George Washington Papers

II., 3 July 1754


Articles of Capitulation

[3 July 1754]

Capitulation accordée par ⟨M.⟩ de Vill⟨iers Capitaine⟩ D’infant⟨erie⟩ Commandant des troupes de Sa Majesté tres Chrétienne a celuy des troupes Anglais actuellement dans le fort de Nécessité qui avoit été Construit sur les terres du Domaine Du Roy

Ce 3e Juillet 1754 a huit heures du soir.


Comme notre intention n’a jamais été de troubler la Paix et la Bonne armonie qui régnoit entre les deux Princes amis, mais seulement de venger L’assasin qui a été fait sur un de nos officier porteur d’une sommation et sur son escorte, comme aussy d’empecher aucun Etablissement sur les terres du Roy mon maitre.1

A Ces Considerations nous voulons bien accorder grace a tous les Anglois qui sont dans le dit fort aux conditions ci-après

Article pr.

Nous accordons au Commandant Anglois de se retirer avec toute sa Garnison pour s’en Retourner paisiblement dans son pays et luy promettons d’Empecher qu’il luy soit fait aucune insulte par nos françois, et de maintenir autant qu’il sera en notre pouvoir tous les sauvages qui sont avec nous.


Il luy sera permis de sortir et d’emporter tout ce qui leur appartiendra a l’Exception de L’Artillerie que nous nous reservons.2


Que nous leur accordons les honneurs de la guerre qu’ils sortiront tambour battant avec une piece de petit Canon, voulant bien par la leur prouver que nous les traittons en amis.


Que sitôt les articles signés de part et d’autre, ils ameneront le Pavillon Anglois


Que demain a la pointe du jour un détachement françois ira pour faire défiler la Garnison et prendre pocession du dit fort.


Que comme les Anglois n’ont presque plus de chevaux ni Boeufs, ils seront libres de mettre leurs effets en cache pour venir les charcher lorsqu’ils auront Rejoint des Chevaux; ils pourront a cette fin y laisser des gardiens en tel nombre qu’ils voudront aux conditions qu’ils donneront parole d’honneur de ne plus travailler a aucun Etablissement dans ce lieu icy ni en deça la hauteur des terres pendant une année a compter de ce jour.3


Que comme les Anglois ont en leur pouvoir un officier, deux Cadets et Généralement les prisonniers qu’ils nous ont faits dans l’assasinat du Sr de Jumonville, et qu’ils promettent de les renvoyer avec Sauve garde jusqu’au fort Duquesne situé sur la Belle Rivière, et que pour sûreté de cet article ainsi que de ce traitté. Mrs Jacob Vannebrame et Robert Stobo tous deux Capitaines, nous seront Remis en ôtage jusqu’a l’arrivée de nos Canadien et françois ci dessus mentionnés.4

Nous nous obligeons de notre coté a donner escorte pour Remener en sureté les deux officiers qui nous promettent nos françois dans deux mois et demi pour le plus tard

fait double sur un des postes de notre Blocus de jour et an que dessus

Pr. Copie ont signé Mrs. James Mackay, Go. Washington
Coulon Villier
pour copie Coulon Villier

DS, in French, Archives of District of Montreal; DS, sold by Parke Bernet, Sale no. 1385, 1952; copy in French, Archives Nationales de Quebec; copy, in French, P.R.O., C.O. 5/14, f.212; copy, in English, Vi; copy, in French, Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères; copy, in French, Contrecoeur Papers, Le Seminaire de Quebec. A translation of the capitulation appears as part of Document IX of Memorial Containing a Summary View of Facts description begins [Jacob Nicolas Moreau]. A Memorial Containing a Summary View of Facts, with Their Authorities. In Answer to the Observations Sent by the English Ministry to the Courts of Europe. Translated from the French. New York, 1757. description ends , 102–3:

“Capitulation granted by Mr. de Villiers, Captain and Commander of his Majesty’s Troops, to those English Troops actually in Fort-Necessity.

July the 3d, 1754, at 8 o’clock at Night.

As our Intentions have never been to trouble the Peace and good Harmony subsisting between the two Princes in Amity, but only to revenge the Assassination committed on one of our Officers, bearer of a Summon, as also on his Escorte, and to hinder any Establishment on the Lands of the Dominions of the King my Master: Upon these Considerations, we are willing to shew Favour to all the English who are in the said Fort, on the following Conditions, viz.

Article I.

We grant Leave to the English Commander, to retire with all his Garrison, and to return peaceably into his own Country; and promise to hinder his receiving any Insult from us French; and to restrain, as much as shall be in our Power, the Indians that are with us.


It shall be permitted him to go out, and carry with him all that belongs to them, except the Artillery, which we reserve.


That we will allow them the Honours of War; that they march out with Drums beating, and one Swivel Gun, being willing thereby to convince them, that we treat them as Friends.


That as soon as the Articles are signed by both Parties, the English Colours shall be struck.


