George Washington: A Biography - Vol. 1

By Douglas Southall Freeman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
"I WENT OUT, WAS SOUNDLY BEATEN, LOST THEM ALL . . ."
(June, 1754-July 4, 1754)

NOT FOR an instant did young Lieutenant Colonel Washington permit the protests of the French prisoners to divert him from two other matters of much concern--his answer to the Governor on the sore question of pay, and his preparations to meet the attack he expected in retaliation for the defeat of Jumonville's party.

The Governor's reply to the protest George had forwarded on the 18th of May was a sharp letter written from Winchester, May 25. Dinwiddie took up, one by one, the complaints of Captain Stephen and the other officers. Where the Governor thought the complaint justified, he promised such correction as he could make; where he believed the officers wrong, he said so, and reminded them that other men, applicants for commission, had "approved of the terms and were desirous to serve on those conditions."

When the Governor had disposed of the protest, he turned his attention to George and gave the commander a verbal spanking:". . . I must begin by expressing both concern and surprise to find a gentleman whom I so particularly considered, and from whom I had so great expectations and hopes, appear so differently from himself, and give me leave to say, mistakenly, as I think, concurring with complaints in general so ill-founded." The Governor professed his understanding of George's difficulties and assured the young man that merit would not "pass unnoticed." In the course of an exhortation to stand fast, Dinwiddie remarked that he hoped the importance of the task "would sweeten the toils; that you will hereafter reflect on [this] with pleasure, and engage you to think of nothing less than resigning your command, or countenancing in any sort the discontent that could never be more unreasonable or pernicious than at present."1

____________________
1
Dinwiddie to Washington, May 25, 1754; I Din., 173.

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