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Birth of Mr. Washington-His Mission to the French on the Ohio— Appointed Lieutenant-colonel of a Reziment of regular Troops-Surprises M. Jumonville-Capitulation of Fort Necessity - Is appointed Aid-de-camp to General Braddock-Defeat and Death of that General- Is appointed to the Command of a Regiment—Extreme Distress of the Frontiers, and Exertions of Colonel Washington to augment the regular Force of the Colony-General Forbes undertakes the Expedition against Fori du Quesne---Defeat of Major Grant-Fort du Quesne evacuated by the French and taken Possession of by the English-Resignation and Marriage of Colonel Washington. GEORGE WASHINGTON, the third son of
Augustine Washington, was born in Virginia, at Bridges Creek in the county of Westmorland, on the 22d of February, 1732. He was the great grandson of John Washington, a gentleman of very respectable family in the north of England, VOL II.
who had emigrated 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 ap
pointed 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 ireaties 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. Wash. ington for desiring to be employed in this hazardous B2
service, and he engaged in it with the utmost ala. crity.
He commenced his journey from Williamsburg the day on which he was commissioned, and arrived on the 14th of November at Willis's Creek, then the extreme frontier settlement of the English. Guides were there engaged to conduct him over the Aleghany inountains, 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 general was dead, and that the major part of the army had retired into winter quarters. Pursuing his route, he examined the country with a military cye, and seleted the forks of the Monon. gahela and Aleghany rivers, the place where Fort du Quesne, now Fort Pitt, was afterwards erected by the French, as an advantageous and command, ing position, which it would be advisable to take possession of immediately, and to fortify. • After employing a few days among the Indians in that neighbourhood, and procuring some of their chiefs, whose fidelity he took the most judicious ineans for securing, to accompany him, he ascended the Aleghany River, and at the mouth of French Creek found the first fort cccupied by the troops of France. Proceeding farther up the creek. to an