George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Dinwiddie, 1 June 1757

From Robert Dinwiddie

[Williamsburg] June 1st 1757


Yours of the 24th May I received, Serjt Fent has given a pretty good Accott of his remarks at Fort Du Quesne &ca & appears to be a well behav’d Man—I’m sorry to acquaint You that the Bill for Supplies was rejected by the Councill but the Ho: of Burgesses are prepairing another which I hope will have a better Fate, they propose augmenting the forces, but ’till they vote Suplies nothing can be done.1 I shall then consider on what You wrote about Voluntiers—I hope Mr Atkin is with You long before this & that he will pacify the clamorous, avaritious Demands of the Cherokees—I was surpris’d the Lieutts ordered by me did not come with the Detatchment, Steenburgan—was afraid of being arested, I therefore order’d Lieut. Stewart to go, as the Man of Warr waited for them & they cou’d not be delayed—Im sorry Colo. Stephen has given any of the regimental Stores to the Indians without Orders, he must answer for them; He lost 12 Men on the March, they deserted & I’ve reason to think was by Carelesness, & brought a great No. of Women & Children, I ordered 6 Women to a Company, but I believe he has exceeded that No. on his Embarkation2—Colo. Bouquet was here,3 & examining the No. of Batmen allowed to each Company in the Royal Americans, he assur’d me there are but two to each Company, & on Musters &ca they’re obliged to appear in the Ranks, that Colo. Stanwix has no more allowed him, & undoubtedly you inform’d yourself of this at Philada. As this is the Case surely Colo. Washington won’t expect more than Colo. Stanwix, & surely it was your Duty to inform me of this, & conform your Regimt to the Allowances given the Americans, & pray how shall I appear to Lord Loudoun on my Report of our Regimt, when so widely different from that he commands, its true I settled it otherways wth You when here being ignorant of the Allowances given of Bat Men. But now as I am properly inform’d thereof, You are only to allow two Batmen to a Company, & two to yourself, if You have a Livery Servt he may be allowed Provisions with the Soldiery—You may observe that I take his Majestys Regulars for a Precedent, to our Provincial forces, & You know the Clamour of the People in regard to the vast Expence, & it’s your Duty as well as mine, to make all prudent Savings.4 I rema. with Respect Sr yr humble Servant

LB, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers.

1The House of Burgesses passed a bill entitled: “An Act for the better Defence of the Colony in this Time of Danger, and for other Purposes therein mentioned” on 28 May 1757 and ordered it sent to the council for concurrence (JHB, 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 1752–1755, 1756–1758, 479). After the third reading of the bill on 31 May, “the Council were equally divided, and the Bill fell of Course” (Leg. Journals, Council of Virginia description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed. Legislative Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 3 vols. Richmond, 1918–19. description ends , 3:1172). The House promptly denounced the council’s rejection of its bill, declaring that their action “may prove fatal to the British Colonies in general, and to this Colony in particular, by depriving it of its necessary Defence, in this Time of open War, against the Invasion of the French.” On the next day, 2 June 1757, the burgesses reintroduced the bill under the new title: “For granting an Aid to his Majesty, for the better Protection of this Colony . . .” (JHB, 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 1752–1755, 1756–1758, 482). The retitled bill went to the council on 3 June and the council gave it final approval on the same day. See 7 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 69–87 for the text of the act. See Richard Bland to GW, 7 June 1757, for Bland’s description of the passage of the bill.

2Adam Stephen commanded the detachment of two companies of the Virginia Regiment which sailed from Hampton to Charleston, S.C., on 31 May 1757. See particularly Dinwiddie to GW, 23–27 May 1757, n.4.

3Henry Bouquet (1719–1765), lieutenant colonel of the 1st battalion of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment, was the commander of the five companies of the Royal Americans that sailed to South Carolina with Adam Stephen and his contingent from the Virginia Regiment (see note 2). In 1758 he was second in command to Gen. John Forbes in the expedition to Fort Duquesne. From 1763 until his death two years later, Bouquet commanded all the British troops in the southern colonies in America. See Loudoun to Bouquet, 24 April 1757, and enclosures, in Stevens, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 1:85–100.

4For GW’s immediate response to Dinwiddie’s reduction in the number of batmen for his regiment, see GW to Dinwiddie, 10 June 1757. Dinwiddie had written GW on 16 May that he would have the allowance for his batmen that the committee overseeing expenditures for the Virginia Regiment had fixed.

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