George Washington Papers

Proclamation, 15 August 1756


[Winchester, 15 August 1756]

You see, Gentlemen Soldiers, that it hath pleased our most gracious Sovereign to declare War in Form against the French King and (for divers good Causes, but more particularly for their ambitious Usurpations and Encroachments on his American Dominions) to pronounce all the said French Kings Subjects and Vassals, to be Enemies to his Crown and Dignity, and hath willed and required all his Subjects and People, and in a more especial Manner commanded his Captain General of his Forces, his Governors, and all other his Commanders and Officers, to do and execute all Acts of Hostility in the Prosecution of this just and honorable War; and though our utmost Endeavours can contribute but little to the Advancement of his Majesty’s Honor, and the Interest of his Governments, yet, let us shew our willing Obedience to the best of Kings, and by a strict Attachment to his royal Commands, demonstrate the Love and Loyalty we bear to his sacred Person; let us by Rules of unerring Bravery strive to merit his royal Favor, and a better Establishment as a Reward for our Services.1

Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg), 27 Aug. 1756.

1Dinwiddie wrote GW on 19 Aug. 1756 that he had sent him a copy of his proclamation of war made at Williamsburg on 7 August. GW’s Proclamation may have been derived from Dinwiddie’s, which has not been found. In this issue the Virginia Gazette reported from an “Extract of a Letter from Winchester, dated August 17, 1756”: “On Sunday Colonel Washington having received his Majesty’s Declaration of War against the French King, with the Governor’s Commands to proclaim it in the most solemn Manner, he ordered the three Companies of the Virginia Regiment at this Place, to appear under Arms of the grand Parade at three o’Clock, on the Evening of the next Day; when attended by the principal Gentlemen of this Town, they marched in regular Order to Fort Loudon, where the Soldiery being properly drawn up, the Declaration was read aloud; His Majesty’s, and many other loyal Healths were drank. Success to his Majesty’s Arms, and a total Extirpation of the French out of America, under a triple Discharge of the Artillery, and three Rounds of Musquetry, with loud Acclamations of the People. After this they moved in regular Order round the Town, proclaimed it at the Cross Streets, and being returned to the grand Parade, it was again read, and the Men dismissed by Colonel Washington.” The letter went on to say that expresses were then sent to Fort Cumberland and “all our other Garrisons” with instructions for the proclamation at the head of the troops.

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