Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Trial of Edward Braddock part 2

Part Second: Braddock's Character Defended, by Captain Robert Orme and George Anne Bellamy

An outcry broke in the court as the prosecutor finished.  Some applauded him, while others voiced their opposition.  A man in a red coat and blue cuffs leapt from his seat before being admonished to sit down.  “Every one’s evidence in turn, sir,” said the bailiff.

“Having heard the charge from the prosecution, we will now hear the evidence of the defendant’s character.  Captain Robert Orme, will you present your evidence?” asked the judge.

A portrait of Captain Robert Orme
“Certainly, my lords,” said the gentleman who had risen before.  Eagerly, he took the witness stand and, waiting for perfect silence and attention, began.

“My name is Robert Orme, and I am a lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards. (1)  I was an aide-de-camp to General Braddock, and served him during his appointment as Major-General.  I was with him from England to his untimely demise in battle against the perfidious French.”

“You were in close contact with the General then and can give us an estimation of his character?”

“Yes, my lords.  ‘I judge it a Duty to vindicate the Memory of a Man whom I greatly and deservedly esteemed…it is very hard [that] the bluntness and openness of a Man’s Temper should be called Brutality and that he who would hear Opinions more freely than any man should be accused of Obstinacy and Peremptoriness.’” (2)

Captain Orme sat down and the judge called on the next witness.


“The next witness is George Anne Bellamy, the famous actress.  Mistress Bellamy, will you present your evidence?”

“I was known to the general from my infancy.  (3) He became as a second father to me and before he departed to take command in the colonies, he left his will and silver plate with me.  ‘This great man having been often reproached with brutality, I am induced to recite the following little accident, which evidently shews the contrary.

"As we were walking in the Park one day, we heard a poor fellow was to be chastised; when I requested the General to beg off the offender.  Upon his application to the general officer, whose name was Drury, he asked Braddock, ‘How long since he had divested himself of brutality, and of the insolence of his manners?’  To which the other replied, ‘You never knew me insolent to my inferiors.  It is only to such rude men as yourself, that I behave with the spirit which I think they deserve.’" (4)


  1. The Foot Guards ranks were one higher than in the regular army; thus a lieutenant of the Guards would rank as a captain in the rest of the Army.  This was common practice among European household troops and explains why Orme is sometimes referred to as Lieutenant (his Guards rank), and sometimes as Captain (his effective rank on Braddock’s expedition).
  2. Letter of Captain Robert Orme, found on page xx. Braddock’s Defeat, edited by Charles Hamilton.
  3. pg. 177, An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy.  Read it at:
  4. pg. 29, An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy.  Read it at:

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