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means to send a letter secretly by an Indian, dated July 28, and directed to the commander of the English troops. It was accompanied by a plan of the fort. "There are two hundred men here," writes he, "and two hundred expected; the rest have gone off in detachments to the amount of one thousand, besides Indians. None lodge in the fort but Contrecœur and the guard, consisting of forty men and five officers; the rest lodge in bark cabins around the fort. The Indians have access day and night, and come and go when they please. If one hundred trusty Shawnees, Mingoes, and Delawares were picked out, they might surprise the fort, lodging themselves under the palisades by day, and at night secure the guard with their tomahawks, shut the sally-gate, and the fort is ours."

One part of Stobo's letter breathes a loyal and generous spirit of self-devotion. Alluding to the danger in which he and Van Braam, his fellowhostage, might be involved, he says, "Consider the good of the expedition without regard to us. When we engaged to serve the country it was expected we were to do it with our lives. For my part, I would die a hundred deaths to have the pleasure of possessing this fort but one day. They are so vain of their success at the Meadows it is worse than death to hear them. Haste to strike."


The Indian messenger carried the letter to Aughquick and delivered it into the hands of George Croghan. The Indian chiefs who were 1 Hazard's Register of Penn. iv. 329.

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condition, destitute of almost everything. Such are a few of the cogent reasons urged by Washington in a letter to his friend William Fairfax, then in the House of Burgesses, which no doubt was shown to Governor Dinwiddie, and probably had an effect in causing the rash project to be abandoned.

The governor in truth, was sorely perplexed about this time by contradictions and cross-purposes, both in military and civil affairs. A body of three hundred and fifty North Carolinian troops had been enlisted at high pay, and were to form the chief reinforcement of Colonel Innes at Wills' Creek. By the time they reached Winchester, however, the provincial military chest was exhausted, and future pay seemed uncertain; whereupon they refused to serve any longer, disbanded themselves tumultuously, and set off for their homes without taking leave.

The governor found the House of Burgesses equally unmanageable. His demands for supplies were resisted on what he considered presumptuous pretexts; or granted sparingly, under mortifying restrictions. His high Tory notions were outraged by such republican conduct. "There appears to me," said he, "an infatuation in all the assemblies in this part of the world." In a letter to the Board of Trade he declared that the only way effectually to check the progress of the French, would be an act of parliament requiring the colonies to contribute to the common cause, independently of assemblies; and in another, to the Secretary of State, he urged the policy of compel

Indians, that the most mischievous results were apprehended should he regain the frontier. In the mean time he was wandering about the country, ignorant of the roads, and fearing to make inquiries, lest his foreign tongue should betray him. He reached King and Queen Court House, about thirty miles from Williamsburg, when a countryman was struck with his foreign air and aspect. La Force ventured to put a question as to the distance and direction of Fort Duquesne, and his broken English convinced the countryman of his 'being the French prisoner, whose escape had been noised about the country. Watching an opportunity he seized him, and regardless of offers of great bribes, conducted him back to the prison of Williamsburg, where he was secured with double irons, and chained to the floor of his dungeon.

The refusal of Governor Dinwiddie to fulfill the articl capitulation respecting the prisorous treatment of La Force, pon the hostages, Stobo and in retaliation, were confined in ebec, though otherwise treated with ess. They, also, by extraordinary efforts, succeeded in breaking prison, but found it more difficult to evade the sentries of a fortified' place. Stobo managed to escape into the country; but the luckless Van Braam sought concealment under campa ere he remained until nearly exhausted by an arch of a causeway leading from the fortress.


Seeing the Governor of Canada passand despairing of being able to effect his

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