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In Benjamin Franklin’s Paper, Colonel George Washington Reports as Positively as Possible on the Surrender of Fort Necessity, Which Sparked the French and Indian War
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[GEORGE WASHINGTON]. Pennsylvania Gazette, August 1, 1754. Newspaper. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin and David Hall. 4 pp., lacking the advertising half-sheet, 9¼ x 14½ in.

Inventory #22426.03       SOLD — please inquire about other items


Washington’s Report

Williamsburgh, July 19. On Wednesday last arrived in Town, Colonel Washington, and Capt. James Maccay, who gave the following Account to his Honour the Governor, of the late Action between them and the French, at the Great Meadows in the Western Parts of this Dominion.

The third of this instant July, about 9 a Clock, we received Intelligence that the French, having been reinforced with 700 Recruits, had left Monongahela, and were in full March with 900 Men to attack us. Upon this, as our Numbers were so unequal (our Force not exceeding 300) we prepared for our Defence in the best Manner we could, by throwing up a small Intrenchment, which we had not Time to perfect, before our Centinel gave Notice, about Eleven a Clock, of their Approach, by firing his Piece, which he did at the Enemy, and as we learned afterwards killed three of their Men, on which they began to fire upon us, at about 600 Yards Distance, but without any Effect: We immediately called all our Men to their Arms, and drew up in Order before our Trenches; but as we looked upon this distant Fire of the Enemy only as an Artifice to intimidate, or draw our Fire from us, we waited their nearer Approach before we returned their Salute. They then advanced in a very irregular Manner to another Point of Woods, about 60 Yards off, and from thence made a second Discharge; upon which, finding they had no Intention of attacking us in the open Field, we retired into our Trenches, and still reserved our Fire; as we expected from their great Superiority of Numbers, that they would endeavour to force our Trenches; but finding they did not seem to intend this neither, the Colonel gave Orders to fire, which was done with great Alacrity and Undauntedness. We continued this unequal Fight, with an Enemy sheltered behind the Trees, ourselves without Shelter, in Trenches full of Water, in a settled Rain, and the Enemy galling us on all Sides incessantly from the Woods, till 8 a Clock at Night, when the French called to Parley....

we agreed that each Side should retire without Molestation, they back to their Fort at Monongahela, and we to Wills’s Creek: That we should march away with all the Honours of War....

The Number of the Killed on our Side was 30, and 70 wounded.... The Number killed and wounded of the Enemy is uncertain, but by the Information given by some Dutch in their Service to their Countrymen in ours, we learn that it amounted to above 300.... Some considerable Blow they must have received, to induce them to call first for a Parley, knowing, as they perfectly did, the Circumstances we were in.” (p2/c1-2)

Governor Horatio Sharpe to both Houses of the Maryland Assembly

The Designs of the French must now be evident to every one: They have openly, in Violation of all Treaties, Invaded his Majesty’s Territories, and committed the most violent Acts of Hostility, by attacking and entirely defeating the Virginian Troops under Col. Washington.

In this Emergency, the Hopes and Expectations of our Neighbours, whom, in Duty, Honour, and Interest, we are engaged to support and defend, are fixed upon us for Assistance; and what must the World think of our Conduct, or what Calamities may we not expect, if, from an unseasonable Parsimony, we coldly look on, while they are cut to Pieces?” (p1/c2)

There never was a Conjuncture, in which your Unanimity, Vigour, and Dispatch, were more necessary than now: And, as I depend upon the Prudence of your Resolutions, I am persuaded, you will make such Provisions adequate to the present Emergency, as will best express you Zeal for his Majesty’s Service, the Security and Welfare of this Province, and the Support of the Common Cause.” (p2/c1)

Report of Response of Maryland Assembly

By the beforementioned Act, the Assembly have granted Six Thousand Pounds towards the Assistance of the Virginians, and for the Relief and Support of the Wives and Children of our Indian Allies, who shall put themselves under the Protection of this Government; the Whole to be disposed of as his Excellency our Governor shall think proper.” (p2/c1)

George Whitefield

NEW-YORK, July 29.

