6. Set [off] with him for Williamsburg. Dined at Richard Charlton’s and supped at Anderson’s.

7. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s and spent the evening at the Raleigh.

8. Dined at the Raleigh and spent the evening at the Anderson’s.

9. Dined at the Raleigh and spent the evening there also.

10. Dined at the Raleigh and went to the fire works.

11. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s, and went up to Colo. Bassett’s in the afternoon.

12. At Col. Bassett’s all day.

13. Returned with him to Williamsburg. Dined at the Raleigh, and spent the evening at Anderson’s.

14. Dined with the Council at Southall’s; and spent the evening at Anderson’s.

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15. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s and spent the evening at the Capitol at a meeting of the society for promoting useful knowledge.

16. Dined at the Governor’s and spent the evening at Anderson’s.

17. Dined at Anderson’s and spent the evening there.

18. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s and came up to Col. Bassetts in the afternoon.

19. At Colo. Bassett’s all day.

20. Set off from thence on my return home. Dined at Todd’s Bridge and lodged at Hubbard’s.

21. Breakfasted at the Bolling Green, dined and lodged at Col. Lewis’s in Fredericksburg.

22. Reached home to a late dinner, after breakfasting at Acquia.

George Washington
Washington, George
4 July, 1774
Mount Vernon,
Bryan Fairfax
Fairfax, Bryan


Dear Sir,

John has just delivered to me your favor of yesterday, which I shall be obliged to answer in a more concise manner, than I could wish, as I am very much engaged in raising one of the additions to my house, which I think (perhaps it is fancy) goes on better whilst I am present, than in my absence from the workmen.

I own to you, Sir, I wished much to hear of your making an open declaration of taking a poll for this county, upon Colonel West’s publicly declining last Sunday; and I should have written to you on the subject, but for information then received from several gentlemen in the churchyard, of your having refused to do so, for the reasons assigned in your letter1; Edition: current; Page: [418] upon which, as I think the country never stood more in need of men of abilities and liberal sentiments than now, I entreated several gentlemen at our church yesterday to press Colonel Mason to take a poll, as I really think Major Broadwater,2 though a good man, might do as well in the discharge of his domestic concerns, as in the capacity of a legislator. And therefore I again express my wish, that either you or Colonel Mason would offer. I can be of little assistance to either, because I early laid it down as a maxim not to propose myself, and solicit for a second.

As to your political sentiments, I would heartily join you in them, so far as relates to a humble and dutiful petition to the throne, provided there was the most distant hope of success. But have we not tried this already? Have we not addressed the Lords, and remonstrated to the Commons? And to what end? Did they deign to look at our petitions? Does it not appear, as clear as the sun in its meridian brightness, that there is a regular, systematic plan formed to fix the right and practice of taxation upon us? Does not the uniform conduct of Parliament for some years past confirm this? Do not all the debates, especially Edition: current; Page: [419] those just brought to us, in the House of Commons on the side of government, expressly declare that America must be taxed in aid of the British funds, and that she has no longer resources within herself? Is there any thing to be expected from petitioning after this? Is not the attack upon the liberty and property of the people of Boston, before restitution of the loss to the India Company was demanded, a plain and self-evident proof of what they are aiming at? Do not the subsequent bills (now I dare say acts), for depriving the Massachusetts Bay of its charter, and for transporting offenders into other colonies or to Great Britian for trial, where it is impossible from the nature of the thing that justice can be obtained, convince us that the administration is determined to stick at nothing to carry its point? Ought we not, then, to put our virtue and fortitude to the severest test?

With you I think it a folly to attempt more than we can execute, as that will not only bring disgrace upon us, but weaken our cause; yet I think we may do more than is generally believed, in respect to the non-importation scheme. As to the withholding of our remittances, that is another point, in which I own I have my doubts on several accounts, but principally on that of justice; for I think, whilst we are accusing others of injustice, we should be just ourselves; and how this can be, whilst we owe a considerable debt, and refuse payment of it to Great Britain, is to me inconceivable. Nothing but the last extremity, I think, can justify it. Whether this is now come, is the question.

Edition: current; Page: [420]

I began with telling you, that I was to write a short letter. My paper informs me I have done otherwise. I shall hope to see you to-morrow, at the meeting of the county in Alexandria, when these points are to be considered. I am, dear Sir, your most obedient and humble servant.1

George Washington
Washington, George
20 July, 1774
Mount Vernon,
Bryan Fairfax
Fairfax, Bryan


Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 17th was not presented to me till after the resolutions, (which were adjudged advisable for this county to come to), had been revised, altered, and corrected in the committee; nor till we had gone into a general meeting in the court-house, and my attention necessarily called every moment to the business that was before it.2 I did, however, upon Edition: current; Page: [421] receipt of it, (in that hurry and bustle,) hastily run it over, and handed it round to the gentlemen on the bench of which there were many; but, as no person present seemed in the least disposed to adopt your sentiments, as there appeared a perfect satisfaction and acquiescence in the measures proposed (except from a Mr. Williamson, who was for adopting your advice literally, without obtaining a second voice on his side), and as the gentlemen, to whom the letter was shown, advised me not to have it read, as it was not like to make a convert, and repugnant, (some of them thought,) to the very principle we were contending for, I forbore to offer it otherwise than in the manner above mentioned; which I shall be sorry for, if it gives you any dissatisfaction in not having your sentiments read to the county at large, instead of communicating them to the first people in it, by offering them the letter in the manner I did.

That I differ very widely from you, in respect to the mode of obtaining a defeat [repeal] of the acts so much and so justly complained of, I shall not hesitate to acknowledge; and that this difference in opinion may probably proceed from the different constructions we put upon the conduct and intention of the ministry may also be true; but, as I see nothing, on the one hand, to induce a belief that the Parliament would embrace a favorable opportunity of repealing acts, which they go on with great rapidity to pass, and in order to enforce their tyrannical system; and, on the other, I observe, or think I observe, that government is pursuing a regular plan at the expense of Edition: current; Page: [422] law and justice to overthrow our constitutional rights and liberties, how can I expect any redress from a measure, which has been ineffectually tried already? For, Sir, what is it we are contending against? Is it against paying the duty of three pence per pound on tea because burthensome? No, it is the right only, we have all along disputed, and to this end we have already petitioned his Majesty in as humble and dutiful manner as subjects could do. Nay, more, we applied to the House of Lords and House of Commons in their different legislative capacities, setting forth, that, as Englishmen, we could not be deprived of this essential and valuable part of a constitution. If, then, as the fact really is, it is against the right of taxation that we now do, and, (as I before said,) all along have contended, why should they suppose an exertion of this power would be less obnoxious now than formerly? And what reasons have we to believe, that they would make a second attempt, while the same sentiments filled the breast of every American, if they did not intend to enforce it if possible?1

