American Historical Society George Thornton Fleming.

History of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 online

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must give us meat in the morning." He was glad to get away. I followed him, and
listened until he was fairly out of the way, and then we set out about half a mile,
when we made a fire, set our compass, and fixed our course, and traveled all night, and
in the morning we were on the head of Piney Creek.

Friday 28— We traveled all the next day down the said creek, and just at night
found some ti^cks where Indians had been hunting. We parted, and appointed a place
a distance off, where to meet, it being then dark. We encamped, and thought ourselves
safe enough to sleep.

Saturday 29— We set out early, got to AUegeheny, made a raft, and with much
difficulty got over to an island, a little above Shannopin's town. The Major having
fallen off the raft, and my fingers frost-bitten, and the sun down, and very cold, we
contented ourselves to encamp upon that island. It was deep water between us and
the shore; but the cold did us some service, for in the morning it was frozen hard
enough for us to pass over the ice.

Sunday 30— We set out about ten miles to John Frazier's at Turtle creek, and
rested that evening.

Monday 31 — Next day we waited for Queen Aliquippa, who lives now at the mouth
of Youghiogany. She said she would never go down the Allegheny river to live,
except the English built a fort, then she would go and live there.

Tuesday January i, 1754— We set out from John Frazier's and at night encamped
at Jacob's cabins.

Wednesday 2 — Set out and crossed Youghiogany on the ice. Got to my house in the
new settlement.

Thursday 3 — Rain.

Friday 4 — Set out for Will's creek, where we arrived on Sunday, January 6A^

The original edition of Washington's Journal, printed in 1754 by
William Hunter at Williamsburg, is extremely rare, "so rare (according
to Mr. Field) that but two copies are known to exist.*' Mr. Brinley,
at Hartford, possessed a copy that originally belonged to Mr. Rich
Peters, and it was sold in 1880 at the dispersion of his library for $560.

i^This and other Journals of Gist are to be found in Darlington's work, "Christo-
pher Gist's Journals."

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An English edition was published by T. JeflFerys in London in 1754, and
it is from this edition that the following reprint has been made. (The
Writings of Washington, 1748-57, Vol. I, p. 11, W. C Ford).
The original contains the following advertisement :


As it was thought adviscable by his Honor the Governor to have the following
account of my proceedings to and from the French on the Ohio, committed to print; I
think I can do no less than apologize, in some measure for the numberless imperfec-
tions of it.

There intervened but one day between my arrival in Williamsburg, and the time
for the Council's Meeting, for me to prepare and transcribe, from the rough Minutes
I had taken in my Travels, this Journal; the writing of which only was sufficient to
employ me closely the whole Time, consequently admitted to no leisure to consult of a
new and proper Form to offer it in, or to correct or amend the Diction of the old:
Neither was I apprised, nor did it least conceive, when I wrote this for his Honor's
Perusal, that it ever would be published or even have more than a cursory Reading;
till I was informed, at the Meeting of the present General Assembly that it was already
in the Press.

There is nothing can recommend it to the Public, but this. Those Things which
came under notice of my own Observation, I have been explicit and just in a Recital
of: Those which I have gathered from Report, I have been particularly cautious not
to augment, but collected the Opinions of the several intelligences and selected from the
whole the most probable and consistent Account G. Washington.

Washington's original title page reads :

"The brave and accomplished Chevalier de St. Pierre," as Brady terms
him, was the ranking French officer in the region of the River Le Boeuf.
It was only in keeping with the character of this veteran that he should
receive the embassador with courtesy and extend a gracious hospitality.
After several days St. Pierre had ready his reply. It was that of a
soldier. Brady finds that it was in eflfect the famous remark of McMahon
at Sevastopol: '7'y suis, j'y teste J' (Here I am and here I stay). The
French are prone to laconics. **Ce*st ne pas" is too recent to dwell on.
It goes with the story of Verdun.

