George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Fairfax, 17 July 1757

From William Fairfax

Belvoir. 17 July—57.

Dear Sr

I rec’d yr Favor by Mr Kirkpatk1 and sorry that our Men have deserted in the great Number You mention, to Remedy such an evil Tendency appears improbable and whilst a branch of the Legislature seem afraid to enact a more forcible Law, all Delinquents will find an Asylum to skreen them—I am glad You are in a near Prospect of making Fort Loudoun defensible against any Enemy not very numerous and assisted with battering Cannon. You have or will be furnishd with two good Mortars, some Coehorn’s and Granado Shells &ca—I hope as most necessary.

If Mr Atkyn continues to disoblige the Indians thereby causing a general Dissatisfaction, I think You shou’d acquaint the Governor therewith, who together with the Council may let him know their Sentiments that if He perseveres in his uncommon Manner They will represent the Facts to Ld Loudoun who is to pay his Salary I suppose on his meriting it2—I wish You may be able to form the Companys so as to admit your visiting Us abt the first of next Mo.

I have been lately advisd, that my Son William Hy was seen abt a Week ago at Mr Nicholas’s, supposing He came in the late Ships from England. He signified to Me that his Desires were to Serve and act in the Military, of which I acquainted You when You set off for Philadelphia—If therefore a Lieuts. Comission in yr Regiment be vacant, Please to acquaint the Governor as I shall do as soon as Billy comes up, for I would not have him loose much Time in equipping himself for the laudable Undertaking. I persuade my Self Billy will be more Steady than Bryan has prov’d, and give You more Pleasure to encourage his Improvement in Military Skill.3

I am glad Capt. Gist is likely to be employd in Indian Affairs to his Advantage. His Daughter lives with Us and is kindly treated by Mrs Fx and Miss Hannah.4

At [ ]5 set

Billy this moment arriv’d, and I have acquainted him with the foregoing Article relating to his being Commissiond in our Regiment. He has brought Letters of Recomendation to Ld Loudoun & Genl Abercrombie, but as it is obvious there are many young Gentn with Ld Loudoun serving as Volunteers or Cadets which no doubt expect to be first commissiond It may be a long Time before Billy may have the Chance to be an Officer—The Letters to Ld Loudoun & Genl Abercrombie may be sent And I shall request Ld Fx to joyn his kind Recomendation of Billy to Ld Loudoun. In the mean time Billy can begin his first Rudiments under yr Discipline and if Ld Loudoun shd favor him wth his Commands, they can be attended. I hope We are not too late for a Commission under You, wch please to make known to the Govr as I shall soon do. The best Wishes of the Family attend You. Witness Yr affect. & obedient Servt &c.

W: Fairfax


1The letter has not been found.

2GW evidently wrote Fairfax about Atkin’s putting under arrest earlier in the month ten Indians who came into Winchester from the Cherokee country. See GW to John Stanwix, 15 July 1757.

3Fairfax must have spoken to GW about the military ambitions of his son William Henry Fairfax in February 1757 shortly before GW went to Philadelphia for the meeting with Loudoun. After the exchange of a number of letters between GW and William Fairfax and between GW and Dinwiddie, Dinwiddie sent to GW on 24 Sept. 1757 a lieutenant’s commission in the Virginia Regiment for William Henry Fairfax, but by the middle of October young Fairfax was at Loudoun’s headquarters in New York. Soon thereafter he purchased a commission in the 28th Regiment. He was killed in the siege of Quebec in 1759.

Robert Carter Nicholas (1728–1780), a prominent lawyer, lived in Williamsburg. He was married to Anne Cary Nicholas, the sister of Sarah Cary Fairfax.

4Nancy Gist, daughter of Christopher Gist, was living at Belvoir with the Fairfax family at this time.

5Fairfax here drew a circle with a dot in the middle instead of writing sun.

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