Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


George Washington

His Role in the French and Indian Wars


Washington, George (1732-1799). First president of the United States. In 1753, when he was adjutant-general of the Virginia militia with the rank of major, he was sent by Governor Dinwiddie to summon the French to withdraw from the Ohio country. He met Joncaire at Venango, and Legardeur de Saint-Pierre at Fort Le Boeuf. Saint-Pierre was polite, but non-committal. On the way back Washington was nearly drowned in the Alleghany. The following year he crossed the Alleghanies and surprised and captured a party of French under Coulon de Jumonville. "Judge it as we may" says Parkman, "this obscure skirmish began the war that set the world on fire". Washington built Fort Necessity at the place called Great Meadows, near the Monongahela, where he was attacked by the French under Coulon de Villiers and forced to capitulate. Served as aide-de-camp to Braddock in his expedition against Fort Duquesne, 1755, and was present at the disastrous battle of the Monongahela. In 1778, after he had become president of the new republic, he refused to sanction any invasion of Canada in which the French would take a leading part, wisely avoiding the possibility of the French re-establishing themselves on this northern border. In 1781 he was suspicious of the intentions of Vermont, and threatened that if they attempted to join Canada he would lead his entire force against them; and was indignant at their carrying on trade with Canada . His attitude toward the United Empire Loyalists has been described as unworthy of an otherwise high-minded and chivalrous character.

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Source: Lawrence J. BURPEE, The Makers of Canada. The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Canadian History, London and Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1926, 699p., p. 675.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College