Edition: current; Page: [423]

The conduct of the Boston people could not justify the rigor of their measures, unless there had been a requisition of payment and refusal of it; nor did that measure require an act to deprive the government of Massachusetts Bay of their charter, or to exempt offenders from trial in the place where offences were committed, as there was not, nor could not be, a single instance produced to manifest the necessity of it. Are not all these things self evident proofs of a fixed and uniform plan to tax us? If we want further proofs, do not all the debates in the House of Commons serve to confirm this? And has not General Gage’s conduct since his arrival, (in stopping the address of his Council, and publishing Edition: current; Page: [424] a proclamation more becoming a Turkish bashaw, than an English governor, declaring it treason to associate in any manner by which the commerce of Great Britain is to be affected,) exhibited an unexampled testimony of the most despotic system of tyranny, that ever was practised in a free government? In short, what further proofs are wanted to satisfy one of the designs of the ministry, than their own acts, which are uniform and plainly tending to the same point, nay, if I mistake not, avowedly to fix the right of taxation? What hope then from petitioning, when they tell us, that now or never is the time to fix the matter? Shall we, after this, whine and cry for relief, when we have already tried it in vain? Or shall we supinely sit and see one province after another fall a prey to despotism? If I was in any doubt, as to the right which the Parliament of Great Britain had to tax us without our consent, I should most heartily coincide with you in opinion, that to petition, and petition only, is the proper method to apply for relief; because we should then be asking a favor, and not claiming a right, which, by the law of nature and our constitution, we are, in my opinion, indubitably entitled to. I should even think it criminal to go further than this, under such an idea; but none such I have. I think the Parliament of Great Britain hath no more right to put their hands into my pocket, without my consent, than I have to put my hands into yours for money; and this being already urged to them in a firm, but decent manner, by all the colonies, what reason is there to expect any thing from their justice?

Edition: current; Page: [425]

As to the resolution for addressing the throne, I own to you, Sir, I think the whole might as well have been expunged. I expect nothing from the measure, nor should my voice have accompanied it, if the non-importation scheme was intended to be retarded by it;1 for I am convinced, as much as I am of my existence, that there is no relief but in their distress; and I think, at least I hope, that there is public virtue enough left among us to deny ourselves every thing but the bare necessaries of life to accomplish this end. This we have a right to do, and no power upon earth can compel us to do otherwise, till they have first reduced us to the most abject state of slavery that ever was designed for mankind. The stopping our exports would, no doubt, be a shorter cut than the other to effect this purpose; but if we owe money to Great Britain, nothing but the last necessity can justify the non-payment of it; and, therefore, I have great doubts upon this head, and Edition: current; Page: [426] wish to see the other method first tried, which is legal and will facilitate these payments.

I cannot conclude without expressing some concern, that I should differ so widely in sentiment from you, in a matter of such great moment and general import; and should much distrust my own judgment upon the occasion, if my nature did not recoil at the thought of submitting to measures, which I think subversive of every thing that I ought to hold dear and valuable, and did I not find, at the same time, that the voice of mankind is with me.

I must apologize for sending you so rough a sketch of my thoughts upon your letter. When I looked back, and saw the length of my own, I could not, as I am also a good deal hurried at this time, bear the thoughts of making off a fair copy. I am, &c.


1774. Aug. 1. Went from Colo. Bassett’s to Williamsburg to the meeting of the Convention. Dined at Mrs. Campbell’s, spent ye evening in my lodgings.

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2. At the convention; dined at the Treasurer’s. At my lodgings in the evening.

3. Dined at the Speaker’s, and spent the evening at my own lodgings.

4. Dined at the Attorney’s, and spent the evening at my own lodgings.

5. Dined at Mrs. Dawson’s, and spent the evening at my own lodgings.

6. Dined at Mrs. Campbell’s, and spent the evening at my own lodgings.

7. Left Williamsburg about 9 o’clock.

Edition: current; Page: [428]
George Washington
Washington, George
7 August, 1774
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry


Dear Sir,

If this letter should (though I do not see any probable chance that it will,) reach your hands in time, it is to ask, if you do not think it necessary, that the deputies from this colony should be furnished with authentic lists of the exports and imports annually, more especially to and from Great Britain; and, in that case, to beg of you to obtain such from the custom-house officers on the Potomac and Rappahannock. I have desired the speaker, if he should think it expedient, and might not have thought of it, to do the same from the York, and James River offices.

I have got an account (though not a certified one,) from Mr. Wythe, of our number of taxables in 1770, since increased (Archy Carey says) to 10,000, as would have appeared by the list which would have been returned in May, if the session had gone on. I am, &c.

P. S. If you should travel to Philadelphia by land I should be glad of your company. Mr. Henry is to be at my house on his way Tuesday, the thirtieth instant.2

Edition: current; Page: [429]
George Washington
Washington, George
24 August, 1774
Mount Vernon,
Bryan Fairfax
Fairfax, Bryan


Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 5th instant1 came to this place, forwarded by Mr. Ramsay, a few days after my return from Williamsburg, and I delayed acknowledging Edition: current; Page: [430] it sooner, in the hopes that I should find time, before I began my other journey to Philadelphia, to answer it fully, if not satisfactorily; but, as much of Edition: current; Page: [431] my time has been engrossed since I came home by company, by your brother’s sale and the business consequent thereupon, in writing letters to England, Edition: current; Page: [432] and now in attending to my own domestic affairs previous to my departure as above, I find it impossible to bestow so much time and attention to Edition: current; Page: [433] the subject matter of your letter as I could wish to do, and therefore, must rely upon your good nature and candor in excuse for not attempting it. Edition: current; Page: [434] In truth, persuaded as I am, that you have read all the political pieces, which compose a large share of the Gazette at this time, I should think it, but for your request, a piece of inexcusable arrogance in me, to make the least essay towards a change in your political opinions; for I am sure I have no new lights to throw upon the subject, or any other arguments to offer in support of my own doctrine, than what you have seen; and could only in general add, that an innate spirit of freedom first told me, that the measures, which administration hath for some time been, and now are most violently pursuing, are repugnant to every principle of natural justice; whilst Edition: current; Page: [435] much abler heads than my own hath fully convinced me, that it is not only repugnant to natural right, but subversive of the laws and constitution of Great Britain itself, in the establishment of which some of the best blood in the kingdom hath been spilt. Satisfied, then, that the acts of a British Parliament are no longer governed by the principles of justice, that it is trampling upon the valuable rights of Americans, confirmed to them by charter and the constitution they themselves boast of, and convinced beyond the smallest doubt, that these measures are the result of deliberation, and attempted to be carried into execution by the hand of power, is it a time to trifle, or risk our cause upon petitions, which with difficulty obtain access, and afterwards are thrown by with the utmost contempt? Or should we, because heretofore unsuspicious of design, and then unwilling to enter into disputes with the mother country, go on to bear more, and forbear to enumerate our just causes of complaint? For my own part, I shall not undertake to say where the line between Great Britain and the colonies should be drawn; but I am clearly of opinion, that one ought to be drawn, and our rights clearly ascertained. I could wish, I own, that the dispute had been left to posterity to determine, but the crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition, that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us as tame and abject slaves, as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway.