St. Pierre's reply to Dinwiddle was as follows:

Sir : As I have the honour of commanding here in chief, Mr. Washington delivered to
me the letter, which you wrote to the commander of the French troops. I should have
been glad that you had given him orders, or that he had been inclined, to proceed to
Canada to see our General; to whom it better belongs, than to me, to set forth the
evidence and the reality of the rights of the King, my master, to the lands situated
along the river Ohio, and to contest the pretensions of the King of Great Britain thereto.
I shall transmit your letter to Marquis Duguisine, or du Quesine. His answer will be
a law to me. And if he shall order me to communicate it to you, Sir, you may be
assured, I shall not fail to dispatch it forthwith to you. As to the summons you send
me to retire, I do not think myself obliged to obey it. Whatever may be your instruc-
tions, I am here by virtue of the orders of my general; and, I intreat you, Sir, not to
doubt one moment, but that I am determined to conform myself to them with all the
exactness and resolution, which can be expected of the best officer. I do not know
that in the progress of this campaign anything has passed, which can be reputed an act
of hostility, or, that is contrary to the treaties, which subsist between the two crowns;
the continuations whereof as much as interesteth, and is pleasing to us, as the English.
Had you been pleased. Sir, to have descended to particularize the facts, which occa-

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sioned your complaint, I should have had the honour of answering you in the fullest,
and, I am persuaded, the most satisfactory manner, etc.

Lbgaboeur de St. Pi^rbs.^!

In the personal description of St. Pierre, it is recorded that he had
lost an eye. All historians examined bear testimony to his worth and
fidelity — in truth a typical soldier. Thus:

Legardeur de St Pierre had just returned from an expedition towards the Rocky
Mountains when he was sent to succeed the dying Marin. He afterwards served under
Dieskau, and was killed in the "bloody morning scout" just before the battle of Lake
George, September 8, 1755. His full name was Legardeur de St Pierre de Repentigny,
the last probably being, as Mr. Shea suggests, the Riparti just mentionedis

St. Pierre, in fact, had been at LeBoeuf but seven days when Wash-
ington arrived. When Duquesne learned that Marin, a sturdy old
officer in command there was in extremity, he chose St. Pierre, who had
just returned from a journey of exploration towards the Rocky moun-

Shea's suggestion that Reparti and St. Pierre were identical is scarcely
credible. Shea has found mention of a French officer, M. St. Pierre,
who was at Lake Pepin in 1736, when Father Goignas, S. J., reappeared
among the Fox Indians, after his captivity. Shea thinks this was the
St. Pierre to whom Washington delivered Dinwiddie's letters.**

The street that once commemorated this soldier of Old France in
New France in America, was joined with the two boulevards when they
were constructed in 1895-1896. It was the part from Fifth avenue to
Forbes street, at Schenley Park.

""Late War, etc;" Entidc, pp. 101-102.
i«"Writings of G. Washington," 1748-57; Vol. I, p. 29.
i«"Montcalm & Wolfe;" Parkman, Vol I, p. 13S, and note Ihid.
i4<'Early Voyages Up and Down the Mississippi, with Introduction, Notes and
Index;" John Gilmary Shea, p. 175.

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The Stxiiggle for a Continent.

The struggle for the continent of North America which resulted in
British acquisition of all the French domain on that continent by the
the peace of Paris in 1763, began between armed forces of the respective
nations not far from Pittsburgh, in what is now Fayette county, and not
long after Washington's return from his fruitless mission to the French
forts. From the signing of the treaty at Aix-la-Chapelle in April, 1748,
the clashes of English and French partisans in the debatable land had
not ceased. How Weiser succeeded in his mission to the Ohio Indians
at Logstown in the summer of 1748 has been related; also how Celoron
came, taking formal possession in the name of the French King, and how
Dinwiddie's demands that the French withdraw from the region re-
ceived a dignified though evasive reply from the soldierly Legardeur
St. Pierre. In brief, he had no jurisdiction ; the question must go to his
superiors. The boasting of Joncaire at Venango, while in his cups, left
no doubt that the French meant fight. They had fought the English
before, and scarcely five years had elapsed since the signing of the treaty
at Aix-la-Chapelle by which France got back nearly all that had been
lost in King George's War, which that treaty concluded. The return
of Louisburg to the French was especially galling to the New Eng-
landers. Slight wonder that Joncaire should play the braggart. Half
Indian, he was both cunning and proud, and it was a warrior's privilege
to boast if his deeds justified. It will appear that Governor Dinwiddie
knew the clash of arms was near, and hastened to erect a fort at the
Forks of the Ohio. It was a vantage point, indeed.

