George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Blair, 2 April 1758

To John Blair

To The President—written on the road to Winchr

Honble Sir,April 2, 1758

The Bearer, unfortunately pursuing me, insted of continuing on from Fredericksburgh (when he heard that I had passed that place in my way to Alexandria) is the cause of the enclosed being detained so long from your Honor.1 The business which carried me by Alexanda, was partly of a public and partly of a private nature; and I embraced this opportunity of accomplishing both, doubting whether another might offer, before I should be obliged to take the field.2

The enclosed papers contain matters of a most important and interesting nature. The subject is explicitly handled; for which reason I shall urge nothing more on it, than to recommend, in the most pressing and submissive manner, the necessity of providing for the reception of our Indian Friends. The consequence of inviting these people to our assistance, and their finding us so unprepared when they come, may be destructive of our Interest; it being the cause already of much murmurring and discontent.3

These People are too sensible of their importance, to be put off with vague promises.

I do not know at whose Expence those numerous parties of Indians, are to be furnished, whether at the charge of the southern colonies in general, or this Government in particular? But of this I am fully satisfied, that, until such time as the indian agent, or some other person, is invested with Power, and the means also of laying in suitable necessaries for them; we shall never be in a condition, either of fitting them for war, or giving them content. For, although much money hath been laid out for Goods to present them with, yet those presents have been so injudiciously chosen, that, when they have been offered to the Indians, they have laughed at, and refused them. I have no other motive for representing this matter so freely to your Honor, than as the Assembly are about to sit, that those Inconveniences, if they should appear such, being fully represented, may be redressed.

I have now, Sir, to apologize for my paper, &c. The Bearer overtook me on the road within less than a days ride of Winchester; and being unwilling to detain the enclosed, put into the first house to dispatch him, which was unprovided with paper—except such as could be taken from a Book; and such is made use of by Your Honors’ Most obed. Servant,



1Capt. Lt. Thomas Bullitt sent a courier to GW from Fort Loudoun with William Denny’s letter of 25 Mar. and its enclosures and also a copy of Bullitt’s reply to Denny, 31 Mar., and a copy of the minutes of a council of war held at Fort Loudoun on 30 March (see Denny to GW, 25 Mar. 1758, n.4). All of this GW is forwarding to Pres. John Blair. See also Blair to GW, 9 April 1758.

2For references to the proposed summer campaign, see GW to Stanwix, 4 Mar. 1758, n.6, and GW to John Blair, 9 April 1758, n.3.

3Bullitt, who had been in command at Fort Loudoun since Capt. Robert Stewart’s departure, wrote this about Indian supplies in his letter to Gov. William Denny, 31 Mar. 1758: “As the Success of our Arms in this Quarter, will, in a great Measure depend on the supporting and spiriting up our Friend Indians, have taken this opportunity to acquaint you of the present, and great Want here of some light Fire Arms suitable for Indians also Matchcoats there being no such thing here nor can conveniently be got, so that the late Parties, to the Amount of about one hundred Indians cannot be equipped, and appear very uneasy at our having not supplies to give them, especially the particulars mentioned” (P.R.O., C.O., 5/50, ff. 109–10). For Bullitt’s estimate of the numbers of Indians likely to come to Winchester, see William Denny to GW, 25 Mar. 1758, n.5.

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