George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Smith, 10 November 1757

From William Smith

Philada 10th Novr 1757


You’ll perceive your name in the list of those who ’tis hoped will encourage the enclosed Magazine, & I hope you’ll forgive the Liberty we have taken as you are placed in good Company & in a good design. Tis a work which may be rendered of very general Service to all the Colonies. We shall be under particular Obligations for every Subscriber you can procure, to give the work a general Run.1 I have not been unmindful of the Papers you sent relating to the French Memorial, & you would have seen proper use made ⟨of⟩ them before now, if they had not been designed to be inte⟨mutilated⟩ in the general History of the present war, which you find promised in the Magazine.2 I shall therefore, be greatly obliged to you for every Light you can throw upon that Subject, relating to the Representations made by the Ohio Company, the first Steps taken by your Government with the French & Indians from 1749 to 1753, & from thence to the Defeat of General Braddock. A⟨s⟩ you acted a principal part in all these Affairs, and as it is our design to do the utmost Justice to all concerned, & especially those Patriots & brave men born in America, who have distinguished themselves in the present war, I must rely on your Assistance, so far as comes within your knowledge. I doubt not you have Journals of every Thing, & you may depend the most prudent Use shall be made of them. To you in particular we shall do all Justice, without suffering our Friendship to influence us farther than the world shall confess your just merits require: As this history is to be a full one & will probably be long preserved,3 I flatter myself that your Regard for your Country & Desire to have its Interests understood will excuse this trouble & induce you to send me as soon as possible what I have requested. If we del⟨ay⟩ long, the Thing may ⟨fa⟩ll into other hands, less inclined to a disinterested Execution of it. I have already had many materi⟨als from⟩ the northern Gov⟨ernments.⟩ Send the Subscriber’s names for the Magazine to me, but do not mention my name to any Body. I am wi⟨th much Es⟩teem Your obed. ⟨Servt⟩

W. Smith

ALS, DLC:GW. A small part of the manuscript is mutilated, and the words and letters in angle brackets are taken from Hamilton, Letters to Washington description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed. Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. 5 vols. Boston and New York, 1898–1902. description ends , 2:233–34.

William Smith (1727–1803), a Scot who came to New York in 1751, became one of the leading figures in Philadelphia of his generation.

1Smith sent GW volume I, number 1 (October 1757), of his American Magazine or Monthly Chronicle for the British Colonies, printed and sold by William Bradford of Philadelphia. In Bradford’s papers (PHi) there appears in a folio volume a sheet headed “We the Subscribers agree to pay the Sums Annexed to our Names—for the American Magazine—Octr 1. 1757.” Pasted to the sheet is a facsimile of a slip of paper with the names of Lord Fairfax, John Funk, John Hope, and GW—all written in GW’s hand. Both Funk and Hope were property holders in Winchester. On the sheet itself is a list of the names of thirty men. The list is written by Capt. Robert Stewart (see Stewart to GW, 24 Nov. 1757). The thirty men named include fifteen officers of the Virginia Regiment, the new contractor William Ramsay, Adjutant William Hughes, Quartermaster David Kennedy, and a number of men from Winchester and Frederick County. Each of the subscribers agreed to pay 12s. in Pennsylvania currency for one year’s subscription to the magazine. The “Octr 1. 1757” at the top of the sheet is the date the subscription was to begin.

2See GW’s unaddressed and undated letter printed as Document III in “The Capitulation of Fort Necessity,” Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 1:168–72, in which GW comments on the “French Memorial,” particularly “The Journal of M. de Villiers.” See ibid., n.1. It may well be that GW wrote the letter to William Smith and that he wrote it while in Philadelphia in March 1757 or shortly thereafter.

3The publication of the American Magazine was suspended in 1758 when Smith went to England for a time.

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