George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 23–27 May 1757

From Robert Dinwiddie

Williamsburg May 23 [–27] 1757


This probably may be deliver’d to You by the Hon. Edmd Atkin Esqr. who has his Majesty’s Commission to transact & superintend all the Affairs with the different Tribes of Indians the back of Georgia, South & No. Ca⟨r⟩olina & this Dominion; I desire You will receive him in a genteel Manner, & on his meeting with the Indians now at Fort Cumberland, give a Grace to his Operations by having a Company under Arms when he opens his Commission & talks with them—As the whole Negotiation is left to him, he probably may acquaint You with every Thing he transacts with them.

Our Assembly has not fix’d on the Supplies, & in course not yet printed any new Currency, but am told it will be done very soon; & You may assure the Officers & Soldiers that as soon as Money is coined, I will send up by Mr Boyd when he comes here, sufficient to pay all their Arrears.

If the Cherokees return Home I think it will be necessary You shou’d send1 ⟨a detachment⟩ with them, ⟨either to⟩ Dickinson’s or Vaus’s Fort, with design to keep ⟨th⟩em in order on their March thro’ the Country;2 I am ⟨s⟩ensible Your Men will be backward in marching ⟨w⟩ithout their Arrears; but if You can prevail on them to march You may assure them their Money shall be ⟨p⟩unctually sent them, the Pay Master bringing down ⟨a⟩ proper Acct of what may be due; I have endeavour’d ⟨a⟩ll in my Power to get the Money, & I am now assur’d it ⟨w⟩ill be very soon issued.

If Mr Atkin leaves any Goods at Fort Loudoun ⟨Y⟩ou may give a Receipt for them; & I suppose he will in ⟨Tim⟩e appoint a Person to act in his Absence; & any Goods ⟨th⟩at remain of the Indian Present brought from Fort Cumberland, deliver them to Mr Atkin, taking his Receipt.

Capt. Pearis I think has greatly misbehaved, Mr Atkin is to enquire into it, & if guilty he is to be dismiss’d.3

The Assembly proposes raising 1200 Men & three Compa⟨nies⟩ of Rangers of 100 Men each, but the Mode for raising them is not yet concerted, & I fear will be attended with great Difficulties.

I am surpriz’d Colo. Stephen is not come here with the two Companies; by his Letter of the 12th he said he shou’d be at Fredericksburg last Sonday was a Week, by which I expected him last Saturday.4

I cannot write You any Thing further till the Assembly goes thro’ the Business before them, in the mean Time I doubt not You will keep Your Men properly employ’d.

Capt. McNeill tells me he has a Ballance of the Money in his Hands that I gave him to pay for the Servants enlisted in Augusta, I have order’d him to pay it to You. I remain with Respect5 Sir Your humble Servant

Robt Dinwiddie

P:S: If Mr Atkin at any Time shou’d incline to be in Priva⟨te⟩6 with the Indians, I desire You will take care to prev⟨ent⟩ his being interrupted.

27th Last night Collo. Stephens arived here with his men & is marched this day for Hampton, I am out of order & much fatigued. adieu

LS, DLC:GW; MH: Jared Sparks Collection. The letter was written on both sides of a sheet of paper, and the sheet was torn approximately in half. The top part of both pages of the letter are in DLC; the bottom parts are in MH. The letter appears to be in the hand of John Kirkpatrick. The second postscript, dated “27th,” is in Dinwiddie’s shaky hand, a rare sample of his handwriting from his years in Virginia.

1The portion of the first page, at DLC, ends here; and the portion at MH begins with the lower half of the words taken to be “a detachment.” The lefthand margin of the lower part of the first page has been torn off. The letters in angle brackets in this and the next paragraph are the letters that are missing as a consequence of the tear. In his Writings of Washington, Stanislaus Hamilton prints only the top, or DLC, portion of the letter, but he does supply the letters missing from words on the lower half of the page at MH, indicating that the scrap torn from the lower left margin remained with the upper half of the letter in DLC. Hamilton also supplies words or parts of words that he mistakenly supposed came at the end of the lines that were missing to him.

2GW issued orders to John David Wilper (Woelpper), a sergeant in Peter Hog’s company, on 7 June 1757 to conduct the Cherokee to the North Carolina line, which he did.

3The first part of the second page of the manuscript begins here. See note 1. Edmond Atkin wrote George Croghan on 8 June 1757: “Captn Paris, not pursuing the Orders he went out with, and baulking a particularly Service intended[,] had carried [Wawhatchee and Youghtanno with their parties of Cherokee warriors into Maryland and Pennsylvania at the end of April] to offer their Services. This Governor Dinwiddie thought wrong, as the Indians were brought to the assistance of this Colony, & supported with great Expence to it, & Captain Paris was in its pay and Service by his Commission. . . . I was impowered by Governor Dinwiddie to discharge him in his name, on account of the many Complaints he had received against him in other Respects” (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 3:175–81). One of the complaints was lodged by Clement Read who reported that Richard Pearis as guide to Wawhatchee’s party did nothing to halt the Indians’ rampage in Lunenburg County in early April. See George Mercer to GW, 24 April 1757, n.1. For Pearis’s view of the matter, see GW to Dinwiddie, 10 June 1757, n.1. For further elaboration of Atkin’s complaints about Pearis, see particularly Atkin to Horatio Sharpe, 12, 30 June 1757, to William Denny, 15 Sept. 1757 (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 3:183–86, 197–201, 268–73).

4Dinwiddie’s postscript indicates that Stephen arrived on 26 May, and Dinwiddie’s final order to Stephen to sail from Hampton to Charleston, S.C., with fewer than two hundred men from the Virginia Regiment is dated 26 May. The expedition set to sea on 31 May. See Dinwiddie to GW, 5 April 1757, n.2.

5The second part of the second page of the manuscript begins here. See note 1.

6The letters in angle brackets are on the missing margin of the sheet described in note 1.

Index Entries