Letter from Robert Dinwiddie to Arthur Dobbs
Dinwiddie, Robert, 1693-1770
Volume 05, Pages 426-429
[Reprinted from Dinwiddie Papers. Vol. 2. P. 202.]
Governor Dinwiddie to Governor Dobbs.
Sept'r 18th, 1755.
Y'r L'r of the 9th I duly rec'd with Mr. Glen's long Epistle. What Interest or Knowledge he may have of Ind'n Affairs (w'ch he so much vaunts of), I know not, but it's plain the Fr. have outwitted all his Cunning, for the Ind's sent to the Cherokees last March was a Policy of the Fr. to prevent their join'g our Forces on the Ohio, w'ch is plain, for on their leav'g Chote—by Mr. Glen's L'r—they murder'd some of the Cherokees,
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and no doubt they, in their Councils, prevail'd with them to meet G'r Glen, w'ch was the only Step they wanted to prevent their going to the Ohio; and they succeeded, much to the Loss of the Expedit'n and Shame to the Gov'r. He says he has added 1,800 People to H. M'y's Subjects, and above 40,000,000 of acres of Land. The cultivat'g a F'dship with the Ind's is comendable, and the Duty of every G'r, but the Purchase of their Land appears to me wrong, only some at a Time, as we settle to the Westw'd; and I much fear the Fr. will make a proper use of it, by observ'g we make Purchases of their Lands to enslave their whole People; or further, if those Lands were to be taken from them as by Mr. Glen's famous Contract, w'd not the Fr. take them by the Hand, cajole and perswade them to their Interest under Pretence of giv'g them much better Lands to the Westw'd? At present, Purchase of Lands from any Ind'n Nat'n, sh'd not be tho't of, but to cherish them with Pres'ts and regulate the Price of Goods sold to them. We do not want Lands, but sh'd take Care to protect w't is the just and undoubted Territory of the Crown. I lately had five of the Cherokees with me; the Head Man was the son of Old Hop. I rec'd them properly entertain'd them well, and gave them Presents; they promis'd to be on our Frontiers with 150 Warriors all this Winter, and went away well satisfied. I send You Copy of their speech and my Answer. What a piece of Work has Mr. Glen made with the Creeks, leav'g to his Successor a very difficult Task to bring y't Nation over to our F'dship, and all owing, as I think, to protecting the Traders in their exorbitant Charge in sell'g their Goods to those poor People. The Fr. if they sell their Goods for less than they cost, as a Piece of good Policy to engage them to their Interest, I wish none of the King's Gov'rs may be concern'd in their Trade and out of a lucrative View betray their trust for their own Int't. And I have reason to think the Ind's have great Reason to complain of the Traders from So. Caro. Their Emperor and some of their Head Men complain'd greatly to me on y's Head. I dare say G'r Littleton must be arriv'd before y's at So. Caro.; however, I sh'd be glad if You w'd write to Mr. Glen or the Com'd'g Officer for the Time pres't, with Y'r Observat's on his unaccountable Conduct with the Ind's, and his great Purchase from them, w'ch at y's Time I think is a very preposterous, irregular, and inconsist't Step. I think all our Operat's hitherto have been conducted with Blunders. I will not undertake to ment'n the Disposition of G'l Braddock's march, his leav'g half of his Army forty Miles behind, the want of Scouts to clear the Woods, their being attack'd on their long March, &c., &c. I must refer You to Y'r Son and Co. Innes, after their Defeat and ret'n to Co. Dunbar's Camp. The Destruct'n of all our Stores
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and Provis's is a most unprecedented Step. They say it was the Gen'l's Orders. W'n he came there he was not in proper Senses to give Orders. If the Aid-de-Camp gave these Orders, I think the next Com'd'g Officer might have prolonged the Time in put'g them in Execut'n and have entrenched themselves, (being assur'd the Fr. did not pursue them,) and then sent into the different Gov'ts for Reinforcem'ts; instead thereof, after every Thing was destroy'd, and all their Provis's, they began their March to F't Cumb'l'd, and sent to y't Place for 30 Horse Loads of Provis's for the Men on the March. W'n Co. Dunbar, on whom the Com'd devolved, arriv'd at F't Cumb'l'd, I wrote him we had four Mo's good Weather; if he w'd make another Attempt over the Mount's I w'd reinforce him with 500 Men. He answer'd my Let'r in the Negative, and wrote me the 1st of Aug'st y't next Morn'g he would begin his march for Phila'a for Winter Qr's. It surpriz'd me to find his Inten'n to go to Winter Qr's the middle of Sumer; and to compleat the Blunders, he carried with him the three Ind't Compa's y't were ordered by H. M'y under my Com'd. Y's Step was the reason of the great Desert'n from the Provincial Troops. Colo. Dunbar knew the Road to the Ohio was open'd and our Co'try expos'd to the Incursions of a barbarous Enemy. He to leave us so expos'd, with't Orders from G'l Shirley, is a Step, I think, not consistent with military Discipline. I have fairly represented it Home, with my Let'r to Co. Dunbar and his answer to me, and I doubt not some Enquiry will be made on these Affairs. The Loss of the Train of Artillery was great, but G'l Braddock's tak'g all his Papers with him, w'ch fell into the Hands of the Enemy, by w'ch they knew the whole Plan of our Operat's, and in Course be a great Loss to G'l Shirley and Johnson, as they undoubtedly will send all the Forces they possibly can collect to Niagara and Crown Point. W't was the mean'g of carry'g these Papers with him I cannot conceive, as he c'd always have comanded them from F't Cumb'l'd in a few Days. When I observ'd our Co'try so much expos'd I sent out four Compa's of Rangers, and as our Assembly have voted £40,000 more, I have issu'd Com's and Orders for rais'g 1,000 Men to defend our Frontiers and y's Winter to teach our People the Exercise of their Arms, &c., and to rem'n untill I have H. M'y's Com'ds, w'ch I hope will be with more Forces from Britain in order to accomplish w't is already begun. I hope Y'r Assembly will now exert themselves and Strengthen Y'r Hands for the Public Cause, y't if any Th'g is directed to be done next Year y't You may be prepar'd to assist. M'yl'd and Pensylva'a continue obstinate and as yet have done Nothing. The latter Assembly sent a very warm and unmannerly Message to their Gov'r. Y'r Son has y't Paper, and I congratulate You on
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his recovery of the Distemper in his Eyes. Excuse the Length of y's L'r. I wish You Health, and am, with great Respect,
Y'r Ex's most ob'd't h'ble serv't.