George Washington: The Forge of Experience, 1732-1775

By James Thomas Flexner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
22
Dragon's Teeth

GEORGE WASHINGTON was extending paths that had been walked by his fathers. Like them, he was a figure in a neighborhood; like them, he sought land beyond the receding frontier; like them, he farmed, even if he had moved to new crops and a new economic pattern. He was being more successful than any of his ancestors had been. He was happy to live in this manner, and he intended so to die.

The controversies which, soon after the French and Indian War had ended, the Burgesses engaged in with the government overseas seemed to him continuations of old patterns. Since Virginia's beginning, squabbles had spanned the ocean. The Colonists had picked their sides on specific issues according to their economic interests. When Washington had been young his interests had accorded with royal prerogative. The Fairfax grant, on which the prosperity of his brother Lawrence and his friends at Belvoir had been based, had been a favorite target of believers in colonial autonomy. And the Ohio Company, which had given him his big chance, had been created by the exertion of influence in London.

However, in the first major issue that developed with the peace, Washington's interest was strongly on the home rule side. During the fighting, the Colonists had been permitted to print

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