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Nov
08

Centinel X – VA Gazette

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When:
September 3, 2018 all-day
2018-09-03T00:00:00-04:00
2018-09-04T00:00:00-04:00

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MASS RESIGNATION

Picture by Eric Cherry and some edits by Jim Moyer. Click to Enlarge.

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The Officers of the

Virginia Regiment

threaten to

Resign

because of an

opinion article in

the Virginia Gazette

attacking their integrity.

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The Press?

As his GW’s brother writes, “…nay even the king himself does not escape the liberty of  the Press. “   See Source.

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WHEN?

Centinel X was first published September 3, 1756 in the Virginia Gazette. .

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WHO?

The author of the article signed as L. & V. under a series entitled The Virginia Centinel.    The X was the 10th in that series entitled The Virginia Centinel.   Source: Douglas Southall Freeman’s Young Washington Volume 2, page 209, published by Charles Scribner & Sons, 1948.

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WHAT DID HE WRITE?

The article denounced the men of the Virginia Regiment for taking it too easy, for being “drunken debauchees,” often given rank for seniority rather than for merit.   See Source.

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THE RESPONSE?

The Officers of the Virginia Regiment plan to resign if no redress of this insult.  They become aware of the article October 5, 1756.  They write of their intent to resign to Colonel George Washington November 12, 1756.  See Source.

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The Front Page

of the Virginia Gazette

by the author Virginia Centinel:

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“No Profession in the World can secure from Contempt and Indignation a Character made up of Vice and D⟨e⟩bauchery; and no Man is obliged to tre⟨a⟩t such a Cha⟨r⟩acter as sacred.

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When raw Novices and R⟨a⟩kes, Spend thrifts and Bank⟨r⟩upt⟨s⟩, who have been never used to command, or who ha⟨v⟩e been found insufficient fo⟨r⟩ the Management of their own priv⟨a⟩te Aff⟨ai⟩rs, are hono⟨r⟩ed with Commissions in ⟨t⟩he A⟨r⟩my;

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when Men are ⟨a⟩dvanced acco⟨r⟩ding to Seniority, the Interests and Influence of Friends, &c. and not accor⟨d⟩ing to Merit;

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when the common Soldiers are abused, in a Fit of Humor or Passion, or through an O⟨st⟩entation of Authori⟨t⟩y;

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and in the mean Time, perhaps, tolera⟨t⟩ed or co⟨nniv⟩ed at, in Pr⟨a⟩ctices really wor⟨t⟩hy of Correction;

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when the Militia Men ⟨a⟩re brow-beat and d⟨i⟩scourag⟨e⟩d in every noble At⟨c⟩hievment, as claiming a share with the Soldiery in their Mo⟨n⟩opoly of Hono⟨r⟩;

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when the Officers give ⟨t⟩heir Men ⟨a⟩n Example of all Manner of D⟨e⟩ba⟨u⟩chery, Vice and I⟨dl⟩ene⟨s⟩s, when they l⟨i⟩e sculking in Forts, and there dissolving in Pl⟨e⟩asure, till ala⟨r⟩med by ⟨t⟩he App⟨r⟩oach o⟨f⟩ the Enemy,

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who could expect to find them no whe⟨r⟩e else; when instead of sea⟨r⟩ching out the Enemy, waylay⟨i⟩ng and ⟨su⟩r⟨pri⟩sing them ob⟨structin⟩g their Marche⟨s⟩, and preven⟨t⟩ing their Incursi⟨o⟩n⟨s⟩, they tempt them by their Sec⟨u⟩r⟨it⟩y and Laziness, to c⟨o⟩me in Quest of them, a⟨n⟩d ⟨a⟩tta⟨c⟩k ⟨t⟩hem in thei⟨r⟩ For⟨t⟩ifica⟨t⟩ions.—

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When thi⟨s⟩ is the Case, how wre⟨t⟩chedly he⟨l⟩pless must a Nation be? What useless Lumber, what an Encum⟨b⟩ran⟨c⟩e, i⟨s⟩ the Soldiery;

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Conscius ipse sibi d. s. putat omnia dici.

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“I would by no Means m⟨a⟩ke the Event the Standard by which to judge of the Measure⟨s⟩ taken though ⟨t⟩his be un⟨d⟩oubted⟨l⟩y the Standard of the Crowd. S⟨u⟩ccessful R⟨a⟩shne⟨s⟩s will never fail of popu⟨la⟩r Applause, and unfortunate good Co⟨nd⟩u⟨ct⟩ will never escape Cen⟨s⟩ure.

