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we met with nothing but one continued series of cold, wet weather, which occasioned very uncomfortable lodgings."

On the 16th, Major Washington arrived at Williamsburg, where he waited on the governor, delivered the letter of the French commandant, and gave him an account of his proceedings since his departure. This he did by presenting his journal to the governor, who expressed his entire approbation of every act of the young officer. The journal was published by Governor Dinwiddie, with Washington's consent, and copied into nearly every newspaper in the Colonies and Great Britain. It was the first authentic information of the designs of the French against the British American Colonies which was ever made public.

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Campaign against Fort Duquesne.

HE intentions and acts of the French being made known by Major Washington to Governor Dinwiddie, and by him reported to the British ministers, they, seeing the danger which menaced their American colonies, took immediate measures to repel the French, and ordered their officers, in case of invasion, to oppose force by force, promising the aid of the mother country if it should be necessary. The danger being equally great to all the colonies, a confederacy for mutual defence was recommended, and each one was urged to contribute its proportion to the general defence, in case of need.

The governor of Virginia, having no doubt that his territory was actually invaded, now called upon the governors of New York and North Carolina to aid him in repelling the French invaders. He was authorized by the Earl of Holdernesse to call for two independent companies from New York and one from North Carolina.

Conceiving the danger to be imminent, and of too urgent a nature to admit of the delay which would be consequent upon a call of the House of Burgesses, Governor Dinwiddie laid the subject before his council, who issued an order for the immediate raising of two companies of volunteers, of one hundred men each, and their confidence in Major Washington was so great that he


was appointed to the command of these two companies, apparently without a dissenting voice.*

The principal object of the council in these hasty proceedings, was to send forward a force, to act upon Washington's recommendation and build a fort at the junction of the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers. Accordingly, while Major Washington was stationed at Alexandria to receive the volunteers and forward supplies and cannon for the intended fort, the command of one of the companies was given to Captain Trent, who was sent forward to raise men among the back-settlers and traders, and proceed at once to occupy the position before the French parties from the south and the north could unite, and set up the claim of prior possession.

The governor, in his instructions to Major Washington on this occasion, ordered him, after having every thing in readiness, to proceed with all expedition to the fork of the Ohio, and there act on the defensive; but in case any person attempted to interrupt or obstruct the completion of the works, to restrain all such offenders, or, in case of resistance, to make prisoners of, or kill and destroy them. For the rest, he was to conduct himself as the circumstances of the service should require, and to act as he should think best for the furtherance of his majesty's service and the good of Virginia.

Having made these preliminary arrangements, Governor Dinwiddie summoned the legislature to meet at an early day, to take into consideration the critical state of the colony. When they assembled, they were found to be in what the governor called "a republican way of thinking," and far from being as zealous as himself in the prosecution of violent measures. It was with the greatest difficulty that he obtained from them an appropriation of ten thousand pounds, and even that was voted "for the encouragement and protection of the settlers on the Mississippi ;" the legislators wishing, if possible, to prevent a rupture with France, and restrain the prerogatives of the crown.

With the aid thus granted, the governor was induced to increase the military force to six companies of fifty men each. With a modesty, the more rare because unaffected, and which in afterlife was never lost, Washington declined being a candidate for the command of this regiment. In a conversation with Colonel Corbin, a member of the council, which had taken place some time previously, Washington was led to hope for a commission

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above that of major; but now, fearing that the friendship of the colonel might lead him to neglect the true interests of his country, the future commander-in-chief of the American armies thus addressed him. "The command of the whole forces is what I neither look for, expect, or desire; for I must be impartial enough to confess, it is a charge too great for my youth and inexperience to be intrusted with. Knowing this, I have too sincere a love for my country to undertake that which may tend to the prejudice of it. But, if I could entertain hopes that you thought me worthy of the post of lieutenant-colonel, and would favour me so far as to mention it at the appointment of officers, I could not but entertain a true sense of the kindness.

"I flatter myself that under a skilful commander, or man of sense, (which I most sincerely wish to serve under,) with my own application and diligent study of my duty, I shall be able to conduct my steps without censure, and, in time, render myself worthy of the promotion that I shall be favoured with now."

On this, as on every other occasion of his life, Washington, though well qualified for the highest stations, was extremely unwilling to seek them. His request was granted. Colonel Joshua Fry was appointed to the chief command, and Washington was made lieutenant-colonel.

Both these officers now made the greatest exertions to hasten the necessary preparations, and Governor Dinwiddie, in order to give alacrity to the recruiting service, issued a proclamation, granting two hundred thousand acres of land, on the Ohio River, to be distributed among the officers and soldiers who should engage in this expedition. This grant was approved by the king, but it was not until some time after the close of the war, that the government, instigated principally by Washington, caused the land to be surveyed and divided.

While Lieutenant-Colonel Washington was stationed at Alexandria, an incident took place, which brought to light the moral strength of his character, while, at the same time, it unfolded his opinion with respect to the practice of duelling, a practice suitable only to the dark ages in which it originated. This occurrence took place during an election for members of the House of Burgesses, the opposing candidates being Colonel George Fairfax and Mr. Elzey. The warm friendship which existed between Washington and Colonel Fairfax, led him to speak in strong terms of the fitness of his friend for the office, and in the course of his remarks he gave offence to a man named Payne, who raised his

stick and struck Washington with such force that he knocked him down. This naturally excited the indignation of such of the officers as were present, and a tumult ensued, which it required. all the authority of Washington to subdue. When he had in some degree restored order, and pacified the incensed feelings of his officers, he retired to his lodgings in the public house. He immediately wrote a note to Mr. Payne, asking to see him at the tavern in the morning. Payne, expecting nothing but a challenge, repaired accordingly to the place appointed, but found Washington prepared to make a full apology, and ask his pardon for an offence given in an unguarded moment. Payne, admiring the great courage of the man who dared to face the reproach of his fellow-man, instantly apologized for his cowardly assault, and a friendship was formed between the two men, which is said to have lasted as long as they lived. "How noble and becoming was this conduct. It was especially admirable in a youthful soldier, whose very profession exposed him to peculiar temptations on such an occasion. How many would have been driven by the fear of reproach, and dread of unfavourable insinuations, to incur the hazards of a duel; thus offering up at the shrine of honour the costly sacrifice of human life. It was not possible that a man like Washington, so endowed with moral courage and regard for virtue, should be moved by the fear of man to such a course. He dreaded not the charge of cowardice from the mouths of fools. In his own bosom he had its ample refutation. He was conscious of a fortitude which no dangers could shake. To display it in murdering a fellow-citizen was not his ambition. He had before him the tented field and the enemies of his country, and he was pledged for the hazards of a mortal conflict in her defence. Here he was willing to show his courage, and lay down his life. He would not do so to gratify revenge, or win applause from the vain."*

So impatient was Washington to be engaged in active service, that early in April, 1754, he solicited and obtained permission to advance, with two of the companies which were completed, to a place called the Great Meadows, in the Alleghany Mountains, where he would be better able to protect the frontier of Virginia, act as a check upon the incursions of hostile savages, and also form a connecting link between the principal recruiting station at Alexandria, and the advanced company under Captain Trent. He reached Will's Creek on the 24th of April, where he found

* McGuire.

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