I intended to have wrote no more than an apology Edition: current; Page: [436] for not writing; but I find I am insensibly running into a length I did not expect, and therefore shall conclude with remarking, that, if you disavow the right of Parliament to tax us, (unrepresented as we are,) we only differ in respect to the mode of opposition, and this difference principally arises from your belief, that they—the Parliament, I mean,—want a decent opportunity to repeal the acts; whilst I am as fully convinced, as I am of my own existence, that there has been a regular, systematic plan formed to enforce them, and that nothing but unanimity in the colonies (a stroke they did not expect) and firmness, can prevent it. It seems from the best advices from Boston, that General Gage is exceedingly disconcerted at the quiet and steady conduct of the people of the Massachusetts Bay, and at the measures pursuing by the other governments; as I dare say he expected to have forced those oppressed people into compliance, or irritated them to acts of violence before this, for a more colorable pretense of ruling that and the other colonies with a high hand. But I am done.

I shall set off on Wednesday next for Philadelphia, whither, if you have any commands, I shall be glad to oblige you in them; being, dear Sir, with real regard, &c.

P. S. Pray what do you think of the Canada Bill?

Edition: current; Page: [437]


August 30. Colo. Pendleton, Mr Henry, Colo. Mason, and Mr. Thos. Triplet, came in the evening and stay’d all night.

31. All the above gentlemen dined here; after which with Colo. Pendleton and Mr. Henry, I set out on my journey to Philadelphia and reached Upper Marlboro.

September 1. Breakfasted at Queen Anne. Dined in Annapolis, and lodged at Rock Hall.

2. Dined at Rock Hall (waiting for my horses), and lodged at New Town, on Chester.

3. Breakfasted at Down’s. Dined at the Brick Tavern (Carson’s) and lodged at Newcastle.

4. Breakfasted at Christeen Ferry. Dined at Chester, and lodged at Doctr. Shippen’s in Phila. after supping at ye New Tavern.1

5. Breakfasted and dined at Doctor Shippen’s. Spent ye evening at Tavern.2

6. Dined at the New Tavern, after being in Congress all day.

7. Dined at Mr. Pleasants’, and spent the evening in a Club at the New Tavern.

8. Dined at Mr. Andrew Allan’s, and spent the evening in my own lodging.

9. Dined at Mr. Tilghman’s, and spent the evening at home (at my lodgings).

10. Dined at Mr. Richard Penn’s.

11. Dined at Mr Griffen’s.3

12. Dined at Mr. James Allan’s.

13. Dined at Mr. Thos. Mifflin’s.

14. Rid over the Province Island, and dined at Mr Wm. Hamilton’s.

15. Dined at my lodgings.

Edition: current; Page: [438]

16. Dined at the State House, at an entertainment given by the city to the members of the Congress.1

17. Dined at Mr. Dickenson’s, about 2 miles from town.

18. Dined at Mr. Hills, about 6 miles from town.

19. Rid out in the morning; dined at Mr. Ross’s.

20. Dined with Mr. Fisher, the Mayor.

21. Dined with Mr. James Mease.

22. Dined with Mr. Chew, the Chief Justice.

23. Dined with Mr. Joseph Pemberton.

24. Dined with Mr Thos. Willing, and spent ye evening at ye city Tavern.

25. Went to the Quaker meeting in the forenoon, and St. Peters in the afternoon. Dined at my lodgings.

26. Dined at the old Doctr. Shippen’s, and went to the Hospital.2

27. Dined at the Tavern with the Virginian Gentlemen &c.

28. Dined with Mr Edward Shippen’s; spent the afternoon with the Boston gentlemen.3

29. Dined at Mr. Allans, and went to the Ball in the afternoon.

30. Dined at Doctor Cadwalladers.

October 1. At ye Congress till 3 o’clock. Dined with Mr. Hamilton at Bush Hill.

2. Went to Christ Church, and dined at ye New Tavern.

3. At Congress till 3 o’clock. Dined at Mr. Reed’s.

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4. At Congress till 3 o’clock. Dined at young doctor Shippen’s.

5. At Congress as above. Dined at Doctor Bond’s.

6. At Congress. Dined at Mr. Saml. Meredith’s.

7. At Congress. Dined at Mr. Thos. Smith’s.1

8. At Congress. Dined with Mr. John Cadwallader.

9. Went to the Presbyterian meeting in the forenoon, and Romish church in the afternoon.2 Dined at Bevan’s.

10. At Congress. Dined at Doctor Morgan’s.

11. Dined at my lodgings, and spent the evening at Bevan’s.

12. At Congress all the forenoon. Dined at Mr. Josh. Wharton’s, and went to ye Governor’s Club.

13. Dined at my lodgings, after being at Congress till 4 o’clock.

14. Dined at Mr. Thos. Barclay’s and spent the evening at Smith’s.

15. Dined at Bevan’s. Spent the evening at home.

16. Went to Christ Church in the forenoon, after which rid to and dined in ye Province Island. Supped at Byrns’s.

17. After Congress dined on board Captn. Hamilton. Spent the evening at Mr. Mifflin’s.

18. Dined at Doctor Rush’s and spent the evening at ye New Tavern.

19. Dined at Mr. Willing’s, and spent the evening at my own lodgings.

20. Dined at ye New Tavern with ye Pennsylvania Assembly.3 Went to the Ball afterwards.

21. Dined at my lodging and spent the evening there also.

22. Dined at Mr. Griffen’s and drank tea with Mr. Roberdeau.

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23. Dined at my lodgings and spent the evening there.