The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle has always been characterized as the
most inglorious and impolitic compact to which Britain acceded since
the Revolution of 1688. James Grahame ("History of the United States,"
1836, Vol. Ill, p. 394), says:

It produced most i)ainful surprise and mortification in New England; it was dis-
advantageous to America and the accessory provisions no less dishonorable to Britain.
In short after a war which proved calamitous and distressing to every quarter of the
British Empire and advanced the national debt of Great Britain to 80,000,000 pounds
sterling, the nation concluded a peace by which she parted with a single dearly bought
prize her arms had won without procuring in return a single natural advantage* the
redress of any part of the injury which she had justly complained, or the recognition or
additional security of any of her rights which had been previously invaded.

Smollet says:

The English gave up their conquest in North America of more consequence to her
traffic than all the other dominions for which the powers at war contended ; they gave
up the important isle of Cape Breton in exchange for a paltry factory in the East
Indies whose existence they deemed prejudicial to the commonwealth.

The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was unstable and inglorious. It was only a truce
that settled nothing regarding the boundaries of New France and the English Colonies
along the seaboard. Well could Celoron call attention to this treaty and those of Ris-
wick and Utrecht with all their advantages in favor of his country— advantages for

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the very fact that they were non-committal It is a notorious fact that after the peace
of Aix-la-Chapelle the French ministry gave more attention to the strength and resources
of Canada and Louisiana. The possession of these distant colonies with the almost
uninterrupted water communication seemed to unfold the means of subduing the Eng-
lish power in America. Durii^ 1752 and 1753 the French forts at Crown Point and
Niagara were strengthened and LeBcef and Venango were erected. Presq' Isle had
come earlier than the last two by a few months only. All these posts were put in the
best possible state of defence, and those also in distant Louisiana. The dissensions
among the English Colonies made it difficult to collect a sufficient force to oppose the
French. When the clash came the advantage was with the French. Their wily and
able diplomats retained enough Indians on their side to furnish them formidable allies.
Weiser and Croghan could not detach enough to count Their efforts merely deferred
the war.i

The activities of the Ohio Company of Virginians in the spring of
1754 bringing about the crisis at the Forks of the Ohio, the first overt
act of the French and Indian War, 1754-1758, in Western Pennsylvania,
and the frequent mention of that company, requires some history of its
formation, powers and intentions. In the narration of the events lead-
ing up to hostilities in the summer of 1754 it is always to be remembered
that it was Virginians who began the war, and in the opening skirmish
when Jumonville fell, Washington first heard the sound of bullets.*

The story of this company is taken from the first Appendix to the
"History of Western Pennsylvania and the West"— copied from Sparks*
"Washington" (Vol. II, pp. 478-483). See also "Olden Time," Vol. I,
pp. 291-296.

The Ohio Company.

In 1748, Thomas Lee, one of his Majesty's Council in Virginia, formed the design
of effecting settlements on the wild land west of the Allegheny Mountains, through
the agency of an association of gentlemen. Before this there were no English residents
in those regions. A few traders wandered from tribe to tribe, and dwelt among the
Indians, but they neither cultivated nor occupied the lands. With the view of carrying
his plan into operation, Lee associated himself with twelve other persons in Virginia
and Maryland, and with John Hanbury, a merchant in London, who formed what th^
called, **The Ohio Company." Lawrence Washington, and Augustine Washington,
brothers of George Washington, were among the first who engaged in this scheme. A
petition was presented to the king in behalf of the company, which was approved, and
500,000 acres of land were granted almost in the terms requested by the company. The
object of the company was to settle the lands and to carry on the Indian trade upon a
large scale. Hidierto the trade with the western Indians had been mostly in the hands
of the Pennsylvanians. The company conceived that they might derive an important
advantage over their competitors in this trade from the water communication of the
Potomac and the eastern branches of the Ohio, whose headwaters approximated each
other.' The lands were to be chiefly taken on the south side of the Ohio, between the
Monongahela and Kenhawa rivers, and west of the Alleghenies. The privilege was
reserved, however, by the company of embracing a portion of the lands on the north
side of the river, if it should be deemed expedient Two hundred thousand acres were
to be selected immediately, and to be held for ten years free from rent or any tax to the
King, on condition that the company should at its own expense seat one hundred fami-
lies on the lands within seven years, and build a fort and maintain a garrison sufficient
to protect the settlement

