George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 24 November 1757

From Robert Stewart

Fort Loudoun Novemr 24th 1757

Dear Sir

When big with the hopes of your speedy Recovery indulging myself in the pleasing thought and impatiently expecting the agreeable accot Jenkins handed me your very obliging & affectionate Epistle of the 20th Inst.1 But how great was my Disappointment on Accot of the bad State your obstinate & deeply rooted Disorder has reduc’d you to? I easily conceive how disagreeable it must be to a person of sense to be laid under a necessity of paying a due deference to the Pompuous Grimace and formal Prescriptions of the Learn’d Faculty under whose hands you have the misfortune of being, but I hope My Dear Colo. that not only regard to Self Preservation but to your Country in general and the Regiment in particular will induce you implicitly to obey every order your Physicians may Judge necessary for the Conservation of that Life all Justly rate so high and for which you are undoubtedly in some measure answerable to your Country—I Beg you’ll Pardon this Freedom which proceeds from the deep Concern I’m under.

By the Inclos’d from ⟨Mr Rut⟩herford you’ll observe his Success2—Capn Swearingen requests you’ll send him a Line signifying that the Rangers will not be Incorporated into the Regiment and if you cou’d limit the time of their Service it would greatly accelerate the Recruiting—Cunningham (of the Mill) says that Mr Ross Bargain’d with him for a qty of Flower to be Deliver’d here, and that the Contractor won’t receive it he begs to be inform’d what to do?3 Capn Trent wants to know if you’ll be Security for the Indian Goods Capn Gist wants from him? Bush says the things you order’d for the Artillery will amount to a pretty large Sum, he daily expects them and as he’s to pay ready money for them begs you’ll Please give orders for Paying him4—In consequence of the Inclos’d from Capn McKenzie I sent up the Dun[ke]r Docr which I hope you’ll approve off5—no accots of the Enemy since—The Works goes on here as well as can be expected, both your Smith & Trigg have been sick for several Days but are now got to work again6—Mr Boyd arriv’d some time since with four Months Pay 2 of which he has paid I Beg you’ll ⟨mutilated un⟩easiness from the affairs on the Frontier as they are in as good a Posture as can reasonably be hop’d for.

Agreeable to your Desire I have wrote to Colo. Stanwix (who is now mov’d to Lancaster.) Inclos’d is a Copy thereof likewise of my last to the Governor and his answer by which you’ll observe he Orders me to send him a List of the Deserters that were brought back to the Regiment and to whom the Rewards were paid?7 this I cannot do unless you’ll Please send it me from your Cash or Rect Book His Honr has given his approbation to my going to the Northd and when I reflect how far the Season is already advanc’d how much time it will require to perform my part in the Event of Success the Difficulties Delays may occasion and how vastly improbable my ever having such another chance I begin to Dread I have stay’d too long, therefore requests you’ll be Pleas’d to give me your Leave and would it not fatigue you too much a Letter to His Lordship and another to Captn Cunningham would be of infinite Service to me as you must be suppos’d to know me (as a Soldier) better than any that have Recommended me I would ⟨mutilated⟩s give you so much trouble in your present Situation did not this seem to be my last Effort for being extricated out of that disagreeable uncertainty in which I have so long liv’d and were I not morally certain your Letters wou’d be of vast advantage to me.8

I Return you Mr Smith’s Letter, Magazine &C. with a List of what have and will beyond doubt Subscribe I will exert myself in getting all I can9—I’m vext I have tir’d you with the tedious length of this will only add my most fervent Wishes for your speedy Recovery which would make everybody here immensely happy particularly him who ever is With the most perfect Esteem & respect Dear Sir Your most Affectionate & Most Obliged hble Servt

Robert Stewart

As for Election ⟨mutilated⟩ thing goes on in all Quart⟨mutilated⟩sfaction—no accots ⟨mutilated ne⟩w Governr.10


1GW’s letter has not been found.

3Stewart was presumably referring to Capt. Thomas Swearingen of the Frederick County militia rather than to his son Lt. Thomas Swearingen of Robert Rutherford’s rangers. David Ross had undertaken to supply the garrison at Fort Loudoun with provisions equal to those left at Fort Cumberland by the Virginia Regiment when Capt. John Dagworthy and the Maryland troops took over the fort in early summer. See particularly GW to Dinwiddie, 10 June 1757, n. 10.

4William Trent was an Indian trader in Pennsylvania, but see also George Mason to GW, 13 Sept. 1756, n.2, and 4 Jan. 1758. This was perhaps Philip Bush, the Winchester merchant.

5See Robert McKenzie to Stewart, November 1757 (Enclosure I).

6John Trigg from King and Queen County and Benjamin Smith from Charles City County were both in GW’s company. Trigg, a 25–year-old Virginia farmer, joined the Virginia Regiment in November 1754, and Benjamin Smith, a 27–year-old Englishman who was a bookbinder by trade, joined in June 1756.

7See Stewart to Dinwiddie, 9 Nov. 1757; Dinwiddie to Stewart, 15 Nov., and Stewart to John Stanwix, 24 Nov. 1757, are printed here as Enclosures II and III. An entry in GW’s Regimental Accounts, 9 Jan. 1758, indicates that he had paid out £64 “for apprehending Sundrie Deserters as per Receiptes at Sundrie times” (DLC:GW).

8No letters from GW to Lord Loudoun and James Cuninghame supporting Stewart’s quest for a commission in the British army have been found.

10This mutilated postscript seems to suggest that GW had already decided, and that it was known that he had decided, to stand for election to the House of Burgesses from Frederick County (see also Nathaniel Thompson to GW, 20 Feb. 1758). It was by this time certain that Dinwiddie would be leaving soon, and it was expected that the new governor would promptly call for new elections to the assembly. Dinwiddie sailed 12 Jan. 1758, but his replacement Francis Fauquier did not arrive until 5 June and the poll was not taken until 24 July. For an account of the election of GW and Thomas Bryan Martin to the House of Burgesses from Frederick County, see Charles Smith to GW, 24 July 1758.

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