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LETTERS AND ADDRESSES OF
On a Youthful Attachment
Dear Friend Robin: As it's the greatest mark of friendship and esteem, absent friends can shew each other, in writing and often communicating their thoughts, to his fellow companions, I make one endeavor to signalize myself in acquainting you, from time to time, and at all times, my situation and employments of life, and could wish you would take half the pains of contriving me a letter by any opportunity, as you may be well assured of its meeting with a very welcome reception. My place of residence is at present at his Lordship's, where I might, was my heart disengaged, pass my time very pleasantly as there's a very agreeable young lady lives in the same house, (Colonel George Fairfax's wife's sister.) But as that's only adding fuel to fire, it makes me the more uneasy, for by often, and unavoidably, being in company with her revives my former passion for your Lowland beauty; whereas, was I to live more retired from young women, I might in some measure eliviate my sorrows, by burying that chaste and troublesome passion in the grave of oblivion or etarnall forgetfulness, for as I am very well assured, that's the only antidote or remedy, that I ever shall be relieved by or only recess that can administer any cure or help to me, as I am well convinced, was I ever to at
tempt any thing I should get a denial which would be only adding grief to uneasiness.
Extract from "Journal to the Ohio"
The Day following, we fell in with a Party of French Indians, who had lain in Wait for us. One of them fired at Mr. Gist or me, not 15 steps off, but fortunately missed. We took this Fellow into Custody, and kept him till about 9 o'clock at Night; Then let him go, and walked all the remaining Part of the Night without making any Stop; that we might get the Start, so far, as to be out of the Reach of their Pursuit the next Day, since we were well assured they would follow our Tract as soon as it was light. The next Day we continued travelling till quite dark, and got to the River about two Miles above Shannapins. We expected to have found the River frozen, but it was not, only about 50 Yards from each shore; The Ice I suppose had broken up above, for it was driving in vast Quantities. There was no Way for getting over but on a Raft; Which we set about with but one poor Hatchet, and finished just after Sun-setting. This was a whole Day's Work. Then set off; But before we were Half Way over, we were jammed in the Ice, in such a Manner that we expected.every Moment our Raft to sink, and ourselves to perish. I put-out my setting Pole to try to stop the Raft, that the Ice might pass by; when the Rapidity of the Stream threw it with so much Violence against the Pole, that it jerked me out into ten Feet Water: but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the Raft Logs. Notwithstanding all our Efforts we
could not get the Raft to either Shore; but were obliged, as we were near an Island, to quit our Raft and make to it.
The Cold was so extremely severe, that Mr. Gist had all his Fingers, and some of his Toes frozen; but the water was shut up so hard, that we found no Difficulty in getting-off the Island, on the Ice, in the Morning, and went to Mr. Fraziers.
Application for a Commission
To Richard Corbin
Dear Sir: In a conversation with you at Green Spring, you gave me some room to hope for a commission above that of major, and to be ranked among the chief officers of this expedition. The command of the whole forces is what I neither look for, expect, nor desire; for I must be impartial enough to confess, it is a charge too great for my youth and inexperience to be entrusted with. Knowing this, I have too sincere a love for my country, to undertake that which may tend to the prejudice of it. But if I could entertain hopes, that you thought me worthy of the post of lieutenant-colonel, and would favor me so far as to mention it at the appointment of officers, I could not but entertain a true sense of the kindness.
I flatter myself, that, under a skilful commander, or man of sense, (whom I most sincerely wish to serve under,) with my own application and diligent study of my duty, I shall be able to conduct my steps without censure, and, in time, render myself worthy of the promotion, that I shall be favored with now.
On His Willingness to Serve as a Volunteer
To Governor Dinwiddie
FROM OUR CAMP AT THE GREAT MEADOWS,
29 May, 1754.
Honble. Sir: I shall begin with assuring you, that nothing was farther from my intention than to recede, tho I then pressed, and still desire, that my services may be voluntary, rather than on the present pay. I am much concerned, that your Honour should seem to charge me with ingratitude for your generous, and my undeserved favours; for I assure you, Hon'ble Sir, nothing is a greater stranger to my breast, or a sin that my soul more abhors, than that black and detestable one, ingratitude. I retain a true sense of your kindnesses, and want nothing but opportunity to give testimony of my willingness to oblige, as far as my life or fortune will extend.
As to the numbers that applied for commissions, and to whom we were preferred, I believe, had those gentlemen been as knowing of this country, and as sensible of the difficulties that would attend a campaign here as I then was, I conceive your Honour would not have been so troublesomely solicited as you were. Yet I do not offer this as a reason for quitting the service. For my own part I can answer, I have a constitution hardy enough to encounter and undergo the most severe trials, and, I flatter myself, resolution to face what any man durst, as shall be proved when it comes to the test, which I believe we are, on the borders of.
There is nothing, Sir (I believe), more certain than that the officers on the Canada expedition had British pay allowed, whilst they were in the service. Therefore, Honble.