To John Robinson
[Mount Vernon, 20 April 1755]
To Jno. Robinson Esqr. Speaker
I little expected when I wrote you last I shoud so soon engage
in another Campaigne;2 but in
this I hope I may be allowd to claim some small share of merit; if it is consider’d that the sole motive wch envites me to the Field, is, the laudable desire of servg my Country; and not for the gratification of any lucrative ends ; this, I flatter myself, will manifestly appear by my going a Volunteer, without expectation of reward, or prospect of attaining a Command; as I am confidantly assur’d it is not in Genl Braddocks power to give a Comn that I woud accept. Perhaps with any other, the above declaration might be look’d upon as a piece of self sufficient merit; which, being unwilling to loose, I choose to proclaim it myself—but by you Sir, I hope it will be taken in a different light, who seem’d to sympathize in my disappointments, and lent your friendly Aid to reinstate me in a suitable Command; which mark of your approbation was not lost upon one, who is always sensible of f, and ready to acknowledge an obligation; and this is the reason why I am so much more expressive in my Sentiments to you, than I shoud choose to be to the World whose Censures, and Criticisms often place the best design’s in the worst light; and give a different turn to the best of Action’s; but to be ingenuous, I must confess I had other Intention’s in writing and if there is any merit in going out upon such terms as I do , I was unwilling to loose it
among my Friends, who I did not doubt might be made to believe I had some advantageous offer’s that engaged my Services, when in reallity it is very [far] from it ; ⟨erasure⟩ I expe[c]t to be a considerable looser in my private Affairs, by going—Its true, I have been importuned to make this Campaigne by Genl Braddock in his Family) who I suppose imagined the small knowledge I have (had an oppertunity of acquiring)3 of the Country, Indians, &ca worthy his notice; and therefore thought I might ⟨erasure⟩ useful ⟨erasure⟩ ing the progress of this Expedition.
Colo. Carter Burwell,
the last Assembly, upon hearing that I had lost 50 Odd pounds during my appointt as Paymaster desir’d I wd petition the Committee to have it refunded, assurg me at the same time that he woud sollicit the Gentn in my behf ; I declind it then, thinking it might not be well receivd, as I had been allowd Comn;4 but if he shoud propose it at a future meeting, and it does not appear to carry a face of unreasonableness, I hope yo. will do me the favour to 2d him5—I must own after meeting with the endulgences I did, I shd not have askd this, had it not been propos’d by a Member, and had I not been so considerable a looser before in the Service, in loosg many valuable Papers, cloathg, Horses, & sevel other things; some of which, & of no inconsiderable value neither, I card out entirely for the publick use, & forebore meng of it till this as I knew you were greatly Pesterd with complaints
of this sort from Officers that were less able to bear them, tho’ their losses were much more inconsiderable than mine; for I had, unfortunately, got my baggage from Wills Creek but a few days before the Engagemt in wch I also had a valuable Servt Wounded, who died in a few days after.6 I thought it expedient just to mention these Facts that you might turn them to any advantage you saw proper, or to drop it altogether, if you think it the least unreasonable . I heartily wish a happy Issue to all your Resolves and am Sir Yr most Obt Servt
LB (original), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.
1. John Robinson was speaker of the House of Burgesses, not of the House of Delegates which replaced that body as the lower house of the Virginia General Assembly in 1776.
2. GW apparently had written to Robinson since writing to him on 15 Oct. 1754, but no such letter has been found.
3. All of the parentheses in this sentence were added later by GW.
5. Robinson headed the legislative oversight committees named in the military spending acts of Feb. 1754, Oct. 1754, Aug. 1755, April 1756, and June 1757. As treasurer, he also executed the committee’s orders with the governor’s approval.