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FRANKLIN

vention the Albany plan of union, which provided for a general government, consisting of a president, appointed by the crown; and of a council of repretatives from the several colonies. To this government was to be intrusted the general direction of war, peace, treaties, and transactions with the Indians. They were to have the power of imposing such taxes as might be deemed necessary for these purposes, and their acts, if not disallowed by

the king within three years, were to acquire the force of law. They might also levy troops, the commanding officers being nominated by the president, and approved by the council. Civil officers were to be appointed by the counsel with the consent of the president.

This scheme gained the approbation of all the delegates except those from Connecticut, who objected to the authority conferred on the president, and the power of general taxation; but when submitted to the legislatures of the several colonies, they all, without exception, considered the powers which it proposed to grant to the new government, especially that of direct taxation, as far too great to be placed in the hands of a body over whom each had so little control. It was accounted by them far too favourable to the royal prerogative. Its reception was equally unfavourable in the British cabinet, who viewed it, not without reason, as conceding too much power to the representatives of the people, and rendering America almost entirely independent. Thus the plan, recommended as it was by such high authority, proved wholly abortive, though its discussion undoubtedly had some effect in preparing the minds of the people for a similar union, in the struggle which resulted in the independence of the United States.* The plan of thus uniting the colonies failing, the British ministry determined to take the conduct of the war into their own Murray. Grahame.

*

hands. First, making warm remonstrances to the court of France, and receiving, in return, nothing but pacific promises, they resolved to employ such a force in America as would compel the French to retire from their present advanced position, and, for the future, keep within their own acknowledged territory.

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CCORDINGLY, in January, 1755, General Braddock was despatched from Ireland, with two regiments of infantry, to co-operate with the Virginian forces in recovering the command of the Ohio. The arrival of Braddock excited enthusiastic hopes among the colonists. The different provinces seemed to forget their disputes with each other, and with Great Britain, and to enter into a resolution to chastise the French, at whatever cost. At the request of the British commander, a meeting of the governors of five of the colonies was held at Alexandria, at which they determined to undertake three simultaneous expeditions. The first of these was to be conducted by Braddock, with the British troops against Fort Duquesne; the second, under the command of Governor Shirley, now honoured with the commission of a general from the king, was intended for the reduction of the French fort of Niagara, and was composed of American regulars and Indians; the third, was an expedition against Crown Point, to be undertaken by a regiment of militia.

General Braddock brought with him an order of the king, dated November 12th, 1754, the design of which was to regulate the comparative rank of the regular and provincial officers. The general and field-officers of the colonies were divested of all rank while serving with officers of the same grade commissioned by the king, or his general commanding in America, and company officers of the same rank were directed to give precedence to the regulars without regard to seniority in the date of their commissions. This order rendered the separation of Washington from the army wider than ever. His passion for a military life, however, was not in the least degree weakened, and could he have held his rank, he would have hastened to join the army which in February ascended the Potomac.

His wishes were soon favoured; for General Braddock considering his military talents and local knowledge essential to the

success of the expedition, he invited him to join it with the rank of aide-de-camp in his military family.

Though Washington found himself, at this juncture, greatly embarrassed with his private affairs, having no person in whom he could confide to intrust with the management of them, he gladly accepted the appointment, with the proviso that the general would permit his return, as soon as the active part of the campaign should be over, if he desired it; or if there should be a space of inaction long enough to permit him to visit home, he might be allowed to take advantage of it.*

Braddock gladly acceded to the desire expressed by Washington, and marching towards the interior, was joined by him at Frederic Town. The army then proceeded in two columns to Winchester, and thence to Will's Creek, where they arrived about the middle of May.

As soon as Washington arrived in the British camp, he was appointed one of the general's aides-de-camp, and this appointment was proclaimed to the army, in general orders, on the 10th of May.

The army was detained three weeks at Will's Creek, by the failure of the Virginian contractors to furnish the wagons and horses, which, according to the European rules of warfare, were indispensable. This evil was finally obviated by the exertions of Benjamin Franklin, who was then postmaster-general of America, and had visited the camp for the purpose of facilitating the transmission of the mail to and from the army and the settlements. He, by great exertions, and by using his influence with the farmers of Pennsylvania, succeeded in procuring these supplies. In the mean time, Washington, conscious of the fact that the success of the expedition would, in a great degree, depend upon the celerity with which they advanced, advised the general to make use of pack-horses in conveying the baggage, and not to wait for the wagons. In support of this advice, he stated that the French were known to be weak on the Ohio, but they were hourly expecting reinforcements, and, at the same time, the continued drought had so dried up the streams that neither troops nor provisions could be conveyed by them to Venango, or Fort Duquesne. This prudent advice was overruled by a council of war, by which it was declared extremely rash, and contrary to established custom.