24. Dined with Mr. Mease, and spent the evening at the new tavern.

25. Dined at my lodgings.

26. Dined at Bevan’s, and spent the evening at the New Tavern.1

27. Set out on my return home.2

Edition: current; Page: [441]
George Washington
Washington, George
9 October, 1774
Robert Mackenzie
Mackenzie, Robert


Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 13th ultimo from Boston gave me pleasure, as I learnt thereby, that you were well, and might be expected at Mount Vernon in your way to or from James River, in the course of the winter.

When I have said this, permit me with the freedom of a friend (for you know I always esteemed you) to Edition: current; Page: [442] express my sorrow, that fortune should place you in a service, that must fix curses to the latest posterity upon the contrivers, and, if success (which, by the by, is impossible) accompanies it, execrations upon all those, who have been instrumental in the execution.

I do not mean by this to insinuate, that an officer is not to discharge his duty, even when chance, not choice, has placed him in a disagreeable situation; but I conceive, when you condemn the conduct of the Massachusetts people, you reason from effects, not causes; otherwise you would not wonder at a people, who are every day receiving fresh proofs of a systematic assertion of an arbitrary power, deeply planned to overturn the laws and constitution of their country, and to violate the most essential and valuable rights of mankind, being irritated, and with difficulty restrained from acts of the greatest violence and intemperance. For my own part, I confess to you candidly, that I view things in a very different point of light from the one in which you seem to consider them; and though you are led to believe by venal men,—for such I must take the liberty of calling those new-fangled counsellors, who fly to and surround you, and all others, who, for honors or pecuniary gratifications, will lend their aid to overturn the constitution, and introduce a system of arbitrary government,—although you are taught, I say, by discoursing with such men, to believe, that the people of Massachusetts are rebellious, setting up for independency, and what not, give me leave, my good Edition: current; Page: [443] friend, to tell you, that you are abused, grossly abused. This I advance with a degree of confidence and boldness, which may claim your belief, having better opportunities of knowing the real sentiments of the people you are among, from the leaders of them, in opposition to the present measures of the administration, than you have from those whose business it is, not to disclose truths, but to misrepresent facts in order to justify as much as possible to the world their own conduct. Give me leave to add, and I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that government, or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for independence; but this you may at the same time rely on, that none of them will ever submit to the loss of those valuable rights and privileges, which are essential to the happiness of every free state, and without which, life, liberty, and property are rendered totally insecure.

These, Sir, being certain consequences, which must naturally result from the late acts of Parliament relative to America in general, and the government of Massachusetts Bay in particular, is it to be wondered at, I repeat, that men, who wish to avert the impending blow, should attempt to oppose it in its progress, or prepare for their defence, if it cannot be averted? Surely I may be allowed to answer in the negative; and again give me leave to add as my opinion, that more blood will be spilled on this occasion, if the ministry are determined to push matters to extremity, than history has ever yet furnished instances of Edition: current; Page: [444] in the annals of North America, and such a vital wound will be given to the peace of this great country, as time itself cannot cure, or eradicate the remembrance of.

But I have done. I was involuntarily led into a short discussion of this subject by your remarks on the conduct of the Boston people, and your opinion of their wishes to set up for independency. I am well satisfied, that no such thing is desired by any thinking man in all North America; on the contrary, that it is the ardent wish of the warmest advocates for liberty, that peace and tranquillity, upon constitutional grounds, may be restored, and the horrors of civil discord prevented.1

I am very glad to learn, that my friend Stewart Edition: current; Page: [445] was well when you left London. I have not had a letter from him these five years, nor heard of him I think for two. I wish you had mentioned his employment.

I remain, dear Sir, your most obedient servant.1

Edition: current; Page: [446]
George Washington
Washington, George
26 December, 1774
Mount Vernon,
James Mercer
Mercer, James


Dear Sir,

I do not recollect whether, in my last, I informed you that it was £29 you gave for the negro Kate, and that the whole of your purchases in Frederick amounted to £2385, 14. 2; if I did not then do it, these will be found right, and agreeable to the original entries.

I have heard nothing yet from Colo. Payton, respecting those lands which you appear charged with at the Loudoun sale. There is no doubt, I Edition: current; Page: [447] presume, of courts or others taking them off your hands. If there be, the sums bid for them will require to be added to your account.

I cannot say but that I should have liked to have had 1224 acres of land warranted to me, instead of your granting 1200 acres more or less; for as it was upon the presumption that the tracts of Gray and Adams contained this quantity, clear of disputed bounds, that I agreed to give the price I did; so if it falls short (I mean more than is generally allowed for variation of instruments) I shall not much like, nor indeed think myself bound by it; and am inclined to Edition: current; Page: [448] think (as Mr. Carlyle also does) that Hough must have made some mistake in his measurement, as the original patents to Adams and Gray together contain no more than 1168 acres, whilst it appears that Adams’ patent runs into Gray’s, and one half, or near it, of Gray’s is taken away by Strutfield’s. Notwithstanding all which Hough you say (for I have no plat or report of his) makes 56 acres more than is granted by both patents; at the same time he differs but little (I perceive by your plat) from the original courses and distances.

I do not pretend either to be well acquainted with the phrases which constitute a general warranty, but the words made use of by you, for this purpose are not so strong and emphatical as I have generally observed upon these occasions; which usually run in some such manner as this: “From the claim, or claims of any person, or persons, whatsoever, the said his —, his heirs &c. doth warrant, and will forever defend.” Your covenant may, for ought I know be tantamount, although no such expressions are used, and, therefore, I shall say nothing further on this head.

It was my intention to have run round the lines of these tracts and tried the contents of them myself; but I have never been a day well since my return from Frederick, nor a day without company. If you have Adam’s conveyance, I should be glad to be furnished with it when you send the copy of the power of attorney, to McCoul and Blair, as I have no paper relative to this land, except an unattested copy of the Proprietor’s deed to him.

Edition: current; Page: [449]

I have wrote to your Brother1 since I came home. I intended a short letter, just to advise him of the amount of the sales, but insensibly run into a long one. Inclosed is a copy of it, as also of the two queries which he seems anxious for your answering; the reason of my repeating them to you now, being that they are again urged to me in a letter from Mr. Montague. If you choose to answer them, it may be by way of letter to me, which I can enclose to your brother. It was for this reason I have furnished you with my preparatory letter.

As ye quantity of wheat threshed at Marlborough, agreeably to your letter of the 13th inst. is too much for a load; and as the holidays are near at hand, and bad weather probably approaching, it will be out of my power to send for it very soon. Indeed this will always be the case, (which makes no material difference to me,) if it cannot be got ready for delivery before Christmas, it being difficult afterwards, to procure craft till the frosts are thought to be over in the spring.

