Benjamin Franklin Papers

John Dickinson to the Pennsylvania Convention, 7 August 1776

John Dickinson to the Pennsylvania Convention1

ALS: National Archives

Elizabeth Town Augt. 7th, 1776


I have this Moment recd. Information, that Adam Shetsline and Stophel Young two Privates of Capt. Goodwin’s Company, have left the Camp without Leave, and are gone Homeward. One of them lives on Mr. Willing’s Place, the other on Mr. York’s, both in Moyamensing.2 If some Measures are not immediately taken to discourage such Behaviour, it will be impossible to keep the Troops here. I am, with great Esteem, sir, your very humble servant

John Dickinson

Addressed: On public Service / To / Benjamin Franklin Esquire / President of the Convention / in / Philadelphia.

Endorsed: Augt. 7th. 1776 Letter from Col. Dickinson 2 Deserters.

Notation: Augt. 12th. 1776 read & referred to the Council of Safety.

1Dickinson’s brigade of Pennsylvania associators, attached to Gen. Mercer, was in New Jersey until the flying camp was formed; see the headnote on the convention’s circular letter above, July 19, 1776. We have been unable to trace the two young men who were the subject of his letter, but desertion was a major problem when the flying camp was delayed. Dickinson had written the convention on Aug. 6 about unrest among his troops, and wrote again soon afterward about desertions. On the 23rd the associators were relieved from duty and returned home, and a month later Dickinson resigned. Force, 5 Amer. Arch., II, 18, 20; Joseph M. Waterman, With Sword and Lancet: the Life of General Hugh Mercer . . . (Richmond, Va., [1941]), pp. 116–17, 120–1; Charles J. Stillé, The Life and Times of John Dickinson . . . (Philadelphia, 1891), p. 209.

2Part of Philadelphia County.

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