George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Kirkpatrick, 21 July 1758

From John Kirkpatrick

Alexandria 21st July 1758

Dear Sir

Your intelligence of the 12th came regularly to hand—in which no circumstance equals the agreable account of your good health1—the only blessing necessary for Life—but more especially, to promote Spirit & pleasure in the Toils of a Campaigne.

The invariable attention, indefatiguably pursued by the Pensilvanians, without regard to the common interest, for advancing their private fortunes—have long been glaring proofs, of a Selfish & Sordid principle—which will ever prevail to obstruct the Generous attempts of their associates for Liberty and property2—and this instance of the partiality paid them by Signior St Cl—r the Bashaw—is certainly owing to the influence of that meaness—wrought upon his Foible by some fellow of address—but Quere,—how far the Bashaw’s penitration can carry him to distinguish in Matters of such importance—where prejudice— or rather pride in the first place—attended wt. the love of power—passion—and Self Sufficiency—Conspire to put him into Motion—We must undoubtedly expect nothing but irregularities & inconsistancies, from Such a Contrasted Character.3

We who view the actions of high life at so vast a distance, can only form conjectures—agreable to the small extent of our knowledge—& ignorant of the comprehensive Schemes intended—mistake plaguily in Judging by the piece—Perhaps the Pensilvanians—had plan’d Some grand affair—to be perfected a Century hence—by cuting a Road from Rays Town—however, all Jesting apart—this delay and triffling of time is a Lamentable matter—We had accounts last Post of the armys landing & incamping at Louisburg—and expect by this time they have reduced it—however, You have the news more particularly & readier at Fort Cumbd then we—therefore I need not repeat them.4

Your Regiments attachmt and Spirit to the Service, shew’s itself, not only in Change of Dress5—adapted to the Service—but in every Steddy purpose for the publick Good—that motives of patriotism and principles of true Honour, can inspire—as they have always been the Spring of Your Actions—may they produce their due reward for the toils that accompany them—A Glorious & peacefull retirement to the pleasures of Private Life.

To tell you our Domestick occurrances woud look silly—& ill sute your time to peruse—We have dull Barbecues—and yet Duller Dances—An Election causes a Hubub for a Week or so—& then we are dead a While—Yesterday Geo: Mason & Geo: Johnston were Chosen for Fairfax—Francis Lee & James Hamilton for Loudoun6—Other Matters are not worth notice—to speake of Tobacco to You is Still more impertinent—tho’ it is Tobacco in reality this Summer—& exceeds the highest prices for Many Years—30/ Curry has absolutely been given & 25/ is frequent—whoever consigns Tobacco surely must be Enemys to their own interest.

Your friends Salute You wt. the greatest Respect—& Unite their Wishes with me, for Your Health & Happy Success—I am Dear Colo. Your Most Affect. Servt

Jno. Kirkpatrick

P.S. I’m astonish’d Doctr Craik does not write—I fancy his hands are full.


1Letter not found.

2Kirkpatrick is here supporting GW in his opposition to a new road from Raystown to Fort Duquesne as favoring the interest of the Pennsylvanians and harming that of the Virginians. On this same day Bouquet wrote Forbes: “The Virginia party in regard to your route is continuing in full force, and . . . the secret motive animating them appears to smack of partiality” (Stevens, Bouquet Papers description begins Donald H. Kent et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Bouquet. 6 vols. Harrisburg, Pa., 1951-94. description ends , 2:251–56).

3John St. Clair in June supported the Virginians’ views that Forbes’s army should use the Braddock Road, but in July after he went to Raystown he came to see the superior virtues of the more northern route. GW’s letter of 13 Aug. to St. Clair reveals something of his resentment at St. Clair’s switch, but the fact is that St. Clair, an odd and difficult man, succeeded in offending nearly everyone before the end of the campaign. Forbes himself complained repeatedly about his commissary general, once writing James Abercromby about “Sir John having served me as he did Genll Braddock promising every thing and doing no one Individual thing in the world, except confusing what he undertakes” (3 Aug. 1758, in 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 , 167–69). Writing to Forbes from Raystown on 8 Aug., James Glen gives a more sympathetic picture of St. Clair: “Sir John seems now as sanguine for this road [from Raystown] as he is said to have been for the other, he returned yesterday from Loyalhanning, his appearance was somewhat grotesque, a long beard, a blanket coat, and trowsers to the ground; A masterly hand would have found matter sufficient for a curious Caricature, but he gave so good an account of what he went about, that I could have kissed him, and freely forgave his oddities, as who is without: he carried our Artillery and Waggons smoothly along, altho’ in very broken sentences, intermixed with full stopps, and sometimes stares, that in faith I was once or twice affraid that he was going to leave them, or to turn them back; But at length on he went, making every difficulty disappear . . .” (ViU: Forbes Papers).

5For references to the adoption of Indian dress for this campaign, see GW to Bouquet, 3 July (first letter), n.6.

6For the Burgess election in Fairfax County, see Kirkpatrick to GW, 6 July, n.3. The new county of Loudoun was represented in the House of Burgesses for the first time in the session that began in September 1758. Francis Lightfoot Lee remained a Burgess for the county until the 1769 session, and James Hamilton kept his seat until 1771 when he resigned to become county coroner.

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