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But w⟨h⟩en nothing brave i⟨s⟩ so much as attempted, but very rarel⟨y⟩, o⟨r⟩ by Accident, or for necessary Self-defence;

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when Men whose Profession it is to endure Hardships, and encounter Dangers, c⟨a⟩utio⟨u⟩sly shun them, and suff⟨e⟩r their Count⟨r⟩y to be ravaged in thei⟨r⟩ ver⟨y⟩ Ne⟨i⟩g⟨h⟩bo⟨u⟩rhood; then certainly,

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Censure cannot be silent; nor can th⟨e⟩ Public receive much Advantage from a Regiment of such dastardly Debauchees.”

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Source:

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-03-02-0355#GEWN-02-03-02-0355-fn-0002

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TIMELINE

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September 3, 1756

The Attack Piece

Centinel X was first published September 3, 1756 in the Virginia Gazette.

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Douglas Southall Freeman in Young Washington Volume 2, page 207-208,  has a picture of this issue:

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“…no copy of the original was known to be in existence until the issue of Sept 3, 1756 reproduced on the opposite page, was found among the photostats made for Colonial Williamsburg from documents in the Huntingdon Library.  As explained in the text, this particular Gazette was sent Lord Loudoun by Governor Dinwiddie because it contained proclamations the Governor had issued. “

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September 22, 1756

Don’t Resign, Don’t Respond

Both letters counsel Colonel George Washington not to resign and not to respond.

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To George Washington from John Kirkpatrick, 22 September 1756

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To George Washington from William Ramsay, 22 September 1756

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September 23, 1756

Enemy of 300 Coming

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Click on picture to Enlarge. Found on Benno’s Figures Forum.

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While more and more of the colony are reading this front page opinion attacking the character of the Virginia Regiment, an Enemy of 300 is reported to threaten Fort Cumberland.

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See Source 1. , See Source 2 ,See Source 3

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September 29 to October 22, 1756

Where is GW?

Colonel George Washington is touring the southern defenses of Virginia mostly under the commands of Captain Peter Hogg and Major Andrew Lewis.

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October 5, 1756

Officers read the Attack Piece

This is the date the Officers of the Virginia Regiment first become aware of that article in the Virginia Gazette.  From William Peachey et al.  To Colonel George Washington Dated at Fort Cumberland [Md.] 12th Novr 1756:

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“Sir, On the 5th or 6th of October, We met with a papr in the Virginia Gazette intitled the Centinel N: 10, wherein some person or persons have undertaken to callumniate Us in the most vile & scandalous Manner, …. “

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See Source.

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October 6, 1756

Mass Resignation Threatened

The officers write to Lt Col Adam Stephen, their intent to resign 20 November 1756 if no redress of these insults.

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Note the highlighted sections.

Note especially the reference to Lt Gov Dinwiddie, reference as “Himself.”

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The Virginia Gazette would not publish something that might risk censure by the head of government.

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Also of note is that Lt Gov Dinwiddie sent that very paper attacking his own Virginia Regiment to Lord Loudoun, supreme commander of all North American forces.

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In that same edition were some proclamations by Dinwiddie for Lord Loudoun to see.

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Sir, 

To our no small Astonishment We (last night) perus’d a Paper in the Virga Gazette intitled the Centinel No: X. The Contents of Which are so Scandalous and altogether so Unjust, that We think it a Duty incumbent on Us, Who have the least Regard for our Honor or Reputation to resent such base Treatment in the Strictest Manner. Therefore (upon mature Consideration) We have unanimously agreed to apply to you for Redress; firmly declaring (tho. at present for the great and just Regard We have for Collo: Washington and Yourself, join’d for the Duty we owe to Our King in defending as much as it is in our Power His Colony of Virginia to Which We belong) We do with The greatest exactness obey the Orders of our Superiors Officers. But unless We have ample Satisfaction for these so groundless And barb’rous Aspersions, We are one and All (at this Garrison) fully determin’d to present our Commissions to the Governor (As in that Paper it is hinted) ⟨wod we⟩ given to a Regt of dastardly Debauchees; and desire that You will inform His Honor We expect that he will provide a Sett of Men for the Service, that will better answer the expectations of Our Countrey and of Himself. We say Himself, beleiving The Printer wou’d never have dar’d to insert such a Paper in His Gazette without His previous Knowledge Or Consent in either of which cases He must have beleiv’d The Censures therein to be Just. Your Sir may therefore assure Him We are resolv’d to obey As Officers no longer than the twentieth day of November next, unless We have as Publick Satisfaction; as the Injury receiv’d In which Time His Honor may (We imagine) procure GENTLEMEN to do that Duty, a Denomination point blank contrary to that which the Centinel has given US.

