George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fairfax, 20 October 1755

From William Fairfax

Wmsburg 20th Octr 1755


I had the Pleasure to receive your Favor by Colo. Stephen.1 As the Genl Assembly is Summond to meet the 27th inst. which may hold ten Days and as some Alteration in the Militia Law will be propos’d agreeable to what We talkt of, I hope the Service You went to do has been so successfully effected or the Orders You may leave, in a probable Way as to admit your Coming whilst the Ho. of Burgesses are Sitting.2

Mrs Fx went with her Sister Ambler to Hampton3 after I show’d her yr Letter and We all please our Selves with the Expectation of Seeing You at furthest next Week and perhaps of having your Company on our Return.

In a late Letter our Governor rec’d from Genl Shirley A Proposal is made for our sending Comissioners to Meet others From the neighbouring Colonys at N. York to consider of and agree on a Proportion of Expences for the present Service and what may be thought necessary for the collecting our Forces early in the Spring to begin the Operations.4 If the Ho. of B. consent, Commissioners will be Soon Sent and I could Wish You one of Them.

For Pticulars I must also Refer to Colo. Stephen. Wishing You an Encrease of Honor in extirpating the bloodthirsty Savages, a safe and quick Return to Us I remain Dear Sir Yr affecte Friend &c.

W. Fairfax

P.S. Since writing the forgoing have been told that You have detected some daring Persons that have drest & painted themselves like Indians and frightned many, the Govr thinks fit to be sent hither to receive due Punishment.5


1This letter has not been found. Adam Stephen went on to Williamsburg after overtaking GW at Col. John Baylor’s on 8 Oct.

2GW had most recently complained to Dinwiddle about the inadequacies of the militia in a letter of 11–14 Oct. in which he insisted upon “the necessity of putting the Militia under better Regulation.” Dinwiddie summoned the burgesses to meet on 27 Oct. and dissolved the assembly on 8 Nov. after it had passed an act tightening military discipline.

3Sarah Cary Fairfax, the wife of George William Fairfax of Belvoir, and Mary Cary Ambler (1733–1781), since 1754 the wife of Edward Ambler of Jamestown, were the daughters of Col. Wilson and Sarah Cary of Ceelys at Hampton in Elizabeth City County, not far from Williamsburg.

4Dinwiddie supported Gov. William Shirley’s proposals sent out in a circular letter dated 9 Sept., but the burgesses concluded that “the sending Commissioners at this Time to New-York, can answer no good Purpose,” with the result that Virginia was not represented at the meeting in the spring of 1756 to lay plans for a concerted offensive against the French and Indians (Shirley to Horatio Sharpe, 9 Sept. 1755, in Browne, Letters to Horatio Sharpe description begins William Hand Browne, ed. “Correspondence of Gov. Horatio Sharpe, 1754–1765.” In Archives of Maryland, vol. 31 (Baltimore, 1911): 469-572. description ends , 76–77; Dinwiddie to Shirley, 18 Oct. 1755, in Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 2:244; JHB, 1752–1755, 1756–1758 description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 319–21).

5See GW to Dinwiddie, 11–14 Oct. 1755, in which GW describes a similar incident.

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