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afford protection to the frontiers of Virginia, was CHAP. I. not the only distressing and vexatious circum- 1756. stance attending his situation. The lieutenant governor, to whose commands he was in every minute circumstance subjected, and who seems to have been a weak, obstinate, and rude man, without just conceptions of the situation or real interests of the colony, frequently deranged his systems by orders which could not be executed without considerable hazard and inconvenience. He could not always restrain his chagrin on such occasions, and on one of them, he observed in a letter to an intimate friend, and a very influential character, “ whence it arises, or why, I am truly ignorant, but my strongest representations of matters relative to the peace of the frontiers are disregarded as idle and frivolous ; my propositions and measures, as partial and selfish; and all my sincerest endeavours for the service of my country, perverted to the worst purposes. My orders are dark, doubtful, and uncertain. To day approved, to-morrow condemned; left to act and proceed at hazard; accountable for the consequences, and blamed without the benefit of defence. If you can think my situation capable of exciting the smallest degree of envy, or of affording the least satisfaction, the truth is yet hid from you, and you entertain notions very different from the reality of the case. However, I am determined to bear up
CHAP. I. under all these embarrassments, some time 1756. longer, in the hope of better regulations under
lord Loudoun, to whom I look for the future fate of Virginia."
Not long after this letter was written, lord Loudoun arrived in Virginia, and in addition to his character as commander in chief, he was clothed with the highest civil authority, having been appointed governor of the colony. A complimentary address from the regiment, stating their pleasure at his arrival and appointment, and the readiness with which they would execute his commands, was presented to him; and a very comprehensive statement of the situation of the colony in a military point of view, and of the regiment in particular, was drawn up and submitted to him by colonel Washington. In this, he enumerated the errors which had prevented the completion of his regiment, showed the insufficiency of the militia, and demonstrated the superiority of an offensive over the defensive systems which had been pursued. After stating the particular situation of the forts, he proceeded to say, "it will evidently appear from the whole tenor of my conduct, but more especially from my reiterated representations, how strongly I have urged the governor and assembly to pursue different measures, and laboured to convince them by all the reasoning I was capable of offering, of the impossibility of covering so extensive a
frontier from Indian incursions, without more CHAP. I. force than Virginia can maintain. I have 1757. endeavoured to demonstrate that it would require fewer men to remove the cause, than to prevent the effects while the cause exists."
Proceeding then to state the services of his regiment, he added, that under the disadvantageous restraints which had been enumerated, he must be permitted to observe, that the regiment had not been inactive. “On the contrary," he said, “ it has performed a vast deal of work, and has been very alert in defend. ing the people, which will appear by observing, that notwithstanding we are more contiguous to the French and their Indian allies, and more exposed to their frequent incursions than any of the neighbouring colonies; we have not lost half the inhabitants which others have done, but considerably more soldiers in their defence. For, in the course of this campaign, since March I mean, as we have had but one constant campaign, one continued scene of action since we first entered the service, our troops have been engaged in upwards of twenty. skirmishes, and we have had near one hundred men killed and wounded.”
After condemning the ill judged economy *shown in raising men, he proceeded thus to describe the prevailing temper of the day, a temper by no means peculiar to that particular
CHAP. I. era. “We are either insensible of danger 1757. until it breaks upon our heads; or else, through
mistaken notions of economy, evade the expense until the blow is struck, and then run into an extreme of raising militia. These, after an age as it were, is spent in assembling them, come up, make a' noise for a time, oppress the inhabitants, and then return, leaving the frontiers unguarded as before. This is still our reliance, notwithstanding former experience convinces us, if reason did not, that the French and Indians are watching the opportunity when we shall be lulled into fatal security, and unprepared to resist an attack, to invade the coun. try, and by ravaging one part, terrify another; that they retreat when our militia assemble, and repeat the stroke as soon as they are dispersed; that they send down parties in the intermediate time to discover our motions, procure intelligence, and sometimes to divert the troops. Such an invasion we may expect in March, if measures to prevent it are neglected as they hitherto have been.”
This statement was probably presented by colonel Washington in person, who was permitted, during the winter, to visit lord Loudoun in Philadelphia, where that nobleman met the governors of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina, and the lieutenant governor of Virginia, in order to consult with them on the measures to be taken in their respective pro
vinces, for the ensuing campaign. He was, CHAP. I. however, disappointed in his favourite hope of 1757. being enabled to act offensively against the French on the Ohio. Lord Loudoun had determined to direct all his efforts against the enemy in the northern parts of the continent, and to leave in aid of the middle and southern colonies only twelve hundred men. Instead of receiving assistance, Virginia was required to send four hundred men to the aid of South Carolina: yet colonel Washington continued indefatigable in his endeavours to impress on mr. Dinwiddie, and on the assembly, the importance of reviving and properly modifying their military code, which had now expired, of making a more efficient militia law, and of increasing their number of regular troops.
So far from succeeding on the last subject, he had the mortification to witness a measure which completely crushed his hopes of an efficient regular force. Being unable to complete the regiment according to its late establishment by voluntary enlistment, the assembly May. changed its organization, and reduced it to ten companies, each to consist of one hundred men: yet his anxious wishes continued to be directed towards fort du Quesne, which he very justly considered as the source, from whence had flowed all the miseries with which his distressed country had been deluged. He still laboured to impress on the officer commanding the British