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The Wonderful Story of Washington By Charles M. Stevens Characters: 3281

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:04

Heroism appears often to be a thankless task. Patience had about vanished when, most opportunely, Adjutant Muse, Washington's instructor in military tactics, arrived with much needed supplies, and also suitable presents for the Indians. A grand ceremonial of presentation took place. The pompous ceremonial seemed to be very dear to the heart of those so-called simple children of the forests. The chiefs were decorated in all their barbaric finery. Washington wore a big medal sent him by the Governor, intended to be impressively used on such occasions. Washington gave the presents and decorated the chiefs and warriors with the medals, which they were to wear in memory of their brethren, the English, and their father, the King of England.

One of the warriors, the son of Queen Aliquippa, wanted the honor of having an English name, so, in elaborate ceremonial, Washington bestowed upon him the name Fairfax. The principal chief of the tribes desiring a like honor was given the name of the governor, Dinwiddie.

William Fairfax had, about this time, written a letter to Washington advising that he hold religious services in camp, especially for the benefit of the Indians. This was done, and the imagination can picture the motley assembly being so solemnly presided over in that picturesque wilderness by the boyish commander of a no less motley army.

In reading about big wars, in which there are millions striving for the bloody mastery, with monster machines of modern destruction, it may sound trivial to read of the fear with which Washington's wilderness army heard of the approach of ninety Frenchmen. But, in truth,

this handful of men were at the beginning of the greatest human interests, and were giving direction to human affairs hardly less consequential than the European War.

Washington, with the buoyant fervor of youth, sallied forth from the fort, hoping to have the honor of presenting Governor Dinwiddie with a choice lot of French prisoners. The scouts had certainly been well scared. The ninety French warriors were found to be nine deserters anxious to be captured. But they gave valuable information regarding Fort Duquesne, which was put to good use by Washington.

Now began one of those little annoyances which marked the feeling of British officers toward Colonial officers, and showed the state of mind which was at last to be an intolerable antagonism between England and America.

Captain Mackay arrived with an independent company of North Carolinians. Captain Mackay held a commission direct from the King, Washington held his by Colonial authority; therefore, Captain Mackay believed himself and his company to have far superior standing to that of Washington and his provincial men.

The result was that he would not associate himself in any way with Washington nor allow his men to have anything in common with Washington's men. No matter what Washington urged as to their common danger and their common cause, he very haughtily flouted every attempt made to have the two commanders work together.

The experience Washington had in managing this delicate and foolish situation was doubtless very valuable in handling even more delicate and foolish situations of vastly more consequence in the coming revolutionary war.

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