George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Orme, 2 March 1756

From Robert Orme

March the 2d 1756

Dr George

I writ to you1 the very day I sailed from America to convince you I left the Continent with all those Sentiments of Friendship towards you I ever professed I hope now to convince that I retain the same and shall ever have the greatest Happyness in the Continuance of it.

Letters from America had made the Generals Character as odious in this Country as there but since my Arrival and my having writ a true and impartial Narrative of the Affair the Opinions of Men are altered and his Character will be rather revered than disapproved.2 I was told upon my first coming here you had writ several Letters to England speaking in very disrespectful Terms of Genl Braddock. I absolutely denied it could be so as I had Letters from you of a very different Language and that I knew too well your Integrity and Honor to believe you capable of such Conduct This like all other idle Reports blew over and soon was disbeleivd. I want very much to hear of your Virginia Battalion how recruited disciplined and regulated what are the Conditions of your Frontiers and how coverd from Indian Inroads. I fear every day some very bad News your Country is much exposed and as all the Troops are to the Eastward I think you must suffer this Spring.

American Affairs are not vey well understood at Home and the Want of Men and Money make the true defence and Protection of the Colonies very difficult. The Parliament have consented to the raising an American Regiment of four Battalions I doubt very much the Possibility of completing it and if it is the Count[r]y may derive some immediate Advantage but will suffer in the End as the draining the Colonies of Men is certainly a very pernicious Measure[.]3 I thought I should have returned but am not included in the American Promotions except the Pleasure of once more seeing my dear George I am as well contended.4 I dont know whether a good House and comfortable Living is not as well as the Palace of Enoch Enoch’s.5

I shall expect from you the State of the Colonies I know your Abilities and Integrity the one intitles you to speak the other will prevent your ever advancing any Impropriety.

Whatever Acquaintance of mine you may meet with present my Compliments.

If you should have any Orders or Commissions in these Parts pray employ me and assure yourself my dear Friend no one can be more ready to give you every Instance of his sincere Regard God bless you and believe me with the greatest Truth your Sincere Friend & humble Servt

Robt Orme


2Within a few days of the death of General Braddock on 10 July, the wounded Orme began writing for publication and to influential persons in England his account of what happened on the Monongahela. Orme seems to have sent his extensive “Journals” of the expedition to Col. Robert Napier, the duke of Cumberland’s aide, perhaps before 1 Sept. Historians have relied heavily upon Orme’s testimony.

3The Royal American Regiment, originally the 62d and renumbered the 60th early in 1757, was authorized late in 1755 and recruiting got underway in 1756.

4Orme resigned his commission in Oct. 1756 apparently because of a personal scandal. A married man with children, he eloped with Audrey Townshend (d. 1781), the unmarried daughter of Charles, third Viscount Townshend, much to the distress of both families. “What a sad story of that vile Miss T. who has run away with Mr. O., and poor Mrs. O. run mad, and gone into the Bedlam!” wrote one English matron in Nov. 1756. “An intrigue was discovered last year, and hushed up, and Miss T. was more circumspect in her behaviour, and it made no noise, but about a month ago she left her father’s house under pretence of going to see her mother, she took her maid in the post-chaise with her, all her jewels, her best clothes, and £700, and went off to France; she was pursued, but not overtaken” (Mary Granville Delany to Ann Granville Dewes, c.22 Nov. 1756, Delany, Autobiography description begins Lady Llanover, ed. The Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs. Delany: with Interesting Reminiscences of King George the Third and Queen Charlotte. 6 vols. London, 1861–62. description ends , 1st ser., 3:451–52). The couple, according to another report, went to Flanders. Audrey, it was said, gave Orme £14,000, was with child, and “besides all her other infamy . . . deeply in debt to all sorts of trades-people” (Edmund Pyle quoted in Lewis, Walpole’s Correspondence description begins W. S. Lewis et al., eds. The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence. 48 vols. New Haven, 1937–83. description ends , 9:188, n.8). In 1779 Orme was apparently living in the Netherlands, but he later moved to Hertford, Eng., where he died in 1790.

5General Braddock and his staff had probably stopped at the home of Enoch Enoch, just east of the Cacapon River in Hampshire County, on their way to join the troops at Cresap’s.

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