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We are heartily sorry to be laid under The Necessity of being so free with You but hope the Occasion will be a Sufficient excuse for Our Behaviour; when You must be sensible of the Abuse not only Put on Us, but the Whole Regiment by this Author, wherein We are charg’d ⟨illegible⟩ Laziness, Idleness, Drunkeness, and Barbarity wh all manner of Vice. When so far from that it is Notorious that Virginia cannot furnish so great a Number of Men, that are more the Reverse⟨,⟩ A Character We are very Loath to give Ourselves were We not Obligd thereto by the circumstances of the present Case Which require That We shou’d Justifie Ourselves to the Neighbouring Colonies, amongst Whom We make no Doubt We are by this Time become a common Topic of Derision And Ridicule a Favor we are to thank Our Goodly COUNTREY MEN for. We are Sir with the greatest hope Your most Obedient Humble Servants

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Founders Online Note:

ADDLC:GW. Like the letter to GW, this copy of the officers’ letter to Adam Stephen appears to be in William Peachey’s hand. GW docketed it as “From The Officers of the Virga Regimt 4th Oct. 1756.

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To review, the officers wrote 3 letters:

  1. To Lt Col Adam Stephen October 6, 1756

  2. To Col George Washington November 12, 1756

  3. To the House of Burgesses . See Source.

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Other addresses:

  1. An 11 page response  ” supposedly by Richd Bland Octo. 1756.”  who signed as “Philo patria”

  2. A response written by Colonel George Washington himself, but never sent.

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October 6, 1756

Attacks in the North and South

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Picture by Eric Cherry. Click to Enlarge.

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On the same day this revolt in Fort Cumberland occurs, there are published in the newspapers attacks on the South Branch.

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These attacks are among the forts built by Captain Waggener with the help of Ensign Charles Smith who gains from this experience to become Foreman of the workers building Fort Loudoun Winchester VA. .

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Picture by Eric Cherry. Click to Enlarge.

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On 7 Oct. 1756 the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia) printed an “Extract of a Letter from Captain Waggoner, of the Virginia Regiment, commanding on the South Branch of Potowmack,” which reported: 

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Last Week as Ensign Smith was coming from Sibley’s Mill with 12 Men, he was fired upon by a Party of Indians, which he, after a pretty smart Fire of 10 or 15 Minutes, put to Flight, and brought off 16 Matchcoats, 12 or 14 Pair of Moccasons, several Scalping Knives, and 4 very neat French Fuzees [light muskets], half mounted with silver. The Bones of an Indian were found near the Place a Day or two after, his Body being destroyed by the Wolves, &c. It was thought there were 20 or 30 Indians.”

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Founders Online footnote:

https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Date%3A1756-09-28&s=1111311111&r=1#GEWN-02-03-02-0361-fn-0004

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While GW is touring the southern defenses of Virginia, he discovers not only attacks down there but also of his own northern defenses, noted above.

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October 16, 1756

Do Not Resign, Do not Respond

As his GW’s brother, Augustine, also counsels GW not to resign and not to respond, adding, “…nay even the king himself does not escape the liberty of  the Press. “   See Source.    Colonel George Washington receives this letter while still touring the southern defenses of Virginia. And in that same letter, another matter at home,  a Court Case over the Will of his Step brother Lawrence was still unsettled, and needing attention and resolution.

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November 9, 1756

GW at Fort Cumberland

Colonel George Washington comes to Fort Cumberland where the letter of mass resignation is written as dated 3 days after his visit.

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When does GW see the letter his officers wrote to Lt Col Adam Stephen October 6, 1756 ? 

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Did his men show GW the official letter of November 12, 1756, dated 3 days later?

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There is nothing written on this meeting between GW and his men at Fort Cumberland. We imagine GW had pleaded for more time to deal with the Governor and House of Burgesses for redress for he and his men.

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But GW’s hot feelings and frustration were cooled by the prospect that Lt Gov Dinwiddie was going too far and his men were going too far in their feelings that would result in a defenseless Virginia.

