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George Washington’s Virginia. Rising Tensions: International & Local. Joshua Fry’s map of inhabited VA in 1755. VA Historical Society. Major Events. 1748 Revision of Virginia legal code 1751 Pistolé Fee Controversy 1753 GW sent to negotiate with French 1754 “Fort Necessity”

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george washington s virginia

George Washington’s Virginia

Rising Tensions: International & Local

major events
Major Events

1748 Revision of Virginia legal code

1751 Pistolé Fee Controversy

1753 GW sent to negotiate with French

1754 “Fort Necessity”

1755 Braddock’s defeat

1755 & 58 Parson’s Cause Controversy

1756 Seven Year’s War “officially” begins

1763 Peace of Paris ends war

defining characteristics
Defining Characteristics
  • Uncharacteristic indifference to Virginia by English politicians
  • spread of slavery throughout colony
    • slave population approaching 50% of colony
  • expansion to other regions: Piedmont river zones, Shenandoah Valley, Southside
  • appearance of stability masks underlying social crises
    • power concentrated in Tidewater regions but population is shifting away from coasts.
demographic changes
Growing Population

No border expansion during 1750s b/c of conflict with France

1730-60: 22 new counties

total 52

70% increase in 30 years!

Economic boom.

Demographic Changes
first controversy creating tension in va
First Controversy creating tension in VA
  • 1748 VA law code revisions
    • first revision of law codes for over 30 years
    • Board of Trade technically must approve any law
      • two year disallowance clause
      • 1751 (late!) Board of Trade acts
        • 57 laws approved
        • 10 disallowed - immediately: not with usual disallowance
        • 7 probationary
        • 3 send to Treasury for validation
  • Shows increasing interest of England in VA
    • now all laws must have disallowance clause.
second controversy creating tension in va
Second Controversy creating tension in VA
  • 1751 Pistolé Fee Controversy
    • New Governor Dinwiddie charges fee of one pistolé for land patents
      • pistolé is a Spanish coin worth ~18s. 6d. - roughly the cost of a cow
    • opposed by landed Council & Burgesses
      • will check western expansion
      • violated the constitution.
pistol fee controversy
Pistolé Fee Controversy

Anyone who pays the fee was “a betrayer of the rights of the people.”

The fee was beginning of illicit governmental taxation: “which like a small spark if not extinguished in the beginning will soon gain ground and at last blaze out into an irresistible flame.”

- Richard Bland

pistol fee controversy1
Pistolé Fee Controversy
  • Burgesses oppose approving Governor’s fee
    • will not give funds for military operations unless Governor surrenders fee
    • case sent to England
      • Burgesses send special envoy: Attorney General
      • Governor sends written support
  • Crown upholds RIGHT of Governor to assess fees
    • puts many limits on practice
  • Crown affirming its control/authority.
third controversy creating tension in va
Third Controversy creating tension in VA
  • “Parson’s Cause”
    • 1755 & 58 “Twopenny laws”
      • environmental disasters destroy tobacco crop, raising price to phenomenal rates
      • taxes were to be paid in tobacco - laws allow payment at rate of 2 d./lb. owed - a break for taxpayers
      • 1755 law effective for 10 months
      • 1758 law effective for 12 months
    • Anglican clergy paid 16,000 lbs. tobacco by 1749 law
      • Twopenny law means drastic salary cut.
parson s cause
“Parson’s Cause”
  • Turn to England for solution
    • disappoint both sides
      • laws disallowed on normal terms (effective until word reaches VA) - Angers Clergy
      • Privy Council harshly criticizes VA & Gov. Faquier - Angers Governor & Civil Leaders
  • Reaction in Virginia
    • threats to honor of “good Anglican’s”
    • rise in anti-clericalism
    • struggle for ministerial authority.
western tensions
Western Tensions
  • Western settlement
    • large number of non-English Europeans settling
  • Large land grants on western border
    • ex. July 1749 VA grants over 1,000,000 acres in one day!
  • Land grants at risk with increased tensions with France
    • main recipients of western lands are powerful politicians.
ohio company
Ohio Company
  • Gains 200,000 acres + 300,000 if build a fort and settle 100 families w/in 7 years
    • members: Thomas Lee (president of Council at 1747 founding), George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, Governor Dunwiddie
    • grant is strategically important (see map)
      • fighting with French, Indians & PA over land
    • establish fort at Cumberland, MD
  • French build three forts and trade with Indians.
seven year s war
Seven Year’s War
  • 1753 Gov. Dinwiddie sends delegate to French
    • 21 year old George Washington
    • 1754 GW publishes diary of trip - beginnings of fame
  • sends troops to build fort
    • French drive off - finish building Fort Dusquense
  • GW sent with troops to support fort detachment
    • 28 May 1754 battle at Great Meadows
    • Fort Necessity and an “interesting” surrender note.
seven year s war1
Seven Year’s War
  • England sends Braddock to retake Fort Duquense
    • 2 regiments British regulars
    • disdainful of Indian support
    • 9 July 1755 defeat
      • Washington gains experience leading a defeated army in retreat.
seven year s war2
Seven Year’s War
  • Virginian support
    • 15 Aug 1755 VA raises a regiment
      • commanded by provincial colonel George Washington
      • primarily for defense against Indian attacks on frontiers
      • difficulty with militia for offensive maneuvers
      • border areas under most assault
        • Holston & New River regions
        • 1755 Winchester threatened
    • 1757 GW has 400 men
      • responsible for defense of 350 mile long border
      • series of dispersed forts.
seven year s war3
Seven Year’s War
  • Larger picture
    • Gen. John Forbes captures Ft. Duquense 24 Nov 1758
      • not a shot fired
    • Victory on Plains of Abraham
      • ends French threat to Virginia
    • Virginians lose concern with war
      • ex. GW resigns and turns surveyor
    • 1759 Cherokee attack on Carolinas
    • War continues until 1763.

GW survey for Edward Hogan LOC

analyzing the war
Analyzing the War

“The signing of a Definitive Treaty seems to be the only piece of News w’ch prevails here at present, and diffuses general Joy.”

- George Washington May 1763 Williamsburg

analyzing the war1
Analyzing the War
  • Pulls VA and England closer together but antagonizes both
    • VA raises £120,00
      • 2nd of all colonies (MA), 5th per capita
    • War not have widespread support
      • recruitment riots in Fredricksburg & Petersburg

“You may with equal success attempt to raise the dead to life again as the force of this country.”

- George Washington 1754.

analyzing the war2
Analyzing the War
  • England displeased
    • apparent wealth raises expectations of contributions
    • anger at continuing illicit trade w/ French West Indes
      • fuels existing belief that more control necessary for colonies
  • Looming problems in VA
    • lingering economic crisis & loss of credit
    • dislike being sneered at by English
    • felt England unjustly demanded more - VA felt very generous.
  • England is changing from a Kingdom with colonies to an Empire
  • Virginia’s focus on military affairs hides it growing splits
    • Great Awakening & Baptists
    • Challenges to power of patriarchs
    • Fractures in unity of political leaders - shift away from tidewater
    • Problems from slavery.