That To-morrow, at Break of Day, a Detachment of French shall go and make the Garrison file of, and take Possession of the Fort.


As the English have but few Oxen or Horses left, they are at Liberty to hide their Effects, and to come again, and search for them, when they have a Number of Horses sufficient to carry them off; and that for this End, they may have what Guards they please; on Condition, that they give their Word of Honour, to work no more upon any Buildings in this Place, or any Part on this Side the Mountains.


And as the English have in their Power, one Officer, two Cadets, and most of the Prisoners made at the Assassination of M. de Jumonville, and promise to send them back, with a safe Guard to Fort du Quesne, situate on the Ohio. For Surety of their performing this Article as well as this Treaty, M. Jacob Vambrane and Robert Stobo, both Captains, shall be delivered to us as Hostages, till the Arrival of our French and Canadians above mentioned. We oblige ourselves on our Side, to give an Escorte to return these two Officers in Safety; and expect to have our French in two Months and a Half at farthest. A Duplicate of this being fixed upon one of the Posts of our Blockade, the Day and Year above mentioned.”

1The use of the word “L’assasin” in this article and “l’assasinat du Sr. de Jumonville” in article VII created an embarrassing controversy for GW and the officers of the regiment. The words referred to the death of Villiers’s brother Jumonville in GW’s skirmish with the French on 28 May. See GW to Dinwiddie, 29 May 1754. To the French, the signatures of GW and Mackay to the document was an admission that they had “assassinated” an emissary of France while he was on a peaceful mission to the British. After the capitulation GW and other veterans of the battle at Fort Necessity insisted that not only this word but other portions of the capitulation had been mistranslated by Jacob Van Braam. For GW’s comments on the surrender, see Documents III and IV. In his discussion of the terms of capitulation Adam Stephen stated that when Van Braam “returned with the French Proposals, we were obliged to take the Sense of them by Word of Mouth: It rained so heavily that he could not give us a written Translation of them; we could scarcely keep the Candle light to read them; they were wrote in a bad Hand, on wet and blotted Paper, so that no Person could read them but Van Braam, who had heard them from the Mouth of the French Officer. Every Officer, then present, is willing to declare, that there was no such Word as Assassination mentioned; the Terms expressed to us, were ‘the Death of Jumonville.’ If it had been mentioned, we could have got it altered, as the French seemed very condescending, and willing to bring Things to a Conclusion, during the whole Course of the Interview” (Maryland Gazette [Annapolis], 29 Aug. 1754).

2Villiers wrote in his journal that “we obliged them to leave us their Cannon, consisting of nine Pieces,” and both Stephen and John Shaw claimed that the French agreed to destroy the swivels rather than take them back to Fort Duquesne. According to Shaw’s account, when the regiment marched out of Fort Necessity on the morning of 4 July they were “obliged to leave behind our swivel Guns and some Arms which soon after were destroyed and broke to Pieces by their Indians, such of our Men that were in that little Fort having broke the Heads of the Powder Barrels and strown it about that it might be of no Service to the French” (“The Journal of M. de Villiers,” Memorial Containing a Summary View of Facts description begins [Jacob Nicolas Moreau]. A Memorial Containing a Summary View of Facts, with Their Authorities. In Answer to the Observations Sent by the English Ministry to the Courts of Europe. Translated from the French. New York, 1757. description ends , 101; McDowell, S.C. Indian Affairs description begins William L. McDowell, Jr., ed. Documents relating to Indian Affairs. 2 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1958-70. In Colonial Records of South Carolina, 2d ser., vols. 2–3. description ends , 6; Maryland Gazette, 29 Aug. 1754.

3The words “pendant une année a compter de ce jour” do not appear in the Mémoire or Memorial Containing a Summary View of Facts description begins [Jacob Nicolas Moreau]. A Memorial Containing a Summary View of Facts, with Their Authorities. In Answer to the Observations Sent by the English Ministry to the Courts of Europe. Translated from the French. New York, 1757. description ends . Stephen noted that “another Article, which appears to our Disadvantage, is that whereby we oblige ourselves not to attempt an Establishment beyond the Mountains: This was translated to us, ‘Not to attempt Buildings or Improvements on the Lands of his Most Christian Majesty.’ This we never intended, as we denied he had any Lands there, and therefore thought it needless to dispute that Point” (Maryland Gazette, 29 Aug. 1754).

4“The Article, which relates to the Hostages,” Stephen later insisted, “is quite different from the Translation of it given to us; they are mentioned for the Security of the Performance of the Treaty, as well as for the Return of the Prisoners. There was never such Intention on our Side, nor mention of it made on theirs by our Interpreter. Thus by the evil Intention or Negligence of Van Braam, our Conduct is blamed by a busy World, fond of finding Fault without considering Circumstances, or giving just Attention to Reasons, which might be offered to obviate their Clamours” (Maryland Gazette, 29 Aug. 1754).

Index Entries