I have heard no person speak of the sale of cattle in Frederick but what thought it a great one. I have mentioned the average price to no one since, but what thinks I might buy for much less; and although I do not dispute, as I have never seen the goodness of your cattle at Marlborough, yet give me leave my friend to tell you, that you are too sanguine in your expectations in matters of this sort. It is not my intention to buy at high prices, as I am in no immediate Edition: current; Page: [450] want. My design, as I raise a great deal of provender, was to stock my plantations more plentifully than they are, if I could purchase upon terms as I liked; and hearing you talk of selling cattle from Marlborough, I thought it might answer both our purposes; but you are to observe that if your bond upon delivery of the cattle is to have a credit for the amount of ye sale, it is, to all intents and purposes, a ready money sale to both [of] us, although no cash is deposited. This, in fact, is the case in respect to the land, which makes the £446 allowed for your moiety equal to £468. 6. 0, a year hence, to say nothing of the disadvantage attending ready money sales; and is a circumstance I did not advert to. The kind of cattle I should prefer, would be cows and heifers, as they would put me into a full stock the soonest; but when I wrote to you on this subject, my intention if we could agree upon terms, was to take off all you could spare of every kind; if the person I should send liked the cattle at the price they should be offered, and found they were not the worse for having a parcel picked out for your plantation use, for I would not be concerned with refuse cattle at any rate.

I find, in order to lay your brother’s affairs fully before him in my next, that it will be necessary for me to have copies of both the reports made by the commissioners, neither of which I have. As I think you spoke something of a plan when we were in Frederick together, of your committee being branched out to [] different purposes, I shall be obliged to you for forwarding me a copy of your resolution Edition: current; Page: [451] respecting the matter. A plan of this kind I am sure is necessary for us, and we may be benefitted by a precedent.

With very great esteem, and with the compliments of the season, I remain, &c.1


George Washington
Washington, George
10 January, 1775
James Cleveland
Cleveland, James


As I am resolved, if no unforeseen accident happens to prevent it, to have my people at work upon my lands on the Ohio, by the last day of March, no steps previous to this undertaking should be delayed, by which a disappointment must follow. I, therefore, knowing it will take some time to collect provisions, and tools to carry on this work, and that the transportation of them in the spring early over the Allegany Mountains may be attended with difficulty and uncertainty, do request and require you to go immediately over to Gilbert Simpson’s in the Redstone settlement, and there do, or attempt to do, the following things:—

First. Engage anywhere between one hundred and fifty and two hundred bushels of Indian corn, and to prevent disappointments, let it be actually lodged at Gilbert Simpson’s before the first day of March. Also engage upon the best terms you can to be delivered as aforesaid, about fifteen hundredweight of bacon; and desire Mr. Simpson by all means to have them securely lodged for you at his house by that time at furthest.

Second. Engage upon the best terms you can, such, and so many canoes, as are absolutely necessary to transport your provisions and tools down the river. And to avoid the expense of bags as much as possible, try if one of the canoes cannot be Edition: current; Page: [452] fitted up in such a manner as to carry your corn and bacon with the assistance of one or two only. Perhaps the canoes built for me last year may again be got. Speak to Major Crawford on this head.

Third. If Mr. Simpson has not already moved all the tools and necessaries which were carried out for me last spring, from Val. Crawford’s, let it be done as soon as you get out. Here with is a list of what he acknowledges he had left upon hand in September last, as also of what he carried out. Take an exact account of everything you find and have them secured at Mr. Simpson’s ready at your departure down the river. After which see what things you will want for your undertaking down the river, and then.

Fourth. Try if they are to be had out there, at what prices, and if you find the only difference to lie in the expense of the carriage out, endeavor to buy every thing you can want there, rather than run the hazard of sending them from hence in March, and have them lodged as above; for if you do not get every thing into his possession, you may more than probable depend upon promises, and be disappointed after your men are assembled and ready to start, which must occasion a delay, and of course a loss to me, not only of time, but in having men upon expence.

Fifth. It may not be amiss to engage potatoe seed, and such things, as will not only contribute to your better living, but will, in case corn should be found very scarce and difficult to be got make the less of it necessary; for I do expect that from the breaking up of the plantations last year, and the great number of people that will be going over this, that corn will be very scarce and exceeding dear. If you could get peach, or any other kind of fruit stones, or apple seeds, it would not be amiss to engage them to carry out with you.

Sixth. Inasmuch as both time and expences will be saved by engaging men in the Redstone settlement to go with you down the river, I would have you make diligent enquiry whether they are to be had, and upon what terms, and engage at least five upon the best terms you can, and have them bound in the articles given you. If you should meet with such people as you think will answer the purpose, in your own neighborhood or elsewhere, you might engage them, provided you can depend Edition: current; Page: [453] upon their going at the proper time and will transport themselves without any expence to me.

Seventh. If you can hire negro fellows, or choose to carry any of your own, upon the terms I mentioned to you, there will not in that case be occasion to hire so many white men as above (to wit, five). And as I am told that there are three of the servants which I sent out last spring still at Mr. Val. Crawford’s and his brother, Captain Crawford’s, ready to be employed in my service; you may direct them to stay where they are, and be ready again the 15th of March; or if Gilbert Simpson wants hands for my mill work, let them be employed (instead of hirelings) there, till the 15th of March aforesaid.

Eight. As the rest of the servants were sold, and the money by this time become due, I have desired Mr. Val. Crawford, if he has received it, to pay it to you; and if he has not, to let you have the purchaser’s bonds, which give to Mr. Simpson, and desire him to collect the money and apply it towards payment of the mill accounts. If you can get corn, or other provisions, tools, or other things of Val. Crawford, I would have you do it, as it will save me the payment of cash; but be sure to have the matter fixed in such a manner with him as to run no risque of a disappointment.

You may get corn and other things from Captain Crawford, in like manner; but that you may not depend too much upon these uncertain chances, I now furnish you with £60, Pennsylvania money, and whatever it falls short of the amount of your purchases I will supply when you go out again, that everybody may be paid for what you get of them.

As I must set off for the Assembly by the first of February, and shall want to see you before I go, I would have you endeavor [if] it can conveniently be done, to be down here by that time. I have nothing more to add at present than to wish you success in your journey, and am &c.


I earnestly recommend to you to follow after the people I have sent out as soon as you can do it with safety, as much depends upon making a proper beginning.

