George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Blair, 15 May 1758

From John Blair

Williamsburg May 15th 1758


I have yours now by Mr Jenkins of the 10th with the advice of your Council of Officers, on the Straits you are reduced to in recruiting, for want of Money.1 I have called a full Council to meet on Friday next; which considering their distance, could not be sooner, and shall lay it fully before them; and you may depend on all in my Power to serve you in it.2 I write this now by Majr Finnie to let you know the occasion of my keeping Jenkins ’till the Council, when I purpose to write fully to you.3

General Forbes expects a proposal from Govr Sharp to me to take the Maryland Forces into our Pay. I have writt fully to Sir John, and to Colo. Peter Randolph about it, so need only refer you to them, as I expect they will both be with you as soon as this.4 It is now past Eleven so I bid you good Night and am Sir Your very Hum. Servt

John Blair.


2The council’s minutes of Friday, 19 May, contain no reference to GW’s “Straits,” but Blair indicates in his letter to GW of 24 May that the council reluctantly agreed to supply him with money to pay his recruiting accounts.

3Alexander Finnie (d. 1769), of Williamsburg, adjutant of the Virginia militia in the middle district, came up to Winchester with Edmond Atkin in late May 1757 to help Atkin deal with the Indians there (Atkin to GW, 19 June 1757, n.3), and he had “a great inclination to make this Campaign” in 1758 (Blair to St. Clair, 16 May 1758, ViU: Forbes Papers).

4In a letter of 1 May Forbes told President Blair to expect “a proposal made you by Governour Sharp of Maryland . . . to make the Maryland troops now on foot about 300 men enter into your pay” (Scottish Record Office: Dalhousie Muniments). Forbes wrote Sharpe on 2 May: “In case your Assembly are mad enough to do Nothing, I like the proposal for the Virginians taking your Troops into their pay extremely, and as I was sending an Express to Mr Blair, I hinted to him that in Case such a proposal was made to him by you, that he ought to Jump at it Directly” (James, Writings of Forbes description begins Alfred Procter James, ed. Writings of General John Forbes Relating to His Service in North America. Menasha, Wis., 1938. description ends , 79). Sharpe was being driven to this expediency by the reluctance of the Maryland assembly to pay for the three hundred or so men at the Maryland forts, Fort Frederick and Fort Cumberland. In his letter to St. Clair referred to here, also dated 15 May, Blair wrote: “Since my last of the 1st Instt by your Express, I have by Majr Finnie a Letter from Genl Forbes of the 2nd Instt expressing his great Pleasure, in the Alacrity of our Assembly to coopperate with his Majestys Measures; but is apprehensive it will be almost impossible to raise the Men in time; He therefore beleives I shall have a proposal from Govr Sharp, to take the Maryland Troops, (about 300 Men) into our Pay. I have had no such proposal yet; and Majr Finnie tells me that when he left Annapolis the Govr was in hopes of getting his Assembly in a few days to do something for their support. But such a Spirit for entering into the Service as we find now, was never known here before, several Captains, that were required to inlist 50 Men to entitle them to their Commissions have readily raised above 60 or 70 Each, of fine able Woods Men. Leiutenants instead of 20 have got 30 odd, insomuch that I hope soon to hear we are compleat; But if there should be any room for them (as I apprehend we shall save the Bounty by it) I shall direct Col. Washington to receive so many of the best of them, as may be wanting to compleat” (ViU: Forbes Papers).

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