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plied Gist, "you can go home, and as we are tired we will remain here for the night, and follow your track at daylight. In the mean time here is a cake of bread for you, and you must give us some meat in the morning."

Whatever might have been the original designs of the savage, he was evidently glad to get off. Gist followed him cautiously for a distance, and listened until the sound of his footsteps died away; returning then to Washington, they proceeded about half a mile, made another fire, set their compass and fixed their course by the light of it, then leaving it burning, pushed forward, and travelled as fast as possible all night, so as to gain a fair start should any one pursue them at daylight. Continuing on the next day they never relaxed their speed until nightfall, when they arrived on the banks of the Allegany River, about two miles above Shannopins Town.

Washington had expected to find the river frozen completely over; it was so only for about fifty yards from each shore, while great quantities of broken ice were driving down the main channel. Trusting that he had out-travelled pursuit, he encamped on the border of the river; still it was an anxious night, and he was up at daybreak to devise some means of reaching the opposite bank. No other mode presented itself than by a raft, and to construct this they had but one poor hatchet. With this they set resolutely to work and labored all day, but the sun went down before their raft was finished. They launched it, however, and getting on board, endeavored to propel it across with setting poles. Before they were half way over the raft became jammed between cakes of ice, and they were in imminent peril. Washington planted his pole on the bottom of the stream, and leaned against it with all his might, to stay the raft until the ice should pass

by. The rapid current forced the ice against the pole with such violence that he was jerked into the water, where it was at least ten feet deep, and only saved himself from being swept away and drowned by catching hold of one of the raft logs.

It was now impossible with all their exertions to get to either shore; abandoning the raft therefore, they got upon an island, near which they were drifting. Here they passed the night exposed to intense cold, by which the hands and feet of Mr. Gist were frozen. In the morning they found the drift ice wedged so closely together, that they succeeded in getting from the island to the opposite side of the river; and before night were in comfortable quarters at the house of Frazier, the Indian trader, at the mouth of Turtle Creek on the Monongahela.

Here they learned from a war party of Indians that a band of Ottawas, a tribe in the interest of the French, had massacred a whole family of whites on the banks of the great Kanawha River.

At Frazier's they were detained two or three days endeavoring to procure horses. In this interval Washington had again occasion to exercise Indian diplomacy. About three miles distant, at the mouth of the Youghiogeny River, dwelt a female sachem, Queen Aliquippa, as the English called her, whose sove reign dignity had been aggrieved, that the party on their way to the Ohio, had passed near her royal wigwam without paying their respects to her.

Aware of the importance, at this critical juncture, of securing the friendship of the Indians, Washington availed himself of the interruption of his journey, to pay a visit of ceremony to this native princess. Whatever anger she may have felt at past neglect, it was readily appeased by a present of his old watch-coat; and her good graces were completely secured by a bottle of rum.




which, he intimates, appeared to be peculiarly acceptable to her majesty.

Leaving Frazier's on the 1st of January, they arrived on the 2d at Gist's residence 16 miles from the Monongahela. Here they separated and Washington having purchased a horse, continued his homeward course, passing horses laden with materials and stores for the fort at the fork of the Ohio, and families going out to settle there.

Having crossed the Blue Ridge and stopped one day at Belvoir to rest, he reached Williamsburg on the 16th of January, where he delivered to Governor Dinwiddie the letter of the French commandant, and made him a full report of the events of his mission.

We have been minute in our account of this expedition as it was an early test and development of the various talents and characteristics of Washington.

The prudence, sagacity, resolution, firmness, and self-devotion manifested by him throughout; his admirable tact and self-possession in treating with fickle savages and crafty white men; the soldier's eye with which he had noticed the commanding and defensible points of the country, and every thing that would bear upon military operations; and the hardihood with which he had acquitted himself during a wintry tramp through the wilderness, through constant storms of rain and snow; often sleeping on the ground without a tent in the open air, and in danger from treacherous foes,-all pointed him out, not merely to the governor, but to the public at large, as one eminently fitted, notwithstanding his youth, for important trusts involving civil as well as military duties. It is an expedition that may be considered the foundation of his fortunes. From that moment he was the rising hope of Virginia.



THE reply of the Chevalier de St. Pierre was such as might have been expected from that courteous, but wary commander. He should transmit, he said, the letter of Governor Dinwiddie to his general, the Marquis du Quesne, " to whom," observed he, "it better belongs than to me to set forth the evidence and reality of the rights of the king, my master, upon the lands situated along the river Ohio, and to contest the pretensions of the King of Great Britain thereto. His answer shall be a law to me.


As to the summons you send me to retire, I do not think myself obliged to obey it. Whatever may be your instructions, I am here by virtue of the orders of my general; and I entreat 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 from the best officer."

"I made it my particular care," adds he, "to receive Mr.




Washington with a distinction suitable to your dignity, as well as his own quality and great merit. I flatter myself that he will do me this justice before you, sir, and that he will signify to you, in the manner I do myself, the profound respect with which I am; sir," &c.*

This soldier-like and punctilious letter of the chevalier was considered evasive, and only intended to gain time. The information given by Washington of what he had observed on the frontier, convinced Governor Dinwiddie and his council that the French were preparing to descend the Ohio in the spring, and take military possession of the country. Washington's journal was printed, and widely promulgated throughout the colonies and England, and awakened the nation to a sense of the impending danger, and the necessity of prompt measures to anticipate the French movements.

Captain Trent was despatched to the frontier, commissioned to raise a company of one hundred men, march with all speed to the Fork of the Ohio, and finish as soon as possible the fort commenced there by the Ohio Company. He was enjoined to act only on the defensive, but to capture or destroy whoever should oppose the construction of the works, or disturb the settlements. The choice of Captain Trent for this service, notwithstanding his late inefficient expedition, was probably owing to his being brother-in-law to George Croghan, who had grown to be quite a personage of consequence on the frontier, where he had an establishment or trading-house, and was supposed to have great influence among the western tribes, so as to be able at any time to persuade many of them to take up the hatchet.

*London Mag., June, 1754.

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