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BIRTH OF MR. WASHINGTON-HIS MISSION TO THE FRENCH ON
THE OHIO-APPOINTED LIEUTENANT-COLONEL OF A REGIMENT
LONY-GENERAL FORBES UNDERTAKES THE EXPEDITION AGAINST
FORT DU QUESNE-DEFBAT OF MAJOR GRANT-FORT DU QUESNE
CEORGE WASHINGTON, the third son of Augustine CHAP. I.
Washington, was born in Virginia, at Bridges-Creek in 1782. the county of Westmorland, on the 22d of February, 1732. Washington. He was the great grandson of John Washington, a gentleman of very respectable family in the north of England, who had emi; VOL. II.
CHAP. I. grated about the year 1657, and settled on the place where
young Mr. Washington was born.
Very early in life the cast of his genius disclosed itself. The war in which his country was then engaged against France and Spain, first kindled those latent sparks which afterwards blazed with equal splendour and advantage ; and at the age of fifteen he urged so pressingly to be permitted to enter into the British navy, that the place of midshipman was obtained for him. The interference of a timid and affectionate mother suspended for a time the commencement of his military course.
He lost his father at the age of ten years, and received what was denominated an English education; a term which excludes the acquisition of other languages than our own. As his patrimonial estate was by no means considerable, his youth was employed in useful industry: and in the practice of his profession as a surveyor, he had an opportunity of acquiring that information respecting vacant lands, and of forming those opinions concerning their future value, which afterwards greatly contributed to the increase of his private fortune.
It is strong evidence of the opinion entertained of his capacity, that when not more than nineteen years of age, and at a time when the militia were to be trained for actual service, he was appointed one of the adjutants-general of Virginia, with the rank of major. The duties annexed to this office were performed by him for a very short time. The plan formed by France for connecting her extensive dominions in America, by uniting Canada with Louisiana, now began to develope itself. Possession was
taken of a tract of country then deemed to be within the province of Virginia, and a line of posts was commenced from the Lakes to the Ohio. The attention of Mr. Dinwiddie, the lieutenant-governor of that province, was attracted by these supposed encroachments; and he deemed it his duty to demand, in the name of the king his master, that they should desist from the prosecution of designs which violated, as he thought, the treaties between the two crowns. A proper person was to be selected for the performance of this duty, which, at that time, was very properly believed to be a very arduous one. A great part of the country through which the envoy was to pass was almost entirely unexplored, and inhabited only by Indians, many of whom were hostile to the English, and others of doubtful attachment. While the dangers and fatigues of the journey deterred those from undertaking it who did not extend their views to the future scenes to be exhibited in that country, or who did not wish to be actors in them, they seem to have furnished motives to Mr. Washington for desiring to be employed in this hazardous service, and he engaged in it with the utmost alacrity.
He commenced his journey from Williamsburg the day on His mission to which he was commissioned, and arrived on the 14th of Novem- the Ohio. ber at Willis's-Creek, then the extreme frontier settlement of the English. Guides were there engaged to conduct him over the Aleghany mountains, the passage of which, at that season of the year, began to be extremely difficult. After surmounting considerable impediments from the snow and high waters, he reached the mouth of Turtle-Creek on the Monongahela, on the 22d, where he learned from an Indian trader, that the French B 2
the French on