From Robert Dinwiddie
Williamsburg Novr 14th 1757
Yr Letter of the 5th I duly recd & I am much surpriz’d at what You write that the Indn Affairs have been impeeded by a Train of Mismanagemt when I consider Mr Atkin’s Report that he had established every Thing in regard to those People in a most regular Manner1 I have wrote the Necessary to Ct. Gist on that Head, & order’d up a Quantity of Goods from Petersburg for that Service which I hope will be at Winchester before this reaches You—I have it much at Heart to encourage the Cherokees & did not doubt but Mr Atkin had agreeable to his Declaratn fix’d every Thing in proper Order, if any Deficiency I hope the Goods sent up will supply;2 & Ct. Gist writes that he sent away the last 20, & nine that came before, tolerably pleas’d, by the Advance of some Goods;3 & You write that with the advice of Yr Officers You stretch’d a Point in supplyg them with some Necessaries, which I suppose was more than what Ct. Gist had given them.
I am glad the last Party had the Success of scalping two & wounding a third of the Enemy, they are to be applauded & rewarded for their Service—Gist complains he has no Goods which surprizes me, when Mr Atkin says he left upwards of 800£ in Goods, with him; I believe they were design’d for the Catawbas, but on Occasion they shd be made use of for those Indians that may come to our Assistance, & those for the Catawbas may hereafter be compleated, as the Country has sent Home for a large Quantity.
The Interpreter Smith left this a Month ago contrary to my Opinion Mr Atkin sent him by Augusta but I hope he is with You long before this reaches You[.] Gist’s Employmt is to take Care of the Inds. & to deliver them Presents with Discretion, & he has Goods for that Purpose, if not restrain’d by Mr Atkin’s Instructions, but I suppose he now writes him fully how to act.
Mr Boyd carried up Money to pay Ct. Gist & the others employ’d by Mr Atkin till the 14th of last Month: the Neglect or Delay of the Interpreter has occasion’d some Difficulties entirely owing to Mr Atkin sending him by Augusta, but I hope he is now with You.
I have formerly wrote You to know the Demands of the poor People on Acct of the Inds. which I dare say is but a Trifle if any Thing, Mr Boyd carried up Money for several of them; Gordon’s Acct was paid, Brinker was also pd—& a Person from the So. Branch carried up Money to pay several Accts there; & if any is now due it is the People’s own Fault in not giving them to Mr Boyd.4 There has been a considerable Sum pd this Court on that Acct—besides 220 to Mr Atkin for the Inds. Expences durg his Time, & indeed I was in hopes there was no more due. I am with Respect Sir Your mo. humble Servant
LS, DLC:GW; LB, ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers.
1. An item from Williamsburg dated 7 Oct. in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), 20 Oct. 1757, reported that Edmond Atkin had returned from the frontier on 5 Oct., “having, we hear, settled the Affairs with the Cherokees in those Parts entirely to Satisfaction . . . it may be supposed the back Inhabitants, will have little to fear from the Enemy’s Parties for the future. The several Parties of those Indians went Home in the best Disposition imaginable.”
2. Dinwiddie wrote Christopher Gist on this date about his role in dispensing Indian presents, and saying, “I presume before this reaches you, a good Quantity of goods are Sent You by Mr [Robert] Turnbull of Petersburg” (ViHi: Dinwiddie Papers).
3. On 12 Nov. 1757 Dinwiddie gave the council “a Letter from Mr. [Christopher] Gist dated from Winchester November 4th informing that Thirty Cherokees from Chota and Tellico were then there” (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 , 6:73–74). For further indication of the contents of Gist’s letter, see Dinwiddie to Gist, 14 Nov. 1757, in Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 2:713–14).
4. Brinker is probably Henry Brinker. The “Person from the So. Branch” has not been identified. Gordon may be former Cornet George Gordon of Stewart’s light horse who was murdered in Maryland in the spring of 1756. As late as 13 May 1757, 6s. 15d. was credited to his executors by paymaster Alexander Boyd (Va. Regimental Accounts, 1755–58, DLC:GW). Boyd apparently went up to Winchester after the council approved on 18 Oct. 1757 Edmond Atkin’s appointment of Christopher Gist and others, and he was back in Williamsburg before this date (see Dinwiddie to Christopher Gist, 14 Nov. 1757, in Brock, Dinwiddie Papers description begins R. Alonzo Brock, ed. The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1751–1758. 2 vols. Richmond, 1883–84. description ends , 2:713–14).