From Robert Stewart
Fort Lewis Febry 25th 1762
My Dear Sir
Your most acceptable Favour of the 31st Decemr I this Day had the very great pleasure to receive and as you therein make no mention of your Disorder I would fain flatter myself with the pleasing hope of your being quite recover’d than a confirmation of which nothing could afford me more real Joy—I had not the good Fortune to receive that you was Pleas’d to write me from Colo. Bassets.1 In my last from Doctor Walkers2 I informd you of the several unforeseen accidts that rob’d me of the pleasure of waiting on you at Mount Vernon there’s nothing I wanted more than the pleasure of a Confab—I have many things to inform you off which I’m perswaded will surprise you but as nothing Travels on Paper in this part of the World without great Danger from Robbrs and Highwaymen or rather lurking Barbarians who are posess’d with an infernal Passion for Pillaging others of what can do themselves no Service, I will defer mentioning some things till I have the Happiness of seeing you which I am at all Events determin’d to enjoy before I leave this Country—Stephens is busy in Discharging the Men and indefaticably Industrious in Recruitg them for an Independant Compy in His Majesty’s Service for the Protection of the Fronteirs3—I confess this Scheme of his astonish me and not withstang that Govr Fauquier exerts his utmost Efforts in St[ephen]s favour, that Genl Monckton (who Knows St[ephen]s) is absent and that the Men can at this Juncture be got—yet I cannot conceive that Genl Amherst will give a Compy to a man who has made such a Fortune by the Service and overlook others who have suffer’d so severely by it,4 however his assurances from Mr Fauqr are so strong that he has nam’d his Subs. & Serjts[.] Cameron, Gist and Menzie are to be his Subs.,5 Mr Fauqr has by Express wrote him a Publick and Private Letter the First which he hands about is full of warm Thanks for his and the Corps Services, the other I am told contains the strongest assurances of his Interest to Serve & promote him amongst other things says that St[ephen]s Scheme is so rational that he cannot see how the Genl can be off and that he (the Governr) soon hopes to congratulate S[tephen]s on his getting an Indept Compy—If so what Perquisites will he not make from his Compy and the Indian Trade &ca.6
The last Division of the Regt will be Disbanded abt the 18th of next Month, I then will go to the warm Springs (about 80 Miles from hence) to remove (if possible) the Rheumatism with which I have of late been much afflicted7—I propose to be at Williamsburgh towards the last of April and should I not have the pleasure of seeing you there will certainly see you before I embark—I am asham’d of the above confus’d ill wrote Scrawl but when you know that I write upon my Knee, with Frosen Ink, in an open Smoaky Hut, crowded with noisy people you will forgive it—I beg my most obliging and Respectfull Complements to your Lady That Heaven may Bless you with Health and everything else that render you truely Happy are the most fervent wishes of My Dear Colo. Your unalterably Affecte & Gratefull
I would not have wrote you till I had found more Time & some better conveniency but Mr Lucas who goes thro’ Alexa. is just setting out I would not slip an oppy of sendg you my best respects.8
1. Neither GW’s letter of 31 Dec. 1761 nor the letter written at Burwell Bassett’s has been found. On 19 Mar. 1762 Stewart acknowledges receipt of GW’s “affecte Letter of the 31st December,” which may be the same letter GW acknowledges here, or it may be a second letter written on 31 Dec., which GW wrote “from Colo. Bassets.” Burwell Bassett (1734–1793), husband of Martha Washington’s sister Anna Maria Dandridge Bassett (1739–1777), lived at Eltham on the Pamunkey River in New Kent County. The Washington family often stayed at Eltham when GW attended the assembly or had business in Williamsburg, and he may have remained at Eltham through December because of his illness. See Stewart to GW, 25 Jan. 1762, n.2.
2. Stewart’s letter is dated 25 Jan. 1762.
3. Lt. Col. Adam Stephen had completed disbanding the Virginia Regiment before the end of the month, but he discontinued recruiting the ex-soldiers for the independent company that he hoped to raise in early April. In late March word came of Spain’s entry into the war against Britain, and the Virginia assembly convened on 30 Mar. to make provisions for the raising of a new Virginia Regiment as General Amherst had requested. Stephen was given command of the new regiment. See JHB, 1761–1765 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 , 47–59, and 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 495–502.
4. Gov. Francis Fauquier’s letter of 25 Jan. 1762 to Adam Stephen shows Fauquier’s support for Stephen at this time (Reese, Fauquier description begins George Reese, ed. The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758–1768. 3 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1980–83. description ends , 2:667–69). Stephen wrote Amherst on 6 Feb. 1762 about raising an independent company, and Amherst responded on 2 Mar. saying he would give what help he could but was not encouraging. Throughout his career in the Virginia Regiment, Adam Stephen was the frequent object of criticism, and as recently as 15 Feb. 1761 Stewart in a letter to GW had referred to Stephen’s “speculative Wealth” (see also GW to Robert Dinwiddie, 27 April 1756). When some of Stephen’s actions in the regiment were examined by the House of Burgesses in 1764, he was not fully exonerated (JHB, 1761–1765 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 , 296–98).
5. John Cameron, Thomas Gist, and Alexander Menzie were all lieutenants in the Virginia Regiment.
6. Fauquier wrote to Stephen on c.2 Feb. 1762, but the letter has not been found. See Reese, Fauquier description begins George Reese, ed. The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758–1768. 3 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1980–83. description ends , 2:671–72.
7. Stewart was probably referring to the Warm Springs in present-day Bath County or to others nearby, not to Warm Springs (Berkeley Springs), now in Morgan County, W.Va., that GW visited the year before. See GW to Charles Green, 26–30 Aug. 1761, n.1. From Fort Lewis on the Roanoke River, Stewart could travel north down the Shenandoah Valley, crossing the mountains at Goshen (then Dunlop’s) Pass to the springs. On 19 Mar. Stewart wrote GW that he was going to the “hot Springs in this County”; present-day Hot Springs is 5 miles from Warm Springs, Bath County, Virginia.
8. Mr. Lucas may be Barton Lucas, who served as ensign in Capt. Alexander Beall’s Maryland company in 1758. In November 1762 Lucas presented a petition to the Virginia House of Burgesses for recruiting losses he suffered while serving as an ensign in the Virginia Regiment (JHB, 1761–1765 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 , 120).