Benjamin Franklin Papers

To——, 29 May 1755

To ————9

LS and draft minutes: Yale University Library

Philada. May 29. 1755


The Committee1 hereby acquaint you that the House have resolved to defray the Expence of the cutting of the Roads requird, so that you may go on with that Affair freely. If there should come any orders to you from the Generall for wheat, the Committee desire you would send him any quantity he desires of that which was bought for the Publick above the quantity of 14,000 bushels at first order’d for the Virginia flour, or more in case that should not be sufficient.2 They also desire that care may be taken that the men be kept close to their work, and do faithfull days works or the Expence will be unreasonably great. They are willing to pay an Active diligent overseer what may be reasonable for such Service.

I am [in] behalf of the Committee, Sir Your Humble servant

B Franklin

Please to communicate this to Joseph Armstrong Esqr.3

[On the back]

At a meeting of the Committee and other members of Assembly at the state House in Philadelphia the 29. 5mo 1755

Present Isaac Norris, Evan Morgan, Jos. Stretch, Benja. Franklin, Wm. Callender, Jas. Pemberton.

James Pemberton reports he deliver’d to the Governor the letter in answer to his to the Comittee pursuant to their directions,4 to which the Governor was pleas’d to reply he thank’d the Gentlemen for their good Intentions, and that he would Inform Generall Braddock thereof but did not signify he expected any Service from them and demanded the Generall’s letter to him which was accordingly deliver’d.

Benja. Franklin now comunicated a letter he had received from Wm. Shirlley secretary to Generall Braddock requesting a Supply of sixty waggens to be hir’d on his account and sent up to the camp with all possible dispatch laden with Oats and Indian Corn.5 Whereupon it was agreed to Comply with the Generall’s demand, and B. Franklin desird to publish Advertisements6 for the hire of the quantity of waggens with four horses and a driver Each at the rate of 15s. per day to carry a load of Oats and Indian Corn to the Camp at Wills’s Creek and to appoint the 9th: of next month to sett off from Philadelphia and James Pemberton to secure a quantity of Oats and Indian Corn sufficient to lade them.

The following letter from the Governor was also read viz. here Insert it.7

On considering which it was agreed to supply the Governor with one hundred dollars to be sent to Ed: Shippen to advance to Labourers to be Employd in cutting the New Road towards the Ohio8 and Jas. Pemberton is desird to gett that sum from C. Norris and pay it to the Governor for that purpose.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9Possibly Secretary Peters, then in the western part of the province, where Governor Morris had sent him to inspect the roads and confer with Braddock on the army’s needs. See above, p. 49.

1The committee of the Assembly appointed to disburse the £15,000 appropriated for defense by the resolutions of April 2 (see above, p. 6).

2On January 3 the Assembly committee was authorized to borrow £5000 to purchase necessaries for the King’s troops. Votes, 1754–55, p. 59. When Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia asked for flour to be delivered to Wills Creek, the committee at first replied that they were not obliged to furnish provisions until the troops were in Pennsylvania, but finally agreed to supply it. Governor Morris told Dinwiddie, February 26, that he had prevailed on the committee (Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 297), but Dinwiddie thanked William Allen and BF for their good offices in procuring the flour. R. A. Brock, ed., The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie (2. vols., Richmond, Va., 1883–84), II, 15. Neither Allen nor BF was a member of the committee on January 3, but the latter was on the committee of April 2, which, besides supplying Massachusetts, was to repay the £5000 borrowed for the Virginia supply. Votes, 1754–55, p. 81.

3Joseph Armstrong, member of the Assembly from Cumberland Co., Pa., commanded a company in the battalion of his cousin Col. John Armstrong (DAB) in the French and Indian War. PMHB, LI (1927), 8. He was one of the committee of January 3 to borrow £5000 for provisions. I Pa. Arch., II, 246–8.

4Not identified, but possibly the governor’s letter to the committee, May 19, with Braddock’s letter of May 10, asking Morris’ assistance for the army’s deputy quartermaster general in procuring forage in Pennsylvania. Ibid., p. 316; Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 383. An appeal to the Berks County farmers for this purpose, signed by Richard Peters and William Franklin, was published at Lancaster, May 30 (broadside, Yale Univ. Lib.).

5Not found, but possibly Shirley’s letter to BF, May 20, of which one sentence was quoted in the Assembly’s reply to the governor, Sept. 29, 1755 (see below, p. 208).

6Probably a handbill or broadside, for it was not printed in Pa. Gaz. or Pa. Journal on either May 29 or June 5. On June 12 the Gazette reported that “near 60 Waggons laden with Forage for the Army” had been dispatched from Philadelphia for Wills Creek in the past few days, “the Inhabitants of most of the Townships in this County having chearfully given considerable Bounty to the Waggoners, to encourage them to undertake the Journey.” See also Pa. Col. Recs., VI, 408.

7Not inserted in these draft minutes and not identified.

8See the document immediately following.

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