Disbound, six sets of tiny holes along margin where once sewn. Very slight staining at corners, otherwise very good condition. In French. " /> [WASHINGTON, George]. [FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR]. <I>Le Courrier</I>, No. LXXX, Avignon: Alexandre Giroud, Friday 4 October 1754. <I>4 pages, 4to (9 x 7¼ in.), printed two columns to the page, paginated 321-324, masthead and date of issue printed in large type at head of first page. The full text of Washington's terms of surrender at Fort Necessity printed along bottom third of column on page 323 and top half of column on page 324</I>, WITH PRINTED SIGNATURE ("G. WASHINGTON"). <I>Disbound, six sets of tiny holes along margin where once sewn. Very slight staining at corners, otherwise very good condition</I>. In French. |
  • Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1922

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    3 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 203

    [WASHINGTON, George]. [FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR]. Le Courrier, No. LXXX, Avignon: Alexandre Giroud, Friday 4 October 1754. 4 pages, 4to (9 x 7¼ in.), printed two columns to the page, paginated 321-324, masthead and date of issue printed in large type at head of first page. The full text of Washington's terms of surrender at Fort Necessity printed along bottom third of column on page 323 and top half of column on page 324, WITH PRINTED SIGNATURE ("G. WASHINGTON"). Disbound, six sets of tiny holes along margin where once sewn. Very slight staining at corners, otherwise very good condition. In French.

    Price Realised  

    [WASHINGTON, George]. [FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR]. Le Courrier, No. LXXX, Avignon: Alexandre Giroud, Friday 4 October 1754. 4 pages, 4to (9 x 7¼ in.), printed two columns to the page, paginated 321-324, masthead and date of issue printed in large type at head of first page. The full text of Washington's terms of surrender at Fort Necessity printed along bottom third of column on page 323 and top half of column on page 324, WITH PRINTED SIGNATURE ("G. WASHINGTON"). Disbound, six sets of tiny holes along margin where once sewn. Very slight staining at corners, otherwise very good condition. In French.
    FRENCH REPORTS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON ADMITTING TO "MURDERING" A FRENCH OFFICER AT FORT NECESSITY

    A rare French newspaper account of an early scandal in Washington's military career: the text of the articles of surrender he signed at Fort Necessity in July 1754 in which he admitted the "murder" of a French officer. The episode began on 28 May 1754, Washington's baptism of fire. He led a contingent of 40 militiamen and some Indians in a raid against a French force traveling between Fort Duquense and Washington's outpost at Fort Necessity (This is the action Washington memorably described to his brother with the words: "I heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me, there is something charming in the sound."). The French, however, claimed the group was on a diplomatic mission to negotiate terms between the two outposts. Not only was the French commander, Joseph Coulon, the Sieur de Jumonville, killed in the raid; but he was scalped by Washington's Indian fighters. The Indian commander, Half King, demanded the blood of all the prisoners, in order to avenge the death of his father at French hands. According to biographer Douglas Freeman, Washington "interposed...with some difficulty" to save the prisoners' lives.

    The French had their revenge when they assaulted Fort Necessity on 3 July. French guns and a heavy rain made the fort indefensible and Washington agreed to hear the French terms. These, however, were communicated through a Dutch interpreter who rendered the crucial passage: "de venger l'assassinat qui a été fait d'un de nos Officiers" as "to avenge the death of one of our officers..." Washington took no notice. He was more concerned about the provisions relating to the evacuation of the fort.

    Only later when French-proficient British officers read the document did they note the slanderous language, and realize, with astonishment, that Washington, along with his regular army superior Mackay, had admitted to the murder ("assassinat") of an officer on a diplomatic mission. The damning word was actually used twice (it appears later in the section describing the French prisoners taken in this act of "assassinat"). It was exactly what the victorious and perhaps duplicitous French commander Villiers wanted to achieve. The translator's sloppiness masked language that Washington or Mackay would never have agreed to. Villiers exulted: "We made them consent to sign that they had assassinated my brother in his camp" (quoted in Freeman, 1:415). It was not Washington's finest hour. Some, like William Johnson, questioned the wisdom of his battlefield tactics. More overwrought critics back in London called the surrender terms "the most infamous a British subject ever put his hand to." But the Governor of Virginia and the House of Burgesses gave Washington and his men a vote of thanks for their heroism and endurance, in spite of their defeat.


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