George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, 10 June 1752

To Robert Dinwiddie

King George Coty June 10th 1752

Honble Sir

Being impatient to know Colo. Fitzhugh’s result; I went to Maryland as I returned Home He is willing to accept of the Adjutancy of the Northern Neck, if he can obtain it on the terms he proposes; which he hardly expects will be granted Him:1 The inclosed is his Letter, wherein I believe he inform’s of his intention.2 He told Me, he would, when conveniency admitted, build a House in Virginia, at which he should sometimes reside. If I could have the Honour of obtaining that, in case Colo. Fitzhugh does not, or either of the other two; should take the greatest pleasure in punctually obeying from time, to time, your Honours commands; and by a strict observance of my Duty, render myself worthy of the trust reposed in Me: I am sensible my best endeavours will not be wanting, and doubt not, but by a constant application to fit myself for the Office, coud I presume Your Honour had not in view a more deserving Person I flatter myself I should meet with the approbation of the Gentlemen of the Council3 I am Yr Honours most Obt & very Hble Sert

G: Washington

ALS (photostat), ViMtvL.

Robert Dinwiddie (1693–1770) was born into a mercantile family in Glasgow, Scot. After a brief career as a merchant in Glasgow, he went to Bermuda where he opened a mercantile and shipping business. In 1721 he was appointed admiralty agent for Bermuda and in 1727 collector of the customs; in 1738 he became surveyor general for the southern part of America. During that time, he established a residence in Virginia and for several years sat on the governor’s council. In late 1745 he returned to England where he remained for the next 5 years. On 4 July 1751 Dinwiddie succeeded Sir William Gooch as lieutenant governor of Virginia and returned to the colony in November of that year. A firm supporter of British authority, he soon ran into difficulties in implementing crown policy, but in spite of numerous controversies with the House of Burgesses he managed to secure its sometimes reluctant acquiescence in raising funds needed for the defense of the colony during the French and Indian War. Dinwiddie was a strong advocate of intercolonial cooperation in matters of defense. A friend and advocate of the Ohio Company, he was a vigorous proponent of the extension of the Virginia frontier into the Ohio country. GW had first met Dinwiddie when he stopped at Williamsburg on his way home from his trip with Lawrence Washington to Barbados. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:34, 114.

1William Fitzhugh (1721–1798), the son of George Fitzhugh (died c.1722) of Stafford County, served with Lawrence Washington during the Cartagena campaign and represented Stafford County in the House of Burgesses 1748–58. In 1752 Fitzhugh married, second, Ann Frisby Rousby of Maryland, and shortly thereafter moved to Rousby Hall in Calvert County, Md., although he apparently maintained at least partial residence in Stafford County.

2This letter has not been found.

3GW was anxious to secure the adjutancy of the Northern Neck or of one of the other districts. In 1728 the governor and council created the position of adjutant general of the colony. Occupants of the post would hold the rank of major and have responsibility for training the county militia companies (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 , 4:189). Lawrence Washington became adjutant general of the colony in 1743, and during his illness his duties were performed by his deputy adjutant George Muse. Discussions about the division of the adjutancy into smaller districts, each under a separate officer, had begun in the early spring of 1752, and GW was aware that the adjutancy of the Northern Neck was most likely to go to William Fitzhugh. By June, however, Fitzhugh’s move to Maryland had cast some doubt whether he would be able to accept the appointment.

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