From George William Fairfax
London Decr 6th 1757
I arrived here the 25th of last month since which there has not been an Opportunity to America, And now the conveyance so uncertain that I hope you’l excuse this short Epistle, and permitt me good Sir to acquaint you that our applycations remains doubtfull, And that its difficult to have a hearing by reason the great ones are so much taken up with affairs of much greater consequence.1
The Parliament meet the 1st of this instant, and Unanimously concurred in very Loyal Addresses, and with a firm resolution to Aid the Victorious King of Prussia who has Surpassed all Expectation and I hope yett will give the French a more definative stroke.
Their has been a Court of Enquiry on the late Secret Expedition, and the other day a Court Martial fixed to try Genl M—t &ca. In short it ingrosses the whole Legislature, so that those in America are not thought of, But its suggested by some that there will be great alteration there and that Ld Geo. Sackvile may be expected, but this is a Secret, The Duke has certainly resign’d, Sr John Legonier and two more appointed Feild Marshals, and the former created an Irish Peer.2
The Parliament will Adjourn for the Holydays, when I shall go with Mr Fairfax into Kent, and afterwards to Yorkshire where I shall tarry till the approch of the Spring, in which time if you have any other Commands it will give me pleasure to Execute them.3
When matters are more Ripe, I will take time to give you a particular Accot till when I remain with the greatest Esteem Dear Sir Your Affect. and very humble Servt
Go: Wm Fairfax
1. For an explanation of Fairfax’s purpose in going to London, see GW to Richard Peters, 30 Sept. 1757, n.1. George William Fairfax wrote Lord Fairfax, 6 Dec., that he had gone to see “our worthy friend Mr. [Edward] Athawes, who told me the vacant place was not then disposed of, and that the Commissioner of the Customs had recommended me to the Treasury, whereupon I went and had your kind letter delivered to the Duke of Newcastle, and there waited on Lord Granvile who kindly received me, and promised to do me any service in his power, and thus I rested until Mr. Fairfax [Lord Fairfax’s brother Robert] came to town who waited on his Grace, and I hope has so far succeeded that I shall be appointed to that small place [the collector of customs for the South Potomac]” (Neill, The Fairfaxes of England and America description begins Edward D. Neill. The Fairfaxes of England and America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Including Letters from and to Hon. William Fairfax, President of Council of Virginia, and His Sons Col. George William Fairfax and Rev. Bryan, Eighth Lord Fairfax, the Neighbors and Friends of George Washington. Albany, 1868. description ends , 93–95). George William Fairfax was probably the “Mr. Fairfax” listed among the passengers of the packet Harriot, New York to Falmouth, which was attacked by a French privateer on 11 Nov. 1757. The crew and passengers fought off the French vessel and continued to England (Pennsylvania Gazette [Philadelphia], 16 Feb. 1758).
2. The “late Secret Expedition” against the French naval base at Rochefort had been intended as a diversion to help the duke of Cumberland, fighting in Germany. Gen. Sir John Mordaunt, appointed to command the amphibious operation of which he disapproved, procrastinated, eventually bringing his squadron back to England without accomplishing anything. At about the same time, news of the duke of Cumberland’s capitulation in Germany (see Stanwix to GW, 19 Sept. 1757, n.3) reached England. Mordaunt was tried by court-martial but acquitted, and the duke of Cumberland, now in disfavor with the king, resigned all his offices and appointments including that of captain general. On 26 Oct. 1757 Sir John Ligonier (1680–1770), an old experienced soldier, was made commander in chief of all military forces in Great Britain, but without the title of captain general. Ligonier, Sir Robert Rich, and Lord Molesworth were made field marshals, and Ligonier was elevated to the Irish peerage with the title Baron Ligonier of Enniskillen. Lord George Sackville received the office of lieutenant general of the ordnance.
3. George William Fairfax wrote his wife Sarah Cary Fairfax, 12 Dec. 1757: “Mr. [Robert] Fairfax went down to Leeds Castle yesterday and left me to push my own way, and then to follow to spend my Christmas and to prepare for his imbarking with me in March” (Neill, The Fairfaxes of England and America description begins Edward D. Neill. The Fairfaxes of England and America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Including Letters from and to Hon. William Fairfax, President of Council of Virginia, and His Sons Col. George William Fairfax and Rev. Bryan, Eighth Lord Fairfax, the Neighbors and Friends of George Washington. Albany, 1868. description ends , 95–97). Lord Fairfax of Greenway Court acquired Leeds Castle in Kent and the great proprietary in the Northern Neck of Virginia through his mother Catherine, the daughter of Thomas, Lord Culpeper, who was governor of Virginia after Bacon’s Rebellion until 1683.