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So GW wrote a letter to Lt Gov Dinwiddie that day  he went to Fort Cumberland to cool the situation with Dinwiddie. He then went to Fort Cumberland to cool the situation with his men.

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November 12, 1756

Official Mass Resignation Promise

The threat of Resignation is in this letter To George Washington from William Peachey et al., 12 November 1756.   

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Picture by Eric Cherry. Modified by Jim Moyer. Click to Enlarge.

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The letter did not repeat the date

of their intended resignation

of 20 November 1756,

but made reference to the date of their resignation: “But as the Time prefix’d by us for giving up our Commissions,…” and later another reference to that date of resignation, “We agree to defer it, provided either of the two Things proposed be speedily done, otherwise we are as we inform’d Collo. Stephen determined soon to make good our Resolves…”

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November 16, 1756

Speaker of the House writes to GW

” …extremely sorry to find you are made so uneasy in your Duty; while you are venturing your Life and fortune for the good of your Country, to be aspersed and censured by a vile and Ignorant Scribler . . .”  See Source.

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Dinwiddie not so sympathetic

It also confirms the officers’ suspicion that Dinwiddie knew of the Virginia Centinel’s attack piece. And Dinwiddie sent that same attack piece to Lord Loudoun.

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“Yr Letter of the 9th I recd with a Report of Yr Journey along our Frontiers—The abuses mention’d in Yrs I have been made acquainted with from several Hands, but I expected You wou’d have been more particular in regard to the Officers neglecting their Duty, & the different Forts not being properly garrison’d with Men, nay witht their Officers: this vauge1 Report makes it impossible for me to call on the Delinquents—I agree the Militia Law is very deficient, & I hope the next Assembly will make proper Amendments.

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The Charges attending the Militia of Augusta is monstrous, & I believe a great Imposition on the Country; I have sent up Money & order’d a strict Scrutiny to be made into each Officer’s Acct & the actual Service done by their Companies2—I pity the poor Inhabitants; Majr Andw Lewis has my Orders to bring the Militia into better Order.3  

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Source

https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Date%3A1756-11-16&s=1111311111&r=1

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November 20, 1756

No Mass Resignation

The date of resignation comes and goes without event.

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November 25, 1756

Attack Piece Reprinted in Maryland

The Sept 3rd issue of the Virginia Gazette is reprinted in the Maryland Gazette.   See Source.

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GW’s brother in the October 16, 1756  letter, worries a little bit about how the news of this attack piece will be received by the other colonies: “Was not the paper to go further than our own Colony I am sensible it wou’d not be worth your while giving yr self the lest concern abt it …” and later mentions this issue again, “…but what effect it may have in the Neighbouring Colonies I can’t venture to say…”.  See Source.

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December 19, 1756

GW writes to The Speaker, John Robinson

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The whole letter is dark.

These 2 excerpts give a sense of GW’s frustration and worry.

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We are ordered to reinforce Fort Cumberland with 100 men: and, to enable me to carry that number thither, all the Stockade-Forts on the Branch are to be evacuated, & in course all the Sett[lemen]ts abandoned, except what lie under the immediate protection of Capt. Waggeners Fort; the only place exempted in their resolve. Surely His Honor and the Council are not fully acquainted with the situation and circumstances of the unhappy Frontiers, to expose so valuable a tract of land as the Branch, in order to support a Fortification, in itself (considering our present feebleness) of very little importance to the inhabitants or the Colony. The former order of council wou’d have endangered not only the loss of Fort Loudon, the Stores, and Winchester; but a general removal of the Settlers of this vale, and even to the Blue Ridge[.]2 

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But the late Command reverses, confuses, and incommode every thing: To say nothing of the extraordinary expence of Carriage, disappointments, losses and alterations which must fall heavy on the Country. Whence it arises or why, I am truly ignorant; but my strongest representations of matters relative to the peace of the Frontiers are disregarded as idle & frivolous; my propositions and measures, as partial & selfish; and all my sincerest endeavours for the service of my Country, perverted to the worst purposes. My Orders are dark, doubtful and uncertain; to day approved, tomorrow condemned: Left to act and proceed at hazard: accountable for the consequence; and blamed, without the Benefit of defence! 

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Source

https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Date%3A1756-12-19&s=1111311111&r=4.

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Note about Presidents were Acting Governors when there was no Governor or Lt Governor

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