George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Ramsay, 17–19 October 1758

From William Ramsay

WmsBurg Octr 17[–19]th 1758

Dear Sir

We have no News of late only repeated Accots of the King of Prussia’s beating Count Daun, wch is generaly believ’d.1 The 1st Virga Regimt had like to have been broke by a Vote of the House, but the Old & judicious, carried it against the Young Members by a majority of five2—however they have so far prevail’d, that unless the Regimt return into this Colony by the 1st of Decr next & guard our Frontiers, they are to be no longer in the pay of this Colony. There is to be no Lieut. Colo. Quarter Master, Adjutant nor Chaplain, & the yearly allowance for your Table is voted away. This is tho’t, a mean peice of Parsimony and condemn’d in general & indeed their whole proceedings relative to that Regimt.

They have voted 57,000 Pounds to pay of the Arrears & the Regmts till the 1st day of Decr next.

’Tis reported the Govr has reciev’d advice, that the Cherokees are much irritated against the County of Bedford & are determin’d to be revenged for some men killd by those people, but ’tis thot, shou’d they attempt this, the Creeks may be play’d upon them, who only want an Oppty; for they have been hardly restrain’d by the Govr of So. Carolina from doing it some time ago3—The Govr is in general well Spoken off. Mr Hite says, Messrs Barr & Slough has disappointed me in 10 Hhds of Rum & 3 pipes of Wine I engag’d them to bring me from Philadelphia,4 this I am affraid & will cause Mr Hite & Mr Hayton to labor under great difficultys, to supply properly, the Regimt so well as I wou’d wish5—The great Credt I was oblig’d to give, the Regimt being not duely paid I hope will be obviated when the Cash arrives, your good offices so farr as you can, will be very obliging. My business down here I am affraid will not be attended with success, no Money in the Treasury & making the New will be attended with delay.

Your friends rejoic’d to hear you were well & wishes a safe return, amongst whom none more sincerely than Dr Sir Your affect. H. Servt

Wm Ramsay

19th A report prevails in Town, that Admiral Hardy has taken near the mouth of St Lawrence two 50 Gun French Ships and many regulars convey’d in a large Number of Transports; they were intended for Louisburg, but being inform’d by a fishing Vessell that it was taken, they bent their course that way. This is very fortunate if true.

W. R.


1It was not until 13 Oct. that Frederick II of Prussia once again moved against the Austrian field marshal Count Daun, at Hochkirk, driving him from Saxony but at great cost.

2When the Virginia assembly convened in Williamsburg on 14 Sept., 93 of the 106 newly elected members of the House of Burgesses were present. Of the 106 burgesses, 51 had not been members of the preceding House. On 26 Sept. 1758 a committee of the whole House presented two resolutions. The first of these resolutions, that the colony’s forces “be continued till the first Day of December next,” the burgesses formally rejected; but it then promptly passed, with amendments, the second resolution which provided “that a Sum not exceeding £20,000 be raised for the Payment of the Arrears now due to the Forces in the Pay of this Colony, and for their Pay until the first day of December next.” Four days later, on 30 Sept., the House of Burgesses sitting as a committee of the whole considered ways and means to raise the £20,000 and resolved “that the Sum of £20,000 to be levied be raised by a Land and Poll Tax.” The committee to bring in the bill included leaders of the House such as Charles Carter, chairman, Landon Carter, Richard Bland, Robert Carter Nicholas, Edmund Pendleton, and George Johnston. The house finally passed with amendments on 10 Oct. the committee’s bill, “An Act for the defence of the Frontiers of this Colony, and for other purposes therein mentioned” (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 171–79); the council passed it on 11 Oct.; and the governor signed it on 12 Oct. (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 , 1758–61, 3, 23, 32, 42, 43, 44).

3For references to attacks made by settlers in Bedford County in May on parties of Cherokee returning home from Winchester, see William Callaway to GW, 15 May 1758. At their meeting on 12 Oct. members of the council were given letters written to Fauquier with word “that several Parties of Indians belonging to the middle and lower Settlements of the Cherokee Nation had resolved upon taking up the Hatchet against Virginia to revenge the Loss of some of their People in the late Engagements here” (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:111–12). The council advised the governor to recall the interpreter Richard Smith from Pennsylvania and send him down to the Cherokee with a conciliatory message. The efforts of Fauquier and Gov. William Henry Lyttelton of South Carolina to preserve the peace with the Cherokee were for the moment successful.

4Hans Barr and Matthias Slough of Lancaster County, Pa., were contractors supplying the army.

5John Hite and Hayton were assisting Ramsay in supplying provisions to GW and the Virginia troops. See Adam Stephen to GW, 28 June, and Ramsay to GW, 12 Sept. 1758.

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