Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Robert Hunter Morris, 26 January 1756

To Robert Hunter Morris

Copy: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Fort Allen at Gnadenhutt
Jany. 26. 1756.


We left Bethlehem the 10th: Instant2 with Foulk’s Company, 46 Men, the Detachment of M’Laughlin’s 20, and 7 Waggons laden with Stores and Provisions. We got that night to Hays’s Quarters, where Wayne’s Company joined us from Nazareth.

The next Day we marched cautiously thro’ the Gap of the Mountain, a very dangerous Pass, and got to Uplinger’s but twenty one Miles from Bethlehem, the Roads being bad, and the Waggons moving slowly.3

(After giving an Account of the weeks Work almost verbatim as in the foregoing, he proceeds)4

This present Monday we are erecting a third House in the Fort to accommodate the Garrison.5

As soon as Capt. Hays returns with the Convoy of Stores and Provisions,6 which I hope may be to morrow, I purpose to send Orndt and Hays to Haeds to join Capt. Trump in erecting the middle Fort there, purposing to remain here between them and Foulk, ready to assist and supply both, as occasion may require, and hope in a week or ten Days, weather favouring, those two Forts may be finished and the Line of Forts compleated and garrisoned,7 the Rangers in Motion, and the internal Guards and Watches disbanded, as well as some other Companies; unless they are permitted and encouraged to go after the Enemy to Sasquehannah.8

At present the Expence in this County is prodigious.9 We have on Foot, and in Pay, the following Companies.1

Trump – – – – – – 50 Men
Aston – – – – – – 50
Wayne – – – – – – 55
Foulk – – – – – – 46 } without the Forks
Trexler – – – – – – 48
Wetterhold – – – – – – 44
Orndt – – – – – – 50
Craig – – – – 30 } in the Irish Settlements
Martin – – – – 30
Van Etten – – – – 30 Minisinks
Hays – – – – 45
Detachment of M’Laughlin 20
Parsons – – – –  24 at Easton

This, Sir, is a particular Account of our Transactions, and the present State of Affairs in this County. I am glad to learn by your Favour of the 21st: just received, that you have Thoughts of coming to Bethlehem, as I may hope for an Opportunity of waiting upon your Honour there, after our Works are finished, and communicating every thing more fully.2 I now only add that I am, with dutiful Respect Sir Your Honour’s most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

To Govr. Morris.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Probably a copyist’s error; BF left Bethlehem on January 15.

3See below, pp. 380–2, for a more detailed account of the march to Gnadenhütten.

4Thus in MS; the copyist is referring here to BF’s letter of January 25 (above, p. 365) entered in the Council Journal immediately preceding this letter.

5January 26 was a Monday. See diagram above, p. 367, for the “third House.”

6See below, p. 374, for the arrival of the wagons.

7See above, p. 368, n. 4, 5, for the building of Forts Franklin and Norris.

8That is, to carry out the often-planned attack on the Indians and their supposed French instigators in the villages along the Susquehanna: Shamokin, Nescopeck, Wyoming, Big Island, etc.

9See above, pp. 354–5, for the expense of maintaining one company in the service of the province for one month. Pay alone for the officers and men listed below would amount to nearly £1500 per month.

1See above, pp. 343–7, on the companies listed here.

2Morris’ letter of January 21 has not been found. On that date he wrote his Council from Lancaster, after stating his preference for the western over the northern troops (commanded by BF) because the westerners “are all regularly inlisted in the King’s Service for a certain Term, and the Officers were chose by the Government, and not by themselves,” that he intended to go to Reading and perhaps further, depending upon the conditions he found on the northern frontier. Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 776–7. Morris was in Reading, January 25–27, but he went from there directly to Philadelphia, reaching that city the night of the 28th. I Pa. Arch., II, 551–6; Pa. Gaz., Jan. 29, 1756.

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