Edition: current; Page: [454]

If you should not arrive at Gilbert Simpson’s till after William Stevens is gone with the people, provision, and tools, you will follow them by land and water, as you shall find it most convenient. I directed Stevens to leave his baggage horses there, in order that you might go by land if you chose it, as it would be the most expeditious way and you would want the horses on the land to draw in your logs, plow, and bring in your game.

If you should go by land, I shall have no objections to your buying and carrying two or three cows down with you, if they are to be had upon reasonable terms. If you should buy cows get a bull also, that the breed may be propagated. You will find a bell necessary for them, as also for the horses.

As you know the general plan and design of my seating these lands, I shall not hamper you with particular instructions, but leave you to be governed by circumstances. My first and indeed principal aim is, to save as much land as possible, in the shortest time and at the least expence. If this could be done in such a manner, and by such means, as to be serviceable hereafter, it would be so much the better; and for this reason it is, I shall leave you to act from circumstances.

It runs in my head, that if there is a good stream of water upon any of the tracts, and a convenient place out of the way of freshes, to build a mill, that this might be as good a method as any to save the land, provided an industrious millwright could be engaged, and there could be any certain prospect of getting iron work without much trouble or inconvenience.

When you see Stevens, call for the instructions I gave him, in order that you may see what is there required, and govern yourself thereby as nearly as circumstances will permit; for I do not mean to tie you down strictly to any certain rule, but to allow you to act in such a manner as shall appear most for my interest.

If you should find any of the white servants obstinate, and determined not to behave well, I hereby give you full power and authority to sell and dispose of them to the best advantage. I have given Stevens a description of each, that in case any should attempt to runaway, they may be advertised, and every pains taken to recover them that can be consistently.

Write to me by every opportunity, as it is very probable that Edition: current; Page: [455] not one letter in five will come to hand. Mention in all of them, therefore, what you want and how you go on.

After you have got a place inclosed, try and buy me all the buffalo calves you can get, and make them as gentle as possible. I would not stick at any reasonable price for them, especially the cow calves, but I should like at least two bull calves for fear of accidents, as I am very anxious to raise a breed of them.

Take the two servants from Major Crawford’s that he offered, if you find from their character that they will answer your purpose, and that they will be useful to you. If you get them, you may in my name, promise them a year of their time if they behave so as to deserve it.

George Washington
Washington, George
13 January, 1775
Mount Vernon,
John West
West, John



Your letter of the 8th, which is just handed to me, could not have given you more pain in writing, than it has given me in reading, because I never deny or even hesitate in granting any request, that is made to me, especially by persons I esteem, and in matters of moment, without feeling inexpressible uneasiness. I do not wonder at your solicitude on account of your only son. The nurturing and bringing him up in a proper course is, no doubt, an object of great concern to you, as well as importance to him; but two things are essentially necessary in the man to whom this charge is committed, a capacity of judging with propriety of measures proper to be taken in the government of a youth, and leisure sufficient to attend to the execution of these measures. That you are pleased to think favorably of me, in respect to the first, I shall take for granted, from the request Edition: current; Page: [456] you have made; but to show my incapacity of attending to the latter, with that good faith, which I think every man ought to use, who undertakes a trust of this interesting nature, I can solemnly declare to you, that, for a year or two past, there has been scarce a moment, that I could properly call my own. What with my own business, my present ward’s, my mother’s, which is wholly in my hands, Colonel Colvill’s, Mrs. Savage’s, Colonel Fairfax’s, Colonel Mercer’s, and the little assistance I have undertaken to give in the management of my brother Augustine’s concerns (for I have absolutely refused to qualify as an executor), together with the share I take in public affairs, I have been kept constantly engaged in writing letters, settling accounts, and negotiating one piece of business or another; by which means I have really been deprived of every kind of enjoyment, and had almost fully resolved to engage in no fresh matter, till I had entirely wound up the old.

Thus much, Sir, candor, indeed the principle of common honesty, obliged me to relate to you, as it is not my wish to deceive any person by promising what I do not think it in my power to perform with that punctuality and rectitude, which I conceive the nature of the trust would require. I do not, however, give a flat refusal to your request. I rather wish you to be fully informed of my situation, that you may think with me, or as I do, that, if it should please the Almighty to take you to himself as soon as you apprehend (but I hope without just cause), your son may be placed in better hands than mine. If you Edition: current; Page: [457] think otherwise, I will do the best I can, merely as a guardian.

You will act very prudently in having your will revised by some person skilled in the law, as a testator’s intentions are often defeated by different interpretations of statutes, which require the whole business of a man’s life to be perfectly conversant with them. I shall not, after what I have here said, add any thing more than my wishes, which are sincerely offered, for your recovery, and that you may live to see the accomplishment of your son’s education. With very great esteem, Sir, I am &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
25 February, 1775
Mount Vernon,
John Connolly
Connolly, John


Dear Sir,

Your servant, on his return from Williamsburg, affords me occasion to answer your polite letter. I confess the state of affairs is sufficiently alarming; which our critical situation, with regard to the Indians does not diminish: but as you have wrote to Edition: current; Page: [458] Lord Dunmore, relative to the prisoners under your charge, there can be no doubt of his Lordship’s having now transmitted you the necessary directions on that subject. I have only to express my most ardent wishes that every measure, consistent with reason and sound policy, may be adopted to keep those people, at this time, in good humor; for another rupture would not only ruin the external, but internal parts of this government. If the journal of your proceedings in the Indian war is to be published, I shall have an opportunity of seeing what I have long coveted. With us here, things wear a disagreeable aspect; and the minds of men are exceedingly disturbed at the measures of the British government. The King’s Speech and Address of both Houses, prognosticate nothing favorable to us; but by some subsequent proceedings thereto, as well as by private letters from London, there is reason to believe the ministry would willingly change their ground, from a conviction the forcible measures will be inadequate to the end designed.) A little time must now unfold the mystery, as matters are drawing to a point. I am &c.1

George Washington
Washington, George
6th Mar 1775
Mount Vernon,
Jno. Washington
Washington, Jno.


Dear Sir,

Mr. Fitzhugh delivered me your favr of the 13th ulto. on Tuesday last—but as I received it on the Edition: current; Page: [459] Road, I could not answer it by him, & wish it was in my power to do it satisfactorily now— So far am I from having £200 to lend, that, involved as I am with one expence and another particularly on a very heavy charge of Seating my Lands over the Alligany Mountains in order to comply with the conditions of the Grant. I would gladly borrow that Sum myself for a few months, so exceeding difficult do I find it, under the present scarcity of cash to collect enough to answer this emergency & at the same time comply with my other engagements— This information you may rely on as a fact from Dr Sir &c.

