George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert McKenzie, 12 August 1760

From Robert McKenzie

Camp at Venango [Pa.] Augt 12th 1760

Dear Sir

Though I have as small a Title as any Person whatever to the least Share of your Esteem, yet, by often observing with what Pleasure you seize all Opportunities of using your good Offices for the Assistance of others, I dare to address you and to sollicit your Interest in an Affair of the greatest Importance to me, which from your Benevolence alone I hope to obtain.

My Relations in Europe have procured recommendatory Letters from Ld Barrington, Ld Elibanks & Colo. Douglass, to General Amherst in my Behalf & have engaged Colo. Robertson & Capt. Abercrombie, his first Aid de Camp to present them, and to back them with all their Influence.1 They have desired me to send a Memorial to the Genl, which I have accordingly done, & to apply to you for a Testimony of my Behaviour, while under your Command. This is the Favour wch I have to request; and if my Conduct has ever merited your Approbation, I hope you will do me the Justice to declare it to Genl Amherst, or in any other Manner, wch you think will be equally conducive to my Interest.

As soon as I can get Genl Monctons Liberty I shall repair to the Head Quarters of the Army; & lest such a Step should hurt me in Virginia, I have wrote very fully to the Governor on the Subject, desiring to know what I may expect in the Colonys Service at the Reduction of the Regt; if Nothing, I have begged the Honour of a Letter from him to Genl Amherst, & by a Memorial to his Council have sollicited the same Favor from them. In every Thing I have acted agreeable to the Advice of my Friends, and though my Expectations are far from being pleasing, I am under a Necessity either to disoblige them, or to accept of whatever their Interest may procure for me.

I am with Major Stewart, erecting a Post at this Place, which is to be a Block House, defended by a Ditch & covered Way2—Colo. Bouquet with 250 Pensilvs. is doing the same at Presqu’Isle The Indians are very passive, and except four Men killed and taken the other Day at the Lake, we have not met with the least Disturbance from them this Campaign.

I should be glad to hear from you as soon as possible, under Cover to Major Gates; and shall esteem it a singular Favor to be ranked among the Number of Dear Sir, your Friends & very humble Servants

Robert Mackenzie


Robert McKenzie (Mackenzie) at this time was a captain in the Virginia Regiment, a rank he had held since GW organized the regiment in September 1755. Although GW declined to write to Amherst (GW to McKenzie, 20 Nov. 1760), McKenzie’s efforts to secure a commission in the British army were successful. On 31 Mar. 1761 Amherst sent Col. William Byrd “a commission for Mr. McKenzie appointing him ensign to the 58th Regiment of Foot,” dated 19 Oct. 1760 (Tinling, Byrd Correspondence description begins Marion Tinling, ed. The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds of Westover, Virginia, 1684–1776. 2 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1977. description ends , 2:724). At Byrd’s request, McKenzie remained with the Virginia Regiment through the following summer (Amherst to Byrd, 24 Mar. 1761, 17 Sept. 1761, and Byrd to Amherst, 13 Sept. 1761, ibid., 722–23, 755–56). He left the 58th Regiment in 1762 to become a lieutenant in the 43d Regiment of Foot, and he was with the 43d when it landed in Boston in June 1774. See GW to Robert McKenzie, 11 Nov. 1755.

1William Wildman Barrington, 2d viscount Barrington (1717–1793), was secretary at war. Patrick Murray, 5th earl of Elibank (1703–1778) and a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, was also a writer. Robert Douglas was lieutenant colonel in the 19th Regiment of Foot. Jeffrey Amherst (1717–1797) became commander in chief of British forces in North America in September 1758. Lt. Col. James Robertson (c.1720–1788) was Amherst’s acting deputy quartermaster general. James Abercromby, son of the former British commander in chief in North America, had a captain’s commission in the 42d Regiment dated 16 Feb. 1756.

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