George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fairfax, 31 March 1757

From William Fairfax

Wmsburg 31st March 1757

Dear Sir

Yesterday by the Return of Capt. Ouchterlony I had the Pleasure to enquire of Him concerning your State and Welfare, but He said the Uncertainty of his coming hither prevented his acquainting You with it: however left You well.1

Lieut. Baker setting off with about Sixty of the Nottoway & Tuskarora Indians equipt with Arms &c.2 to joyn the Tribes of Cherokees & Catawbas before Sent under the Care & Conduct of Majr Lewis & Lieut. Williams will I hope be a welcome Reinforcement and productive of good Events—Capt. Jack Chief of the Tuskaroras produc’d to Me in Council your Letter of Invitation, wrote by Bryan Fx, who I wish, had not resignd but continued with You.3 I will not doubt that You had a kind Reception from Lord Loudoun, and that his Orders for the Destination of your Regiment will be agreeable to the Corps.

The Governor came to Town this Day abt 12 o’Clock accompanied wth Govr Dobbs in seeming good Health and little fatigu’d.4 Every Member of the Council is Summond to meet at the Capitol on Monday next, Col. Pp Lee included lately sworn & admitted. Colo. Tayloe has also the King’s Order and may soon be expected to show it for the Same Purpose. By the Governors Discourses whatever the intended Disposition of our Troops may be, is to be an enjoin’d Secret: But I suppo⟨se⟩ You was consulted and thought worthy of being entrusted at least with our Southern Attempts.5 As I apprehend You will not go up to Fort Cumberland (now expected to be given up to Maryland) before You get Money to pay the Arrears due to the Regiment I have desird Mr Baker to leave this Letter at Fredericksburg. He has taken kind Care of his Charge and appeard to be of a sober and good Disposition: if wanted, writes a good Hand, and to Him referr for pticulars.

I don’t yet know whether the Genl Assembly will be calld before Time of prorogation the last Thursday next Month. My best Complts to yr Mother, Bro: Sister and Friends—I am with all Friendly Regards Yr affect. & obedt

W: Fairfax


1The southern governors’ conference with Loudoun in Philadelphia broke up on 23 Mar., and GW was in Annapolis on his way to Alexandria on 30 March. David Ouchterlony, a former half-pay officer in the Dutch service, had joined the Royal American Regiment as a lieutenant with date of rank 7 Feb. 1756. Captain Ouchterlony seems to have made several trips to Virginia during this time, conveying northward Virginia recruits for his regiment. He was killed at Quebec in 1759.

2Dinwiddie and GW agreed in December that Lt. James Baker was the man to conduct in the spring a party of Tuscarora and Nottoway Indians from south of the James River to the frontier. See GW to Dinwiddie, 19 Dec. 1756, and Dinwiddie to GW, 27 Dec. 1756. On 29 Mar. in Dinwiddie’s absence Fairfax as president of the council met in Williamsburg with “King Blunt and thirty three Tuscaroroes, seven Meherrins, two Saponies and thirteen Nottoways” before sending them up to GW in Baker’s charge (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:38).

3The journals of the Virginia council for 4 April 1757 reported “that Captain Jack the Chief of the Tusks next to the King who was old and feeble, produced and delivered to him [William Fairfax] a Letter from Colonel Washington inviting and encouraging them to come and join us against our Enemies” (ibid., 6:34–39). Bryan Fairfax ran away from home in the spring of 1757 (see William Fairfax to GW, 6 May 1757).

4Dinwiddie wrote William H. Lyttelton from Williamsburg in a letter dated 2 April that he had arrived the day before. Arthur Dobbs became governor of North Carolina in 1754.

5The council met on 4 April to receive Dinwiddie’s report on the meeting in Philadelphia with Loudoun. Although Philip Ludwell Lee’s commission as a member of the council was read at the meeting of 22 Mar. 1757, he first attended the council on 14 April. John Tayloe’s commission was read on 11 April and he made his first appearance on 14 April.

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