Thursday last the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield arrived here from South Carolina: He has preached every Day since to large and crow[d]ed Assemblies. He sets out To-morrow for Philadelphia.” (p2/c3)

After a six-week voyage from England, Whitefield arrived in South Carolina in May 1754. He spent about eight weeks in the South, then sailed for the northern colonies. After preaching in New York, he traveled to Philadelphia, where he preached at the New Building, which housed an academy he had discussed with Benjamin Franklin.

George Whitefield (1714-1770) was an Anglican minister and one of the founders of Methodism. He first came to the British American colonies as a parish priest in Savannah in 1738. He returned to England to raise funds for an orphanage to be built in Georgia and began preaching to large congregations. When he returned to America in 1740, he preached a series of revivals that became known as the Great Awakening. In 1754, he was a celebrity and preached in cities from Boston to Georgia as part of his fifth voyage to America.


Historical Background

At the command of Virginia Royal Governor Robert Dinwiddie, Colonel George Washington led a force of two hundred men to the western frontier to prevent French and Native American raids on western settlements. Meanwhile, a French officer sent French Canadian Joseph Coulon de Villiers with a small force to see if Washington crossed into French territory. Washington built a fortification 37 miles south of the forks of the Ohio River. A British-allied Native American killed de Villiers at Jumonville Glen, and the French commander sent the dead officer’s older brother Louis Coulon de Villiers with some 700 French and allied Native American troops to force Washington out of the area. Washington’s report describes the resulting Battle of Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754. Although other British accounts used Washington’s inflated numbers, his forces inflicted fewer than two dozen casualties on the French and their Native American allies, not the “above 300,” as here reported by Washington.

When he reported the defeat, Washington expected a rebuke from Governor Dinwiddie but instead received a vote of thanks from the House of Burgesses. Governor Dinwiddie attributed the result to poor supply and the failure of other colonies to sent aid.  In Maryland, Proprietary Governor Horatio Sharpe (1718-1790) also served as the Commander in Chief of all British forces and colonial forces for the protection of Virginia and adjoining colonies, until replaced by Edward Braddock in 1755. He was a capable administrator and friend of George Mason and George Washington. In the wake of the loss of Fort Necessity, Sharpe called together the Maryland Assembly, who voted £6,000 to aid the Virginians and to support the British allies among Native Americans.

The battle and surrender of Fort Necessity began the French and Indian War (1754-1763), which expanded into the global Seven Years War (1756-1763) that spanned five continents.


Additional Content

This issue also includes a list of winners of prizes in the lottery for the benefit of the poor of the Dutch Lutheran congregation in Germantown (p1/c1-3); lengthy advertisements from various merchants (p4/c1-3); and various notices including one for the sale of a “Negroe woman, and a Negroe girl, likewise three Negroe boys” (p3/c2), another offering a thirty shillings reward for the return of a runaway Irish servant man (p3/c2), and others offering rewards for other runaway servants (p3/c2-3).


The Pennsylvania Gazette (1728-1800) was first published by Samuel Keimer as The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette; it was the second newspaper to be published in Pennsylvania. In October 1729, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and Hugh Meredith (c. 1697-1749) purchased the newspaper and shortened the title to The Pennsylvania Gazette. It became the most successful newspaper in the colonies by the mid-1730s. In 1748, Franklin retired from business but retained an interest in The Pennsylvania Gazette. He left the management of the newspaper to partner David Hall (1714-1772). In 1752, Franklin published a third-person account of his kite experiment, and in 1754, printed the first political cartoon in America, “Join, or Die.” In 1766, Franklin completed the sale of his share of the printing business to Hall, and Hall made William Sellers (1725-1804) his partner.  After Hall’s death, his sons, David Hall Jr. (1755-1821) and William Hall (1752-1834), joined the firm with Sellers. The newspaper suspended publication from November 1776 to February 1777, and again during the British occupation of Philadelphia from September 1777 to January 1779.

Condition: Some toning. Professionally conserved: washed with some holes in the blank gutter margins filled.  Some tight margins with loss of a handful of words at the top of page 2.  Overall Very Good.