George Washington
Washington, George
6 March, 1775
William Stevens
Stevens, William


As Mr. James Cleveland, whom I have employed to take charge of my business upon the Ohio, is rendered unable at this time by sickness, to proceed out with my People, I must commit the care & management of them, & the business to you, till he can follow, or till you can hear further from me.

Proceed therefore, without any unnecessary loss of time, to Mr. Gilbert Simpson’s on Youghiogany, where I expect Provision’s are laid In, & where Majr. Crawford will have in readiness Tools, & Canoes ready to transport you down the River—do not delay one moment longer than you can help in that Settlement, but set out with all your necessaries by Water for the great Kanhawa—Your Provisions will go in Casks which are provided for the purpose; but the two Horses which are sent for the purpose of drawing in your Logs, fetching in your Provisions, & tending your Corn when they can be spared from other business, must be sent down by Land in the manner which shall appear most advisable to you at Simpson’s.—

The Land you are to go to, lays on the great Kanhawa on the Edition: current; Page: [460] lower or Right hand side as you go up it—the Tract begins abt two Miles from the Mouth of that River and runs up the same, binding therewith, for Seventeen Miles—you may begin your Improvements therefore in any part, but nearest the middle (for fear of getting of it) would be best if you can carry on your works to equal advantage to do wch you should examine the Bottoms well to see where you can clear most in the shortest time.

So soon as you have pitchd upon the Spot to begin your Improvements on, use every diligence in your power to get as much Land as possible ready for Corn, & continue planting, even with the rare ripe Corn, as long as you think it shall have time to come to perfection. You may, in the meanwhile, be putting up Houses for the convenience of yourselves to live in, but do not spend any time in fencing in the Field till it is too late to Plant, as the Corn can take no injury till some time after it is up which will be time enough to begin Fencing.

After the Season is too far advanced for Planting, and you have Inclosed the Field—you are then to go to such other kinds of Improvements as will go the furthest in saving the Land—that is, you are to build—to clear—to Fence—to drain—or do any thing else agreeable to the Act of Assembly which will be highest valued in proportion to the work, & the time spent thereon; & I have a notion that draining will be found among the most profitable things you can do—but as it is impossible for me to judge, at this distance, you must be governd by Circumstances, and your own judgment which I hope will be employed as much as possible for my Interest.

Consult Major Crawford about a Hunter & endeavr to secure a good one upon the best terms you can to attend you—this Hunter might, probably, be a proper Person to take the Horses down.—

I do not know that any of the white servants will attempt to run away from you, but to guard against it as much as possible keep a strict watch, & as soon as you have got to the Land draw your Canoes (without telling them the reason of it) quite up the Bank & cover them to prevent the sun from splitting them.

In the Keg with the Lead, there is a Canister of Peach-stone Kernals (near 2000) let them be planted in Drills as soon as you Edition: current; Page: [461] get to the Land, & fixed upon a Place for a Plantation,—also Plant Potatoes—Pease & every thing of that kind in their proper seasons, if you can get them to carry with you—and if you could get 1 Boor, & 2 Sow pigs to carry with you it would be a good thing.

As you will be under a necessity of depending upon hand Mill stones for meal (a pair of which are provided at Mr. Simpson’s) you should take care to be provided with peck to keep them in order,—also with a grind stone for your Tools.

I have no reason to doubt, but that you will find every thing provided at Simpsons by the time you get out—if however it should turn out otherwise,—I hope Majr. Crawford will give you all the assistance he can in getting what is wanted as it will be a folly to go down without,—get 2 light fluke Plows.

Leave with Gilbert Simpson an exact list of every thing you carry down the River, though never so trifling, for Mr. Cleveland, that he may know what you have & see if any thing further is necessary for him to provide.—Endeavour to make the Servants and Negroes take care of their Cloathes & have them mended when wanted.

I give you a description of each Servant—if any of them should Run away, advertize a good reward to any one that will bring them to you, to me, or Majr. Crawford.

Take great care of your Tools, that none are lost, or left as you go along down—Take care also that you have full enough of them for your hands; if to spare, so much the better, as I shall probably send out more hands some time hence. Keep a list therefore of the quantity you have, & call them over frequently.—After you have built a House for yourselves, there might also be one built to lock yr Provisions, Tools &c., up in.

I cannot pretend to say with certainty, when I shall be with you; but hope it may happen in May—if not in May it shall be as soon after as I can make it convenient—nor can I judge with any certainty how long it will take you to save that Tract on the great Kanhawa, which you are to go first to, as it contains 10,990 acres; but the Buildings and other Improvements ought to be valued (at any rate) before you go to the next Tract or rather return to it, as it lyes on the Ohio, three or four miles Edition: current; Page: [462] above the Rapid, at the great Bent in the Ohio (which is 30 odd miles above the mouth of the great Kanhawa) this is the next 4395 acre tract I shall Improve, & Lyes in Bottetourt County, as the large one of 10,990 acres does in Fincastle County.

I give you Money to bear your Expences out, and hope, and beg that you will use as much frugality in Travelling as possible,—keep an exact Acct. of your Expences that you may be able to settle with me when we meet, or with Mr. Cleveland in my behalf.

I would have you, as it is as good a way as any, go by Mr. Cleveland’s House, & if he is well enough to give it, take his advise about your conduct, if he thinks he shall be able to follow you in any reasonable time, perhaps it may be necessary to leave the Horses at Gilbert Simpson’s for him & the Negro that is run away to come after you by Land, & to drive two or three Cows out, if to be had from the Red Stone settlement.

Sow the Turnep seed which you carry as soon as you can with safety—and endeavour to provide Water-Mellon seed—Cucumbers—& every kind of seed which will serve to make your Corn &cc hold out at the same time that it adds to your good Living.

Get three or 4 good strong padlocks at Leesburg & as many strong Lines for Fishing, as Fish will be a great help to you.

Get Paper at Leesburg, and write frequently to me how you go on, as Letters are very apt to miscarry.

I wish you well & that success may attend you, & am &c.1

Edition: current; Page: [463]
George Washington
Washington, George
25 March, 1775
John Augustine Washington
Washington, John Augustine


Dear Brother,

Mr. Smith delivered me your letter of the 16th instant, but as one is generally in a hurry and bustle in such places, and at such times, as these, I have only time to acknowledge it, and add, that it would have given me pleasure to have met you here. I shall refer you to Mr. Smith for an account of our proceedings up to this day, and you cannot fail of learning the rest from the Squire, who delights in the minutiæ of a tale. I am in doubt whether we shall finish here this week; but as I shall delay little time on the road in returning, I shall hope to see you on your way up, or down, from Berkeley. I am much obliged to you for the holly-berries and cotton-seed. My love to my sister and the children.

