His Honour the President was pleased to lay before the board a Letter from the Honble Robert Dinwiddie Esqr Lieut. Governor of Virginia dated at Williamsburg the 29th day of January last which was read in the following words viz
Being justly alarmed at the Rumours of the French Proceedings on the Ohio, my Solicitude for the preservation of His Majestys Rights and the Wellfare of all His Majestys Colonies in General, induced me to send a Gentleman to the place, by whom I might know the Truth. His Return informed me of the following Particulars, which I thought nescessary to impart to you by this Express.
On his arrival at the Ohio Majr Washington (the Gentleman I sent) found that the French had taken Post on a branch of that River, and built a fort wherein they had mounted eight peices of Cannon, Six pounders, and that they had in Rediness materials for other forts whichr of the violence that had been Offered to his Majestys subjects in siezing their Effects and making Prisioners of their Persons to which he was answered that the Country belonged to them that no Englishman had a Right to Trade upon those waters and that he (the Commandant) had orders to make Every Person Prisoner that attempted it on the Ohio or the waters of it. Your Honour will perceive these to be their sentiments by the Inclosed and that they are determined to Carry these Designs into Execution, and it were Superfluous to advance many Arguments with so discerning and Sagacious a Servant of our Master; to prove the Urgency that Presses every one of His Majesty's Colonies, to exert themselves on this Occasion to Vindicate the Honour and Dignity of His Crown and justify his undoubted Rights against these invaders of the Brittish property The power of Our Enemies is far from being contemptible and it is as certain they will exert its utmost efforts to procure all Possible Advantages against us, they have already engaged three Indian Nations, the Chyppoways Ottoways and Orundacks to take up arms against the English and from the best Information Majr Washington learned that the French had four forts on the Mississippi besides their strong settlement at New Orleans where they have fourteen hundred men in Garrison that by means of the River Ovabaseck they have a Communication between Canada and the Mississippi and some Forts on the Oubash to Cover and protect this Communication.
Before they sent their Troops into Winter Quarters last fall they call'd the severall Tribes of Indians near their forts together and told them that altho the approaching Season and the state at that Time of the Waters, made it necessary to Send the Chief of the Forces into Winter Quarters, yet they might be assured to see them early in the Spring with a much more considerable Armament, and then they would take possession of the Ohio and threatened them if they were not entirely passive.
These Circumstances induced me to order out for the Present a Detachment of the militia, and Call together the Assembly which I Have ordered to meet the 14th of next month and hope they will enable me to take more Vigorous measures in the common cause, the success of which, as I apprehend greatly depends on the Dispatch with which our Forces are Drawn together, & the promptitude of every Colony to exert itself on this pressing Occasion. I have for the Present ordered a Detachmentth of next month, will enable me to have a good Party at Will's Creek on the head of Potowmack, ready to join the forces from His Majestys Other Dominions. I propose this Place for the Rendezvous, as being the most generally Convenient for us all, and nearest the Scene of Action, And thither I should be Extremely pleased, if your Honour would be so good as to order the men that you can furnish and to be there by the first of March if possible.
As it might be Detrimentall to divide the Command I Hope you will have no Objection to placing the Command of your men in the hands of the same General Officer whom I shall Entrust with the Conduct of the Whole
Your answer on the Return of this Express with the prospect you may have of Raising forces & the Time you think they may march will be very Agreeable to
P S I have wrote to all the Colonies to the Northward of this for their Aid and Assistance on the Present Emergency