Benjamin Franklin Papers

Richard Peters to the Provincial Commissioners, 26 December 1756

Richard Peters to the Provincial Commissioners

Draft: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Sunday Morn. 10 o Clock
26 Decr. 1756


The Governor commands me to acquaint you that He has received a Letter by Express from Lord Loudun which obliges him to know if the Quarters and Necessaries in Quarters for the Officers and Men demanded by Colonel Bouquet on Friday last will be actually provided and the Hospital repaired and furnished on or before the first day of January.

His Honour desires a clear and precise Answer may be given as soon as you conveniently can before Night, the Express waiting to carry it to Lord Loudun.9 I am Gentlemen Your most obedient humble Servant

Richard Peters

To Isaac Norris, John Mifflin, Lynford Lardner,
Benjn. Franklin, Joseph Fox, John Hughes,
William Masters Esquires

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9On December 24, the day of the Assembly’s abrupt adjournment (see the previous document), a quartermaster’s inspection showed that 36 of the soldiers quartered on public houses had no beds, and 47 had very bad ones. On the same day Col. Henry Bouquet, the commander of the first battalion of the Royal American Regiment, demanded of Denny that quarters be provided by January 1 for the additional men (approximately 500) who were to be recruited to bring the battalion to full strength. He insisted on the assignment of private houses in accordance with Denny’s earlier warrant. I Pa. Arch., III, 85–6; Pa. Col. Recs., VII, 376. A copy of Bouquet’s demand, attested by Peters, is among the Franklin Papers, APS. On Christmas night a letter from Loudoun ended the bickering: the soldiers would be quartered, by force if necessary, and “if the number of Troops now in Philadelphia are not sufficient, I will instantly march a number sufficient for that Purpose, and find Quarter to the whole.” Ibid., VII, 379. Loudoun had told the Duke of Cumberland that since the Pennsylvanians “have all along been so troublesome, and are now so obstinate,” he intended to make an example of them and insist they furnish every last article of wartime quartering right down to firewood and beer. Pargellis, Military Affairs, 273–4. Thereupon, the Council advised that Denny should “immediately convene the Provincial Commissioners, and make of them a peremptory Demand for the Accommodation of the Soldiers.” Pa. Col. Recs., VII, 380. All except Isaac Norris appeared and heard Loudoun’s threat, but, according to Peters, they were still in no mood to take action until “B.F.’s expressing his Sentiments in favour of a total Compliance, the rest immediately changed their Tone.” Peters to Thomas Penn, Dec. 26, 1756, Penn Papers, Hist. Soc. Pa. See the next two documents for the Commissioners’ agreement on quarters.

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