I had like to have forgot to express my entire approbation of the laudable pursuit you are engaged in, of training an independent company. I have promised to review the independent company of Edition: current; Page: [464] Richmond some time this summer, they having made me a tender of the command of it. At the same time I could review yours, and shall very cheerfully accept the honor of commanding it, if occasion require it to be drawn out, as it is my full intention to Edition: current; Page: [465] devote my life and fortune in the cause we are engaged in, if needful.

I remain, dear Sir, your most affectionate brother.

George Washington
Washington, George
3d April 1775
Mount Vernon,
Lord Dunmore
Lord Dunmore


My Lord.

At second hand, I learnt from Captain Floyd, that the Surveys made by Mr. Crawford under the Proclamation of 1754 (expressly agreeable to an order of Council of the 15th of December, 1769), and for which your Lordships Patents under the Seal of the Colony, hath actually been obtained, are now declared null and void.—The information appearing altogether incredible, I gave little attention to it, ’till I saw Mr. Wilper on friday last, who, in confirmation of the report, added, that all the patentees (whom he had seen) under that Proclamation, were exceedingly distressed and at a loss, to know what to think of it, or how to act in a case so uncommon, this therefore has caused me to give your Lordship the trouble of a Letter on the occasion, convinced as I am, of your inclination to hear, and disposition to redress, any just cause of complaint, which may be submitted to your decision.—In pursuit of this enquiry, my Lord, which becomes highly interesting to me, as well as others, to make, I shall beg leave to lay a short state of our case before your Lordship in order to shew (if the information be true), for I confess I look’d upon it at first as a move only of the Surveyors to filtch a Edition: current; Page: [466] little more money from us, the peculiar hardship of our situation if we are to encounter fresh difficulties in search of Lands which in my humble opinion has already involved us in expence and trouble, which ought to have been avoided.

I shall not presume, my Lord, to ask a patient hearing of the reasons which induced Mr. Dinwiddie to issue the Proclamation of 1754;—the proclamation itself is sufficiently declaratory of them and, being an act of public notoriety, the utility of which was well known at the time of its promulgation, and as universally acknowledged to be just; I shall say nothing thereon; nor shall I undertake to prove how well men; at very small daily pay, were entitled to this testimony of his Majesty’s bounty; the experience your Lordship has lately had of a warfare in that country affords a recent instance of the hardship and difficulty which the first troops had in exploring a trackless way over those great ridges of mountains between Fort Cumberland and Pittsburgh, and making roads for the armies which afterwards followed, and in which they joined. But I will take the liberty humbly to represent, that instead of having extraordinary difficulties thrown in our way, we were in my opinion entitled, as well from the spirit, as the express words of the Proclamation, above mentioned, to the Lands free of all costs and trouble, for the truth of which, I should have no scruple in appealing to your Lordship’s candor, if you would take the trouble of reading the Proclamation, wherein (after setting forth the necessity of raising Troops) are these words;— Edition: current; Page: [467] “For an encouragement to all who shall voluntarily enter into the said service. I do hereby notify and promise, by and with the advice and consent of his Majesty’s Council of this Colony, that over & above their pay 200,000 acres of His Majesty, the King of Great Britain’s Lands, on the east side of the River Ohio, within this Dominion (100,000 acres to be contiguous to the said Fort, and the other 100,000 acres, to be on or near the River Ohio) shall be laid off, & granted to such persons who by their voluntary engagement and good behavior in the said service; shall deserve the same; and I further promise that the said Lands shall be divided amongst them immediately after the performance of the said service,” &c.—Is it not to be inferred, my Lord, from the natural import of these words, that the Lands were to be laid off for, and divided amongst the grantees, without involving them in either trouble or expence? Nothing, in my humble opinion, is more self-evident. But they finding that the most valuable part of their Grant, (respecting the location) was actually preoccupied—that Emigrants were spreading fast over that country,—and that the same difficulties might arise in other quarters and contests ensue; application was made for liberty to make our own surveys, and a District assigned for it, at least 200 miles from any settlement—unexplored by any County-Surveyor, unknown in whose districts it lay, if it lay in any, as the jurisdiction of no county had extended within the number of miles above mentioned;—and but few men at that early day, hardy enough to undertake a work, Edition: current; Page: [468] in a wilderness where none but savages & wild beasts inhabited.—I say, under these circumstances, application was made for a special surveyor, and an order of Council obtained in the following words:—

“The Council also advised that Colo. Washington should apply to the President & Masters of the College requesting them to nominate & appoint a person properly qualified to survey the said Land with all possible expedition, signifying to them that their compliance herein will be agreeable to this Board.”

In consequence of this order, & of Capt. Crawford’s qualification as a Surveyor, he was appointed to run out this 200,000 acres of Land; and having given Bond in the usual & accustomed form, to the College proceeded to the business, and making his returns to the Secretary’s office, Patents have been issued under your Lordships signature & the seal of the Colony, ever since the first of December 1773. Would it not be exceedingly hard then, my Lord, under these circumstances—at this late day—after we had proceeded in all respects agreeably to the orders of Government, and after many of us have been run to great & considerable expence, to declare that the Surveys are invalid? It appears in so uncommon a light to me, that I hardly know yet how to persuade myself into a belief of the reallity of it, nor should I have given your Lordship any trouble on the subject at this time, but for the importunity of others, and from a desire (as I shall leave home the first of May) of knowing if the account be true, what steps the grantees, under the afore-mentioned Proclamation, are further to take.

Edition: current; Page: [469]

I beg your Lordships excuse for the length and freedom of this epistle. I am persuaded you possess too much candour yourself to be offended at it in others, in relating of facts, especially, as I profess myself to be, with the utmost respect, etc.1

George Washington
Washington, George
5 April, 1775
Mount Vernon,



My Letter of the 4th of December to Colo. Mercer (dispatched by the first opportunity that offered after the close of his Sales) would inform you of the total amount thereof; & that the contest between Miss Wroughton and Messrs. Dick & Hunter, respecting a preference of Mortgages, would, more than probable, be avoided.

I have now to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 29th of August, & to acquaint you, that the packet herewith sent to Colo Mercer, contains such papers & documents as are necessary to give the fullest information of the state of his affairs in this country; which, circumstances considered, have turned out infinitely beyond my expectation, or the expe