George Washington: A Biography - Vol. 1

By Douglas Southall Freeman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
WASHINGTON UNHAPPILY LOSES HIS FIRST RACE
(January, 1754-April, 1754)

WHEN GEORGE had completed the revision of his journal and could move about Williamsburg he found himself and his mission the objects of much curiosity. He was applauded by the friends of the Governor and was accused secretly by the enemies of His Honor and by rival speculators of magnifying the danger in order to get help for the Ohio Company.1 Washington's own immediate desire was to know what had happened in the colonial capital while he was on his mission to Fort Le Boeuf--and what would be done to anticipate the advance of the French to the Ohio.

The General Assembly, which was about to meet when he left on his mission, had remained in session until Dec. 19, 1753, and then had adjourned with scant praise by the Governor.2 Much of its time had been given to debate over the right of the Governor to the fee of one pistole he had demanded for signing a land patent and thereby validating it for the seal of the Colony.3 Although Dinwiddie had undertaken earnestly to procure a grant of funds for defence against the French, the Burgesses had not voted a shilling. Nor had they done anything to encourage better relations with the Indians. The only enactment that concerned military affairs was one for the extension of an expiring law on the use of militia to repel invasion.4 Dinwiddie had hoped that before the Burgesses adjourned, Major Washington would return with a report that would stir them to action, but in this, too, he had met with disappointment.5

The Governor had been left in grim humor but resolute. Failure both

____________________
1
G. W., 7, and infra, p. 332. Cf. the summary of Washington's mission and report in Md. Gazette, Feb 7, 1754. See, also, ibid., Feb 14, 1754.
2
The session began November 1. See Journ. H.B., 1752-58, p. 103-17.
3
See supra, p. 171.
4
6 H350.
5
Dinwiddie to Gov. Horatio Sharpe, Nov 24, 1753, 1 Sharpe, 10. For Dinwiddie's review of the failures of the General Assembly, see his letter to the Board of Trade, Dec 29, 1753; P.R.O., C.O. 5, 1382, n.p.

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