While the army was thus constrained to remain in inactivity, Washington's Writings, vol. ii. p. 71.

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Washington received with pleasure an order from General Braddock, to return to Williamsburg, and bring to the camp four thousand pounds, for the use of the army. He executed this commission with promptness and effect, and arrived with his charge safe in camp, on the 30th of May, though he had been compelled to wait a day in Winchester, in expectation of an escort of cavalry. This escort not arriving in time, he was obliged to make use of a small guard of the militia.

One hundred and fifty wagons, the number promised by Franklin, having arrived, the army, on the 10th of June, commenced the march for the Ohio; but now, new obstacles sprung up before them. The nature of the road which they were traversing made it necessary to double the teams of horses, which over an ordinary road would have been sufficient to drag the wagons. This caused unavoidable delay, and the general, becoming impatient, began to think, and not without reason, that the season for military operations would be consumed before he would be able to reach Fort Duquesne. He called a council of war to consider what was to be done, but before the meeting of the council, he privately asked Washington's opinion concerning the expedition. "I urged him," says Washington in a letter to his younger brother, «in the warmest terms I was able, to push forward, if he even did it with a small but chosen band, with such artillery and light stores as were necessary; leaving the heavy artillery, baggage, and the like, with the rear division of the army, to follow by slow and easy marches, which they might do safely, while we were advanced in front."

This advice prevailed in the council, and being approved by the general, he advanced on the 19th of June, with twelve hundred chosen men, and officers from all the different corps, leaving the remainder, with most of the wagons, under the command of Colonel Dunbar, with instructions to follow as fast as he could. Notwithstanding this arrangement, Braddock advanced very slowly, "halting to level every mole-hill, and to erect bridges over every brook, by which means he was four days in advancing twelve miles."

At this time Washington was suffering from the effects of a severe fever. On the 14th, but three days after the army commenced its march from Will's Creek, he was attacked by a violent fever and pain in the head, which continued without intermission for nine days. On the 23d, the fever and pain began to abate. His illness was too violent to suffer him to ride on horseback,

and he soon found it necessary to make use of a covered wagon; but the jolting was so great that he could continue in it but a short time, at the rate of the advanced detachment. He was accordingly advised, by the general, to wait the arrival of Colonel Dunbar's detachment, which was two days' march behind. On his manifesting a strong disinclination to be left behind, the doctor declared that if he persevered in his determination to go on, in the condition in which he then was, his life would be endangered. This, with the promise of the general, that he should be brought up before he reached the French fort, induced him to halt and await Dunbar's detachment. He continued with the rear division two weeks, when he was so far recovered as to bear the fatigue of quick travelling in a covered wagon. In this way, on the 8th of July, he rejoined the advanced division, and on the next day, the day of the battle, attended the general on horseback, though still very weak.

N joining Braddock's division on the 8th, at the mouth of the Youghiogany, Washington was surprised to find them, though within fifteen miles of the fort, marching in regular European order, in as perfect security as if they were on the wide plains of the Eastern Hemisphere; or in a peaceful review, on a field day, in England. They marched without advanced guards or scouts; and the offer of Washington to scour the woods, in front and on the flanks, with his Virginian provincials, was haughtily rejected.

A considerable bend in the Monongahela river, and the nature of the banks, made it necessary for the army to cross it twice before they reached the fort. On the morning of the ninth of July, every thing being in readiness, the whole train crossed the river in perfect order, a short distance below the mouth of the Youghiogany, and took up their line of march along its southern bank, in high spirits. The garrison of the fort was understood to be small, and quite inadequate to resist the force now brought to bear upon it; exulting hope filled every heart; and no one doubted that he should see the British flag waving, next day, over the battlements; and the enemy obliged to retire to Canada, or surrender themselves prisoners of war. The march on that morning is described as a splendid spectacle; being made in full military array, in exact order, the sun glancing from the burnished bayonets to the scarlet uniform of the regulars, with a majestic river on the right, and dark, deep woods on the left. Not an enemy appeared, and

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