The first steps taken by the company were to order Mr. Hanbury, their agent in

i"History of England;" Vol. II, p. 34. (The Smollett citation is the four lines at
bottom of p. 256, beginning "The English," etc. The next paragraph, beginning "The
peace," etc., and concluding on p. 257, is our author's narrative.— Editor) .

^Letter to his brother John, May 31, I754» in 'Writings of Washington;" Ford,
Vol. I, p. 89.

Pitta.— 17

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London, to send over for their use two cargoes of goods suited to the Indian trade,
amounting in the whole to four thousand pounds sterling: one car^o to arrive in
November, 1749; the other m March following. They resolved also, that such roads
should be made and houses built, as would facilitate the communication from the head
of navigation on the Potomac river across the mountains to some point on the Monon-
gahela. And as no attempt to establish settlements could be made without some pre-
vious arrangements with the Indians, the company petitioned the government of Vir-
ginia to invite them to a treaty. As a preliminary to other proceedings, the company
also sent Christopher Gist with instructions to explore the country, examine the quality
of the lands, keep a journal of his adventures, draw as accurate a plan of the country
as his observations would permit, and report the same to the board. On his first tour,
he was absent nearly seven months, penetrated the country for several hundred miles
north of the Ohio, visited the Twightwee Indians, and proceeded as far south as the
falls of that river. In November following, (1751) he passed down the south side of
the river, as far as the Great Kenhawa, and spent the winter in exploring the lands on
that route. Meantime the Indians had failed to assemble at Logstown, where they had
been invited by the Governor of Virginia to hold a treaty. It was natural that the
traders, who had already got possession of the ground, should endeavor to bias the
Indians, and throw obstacles in the way of any interference from another quarter.
The French were likewise tampering with them, and from political motives were using
means to withdraw them from every kind of alliance or intimacy with the English.
The company found that it would be in vain to expect much progress in their designs
till measures had been adopted for winning over the Indians; and accordingly the
proposed treaty of Logstown took place the next year, when Mr. Gist attended as
their agent, to look to the interests of any settlements that might be made on the south-
east side oif the Ohio. This treaty was concluded June 13, 1752. Colonel Pry, and two
other Commissioners, were present on the part of Virginia.

It is remarkable, that, in the debates attendant to the negotiation of this treaty,
the, Indians took care to disclaim a recognition of the English title to any of these
lands. In a speech to the Commissioners, one of the old Chiefs said : "You acquainted
us yesterday with the King's right to all the lands in Virginia, as far as it is settled, and
back from thence to the sun-setting, whenever he shall see fit to extend his settlements.
You produced also a copy of his deed from the Onondaga Council, at the treaty of
Lancaster, (1744} and desired that your brethren of the Ohio might likewise confirm
the deed. We are all well acquainted that our chief Council at the treaty of Lancaster
confirmed a deed to you for a quantity of land in Virginia which you have a right to;
but we never understood until you told us yesterday, that the lands were to extend
farther to the sun-setting, than the hill on the other side of the Allegheny Hill, so that
we can give you no farther answer."

Hence it appears that the Indians west of the Ohio, who inhabited the lands, had
never consented to any treaty ceding them to the English, nor understood that this
cession extended beyond the Allegheny mountains.

When the company was first instituted, Mr. Lee, its projector, was its principal
organ and most efficient member. He died afterwards, and then the chief manage-
ment fell on Lawrence Washington, who had engaged in the enterprise with an enthusi-
asm and energy peculiar to his character. His agency was short, however, as his rapidly
declining health soon terminated in his death. Several of the company's shares changed
hands, Governor Dinwiddie and George Mason became proprietors. There were orig-
inally but twenty shares, and the company never consisted of more than that number
of members.

