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[15] In 1714 he established the first blast-furnace for the manufacture of iron, on the bank of the Rappahannock, within the afterward famous battlefield of Chancellorsville. He was the first, in 1716, to lead an expedition across the Blue ridge into the famous Shenandoah valley, and in 1730 became the deputy postmaster-general of all the colonies.

When the French and Indian war of 1750 began, and France claimed the territory drained by the Ohio, Virginia had a young Washington to send on a diplomatic errand to the French, at the head of that river; to lead her citizen soldiery, in 1754, in the unequal combat of the Great Meadows, and in 1755 to save from complete disaster the British regulars under Braddock. When England attempted taxation without representation, in 1765, her Patrick Henry fired the colonies to resistance. In 1769 she called a revolutionary convention, which denounced the acts of the British parliament. In 1774 she sent representatives to the first Continental Congress, in the persons of Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland and Edmund Pendleton, all men of mark, who helped, then and there, to lay the foundations for a Federal union. In 1774 her brave and hardy men of the Great Valley and the mountains beyond, the fighting Scotch-Irishmen under the leadership of Lewis, met the combined Indian power of the Northwest, in a fierce struggle at the mouth of the Kanawha on the bank of the Ohio, and not only established Virginia's claim to the Northwest, but broke up the combination that, by Indian invasions in the rear, would have defeated the contention of the colonies with the mother country, if it had succeeded.

In 1775 the elected delegates of her people assembled in convention in Richmond, and resolved to put the colony in a state of defense against the aggressions of the crown, and followed these resolutions by ordering the enlisting and drilling in companies of soldiers throughout the commonwealth. A troop of these from Hanover, led by Patrick Henry, compelled the royal governor to pay for the powder of the colony that he had unlawfully removed from Williamsburg to shipboard. When the second Continental Congress met, in 1775, Peyton Randolph, of Virginia, was again chosen to preside over it

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