Lawrence Washington had a project for inducing German settlers to take up the
lands. He wrote to Mr. Hanbury as follows:

Whilst the unhappy state of my health called me back to our springs (at Bath In
Virginia) I conversed with all the Pennsylvania Dutch (Germans) whom I met,
either there or elsewhere, and much recommended their settling in ()hio. The chief
reason against it was the paying of an English clergvman, when few understood, and
none made use of hhn. It has been my opinion, and I hope ever will be, that restraints
of conscience are cruel, in regard to those on whom they are imposed, and injurious to
the country imposing Uiem. England, Holland, and Prussia, I may quote as example.

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and much more Pennsylvania, which has flourished under that deliprhtful liberty, so as
to become the admiration of every man. who considers the short time it has been set-
tled. As the Ministry have thus far snown the true spirit of patriotism, by encour-
aging the extending of our dominions in America, I doubt not by an application they
would still go further, and complete what they have begun, bv procuring some Idnd
of a charter to prevent the residents on the Ohio and its branches, from being subject
to parish taxes. They all assured me, that they might have from Germany any num-
ber of settlers, could they but obtain their favorite exemption. I have promised to
endeavor for it, and now do my utmost by this letter. I am well assured we shall never
obtain it by a law here. This colony was greatly settled in the latter part of Charles
the First's time, and during the usurpation, by the zealous churchmen; and that spirit,
which was then brought in has ever since continued, so that, except a few Quakers, we
have no dissenters. But what has been the consequence? We have increased by slow
degrees, except negroes and convicts, whilst our neighboring colonies, whose natural
advantages are generally inferior to ours, have become populous.

A proposition was made by several Germans in Pennsylvania, that, if they could
have the above exemption, they would take 50,ocx> acres of the company's land, and set-
tle it with two hundred families. Washington wrote likewise on the subject to Gov-
ernor Dinwiddie, then in England, who replied : "It gave me pleasure, that the Dutch
(Germans) wanted 50,000 acres of land granted to the Ohio Company, and I observe
what you write about their own clergymen, and your endeavor to have them freed from
paying the Church of England. I fear this will be a difficult task to get over; and at
present, the Parliament is so busy with public affairs, and the Ministry of course
engaged, that we must wait some time before we can reply; but be assured of my
utmost endeavors therein." No proof exists, that any other steps were taken in the

Soon after the treaty at Logstown, Mr. Gist was appointed the company's surveyor,
and instructed to lay off a town and a fort, at Shurtee's Creek,8 a little below the site
of Pittsburgh, on the east side of the Ohio. The company assessed on themselves four
hundred pounds towards constructing the fort. In the meantime, Mr. Gist had fixed
his residence on the other side of the Alleghenies in the valley of the Monongahela,
and induced eleven families to settle around him on lands, which it was presumed would
be within the company's grant. The goods had come over from England, but had never
been tak^ farther into the interior than Will's creek, where they sold to traders and
Indians, who received them at that post. Some progress had been made in construct-
ing a road to the Monongahela, but the temper of the Indians was such as to discourage
an attempt to send the goods at the company's risk, to a more remote point.

Things were in this state, when the troubles on the frontiers broke out between the
French and English, involving on one side or the other the various Indian tribes. All
further operations were suspended till towards the close of the war, when the hostilities
had nearly ceased on the Virginia frontier from the capture of Fort Duquesne, and
weakened the efforts of the French. In 1760 a statement of the company's case was
drawn up by Charlton Palmer, a solicitor in London, who was employed by the com-
pany to apply to the King for such further orders and instructions to the government
in Virginia, as might enable the company to carry their grant into execution. The
business was kept in a state of suspense for three years, when the company resolved to
send out an agent, with full powers to bring it as speedily as possible to a close. CoL
George Mercer was selected for this commission, and instructed to procure leave from
the company to take up their lands, according to the conditions of the original grant,
or to obtain a reimbursement of the money, which had been paid on the faith of that
grant. He repaired to London accordingly, and entered upon his charge. But at this
time the counteracting interests of private individuals in Virginia, the claims of the offi-

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 35 of 81)