From John Hughes6
ALS: Public Record Office, London
Philada. January the 1st 1759
As I am Just now Inform’d that a vessel is going from New York to London I Embrace the Opertunity of Letting You know Your friends are Generally in health Especially Mrs. Franklin and Family whom I Continue to visit frequently in Your Absence and if Occation Required shou’d be fond of an Oppertunity to Serve You or Yours, but Mrs. Franklin’s Good Oeconomy Renders friends I think almost Unecessary however I believe we Shall keep up a friendly Correspondence Untill Your Return.
As You will have heard of General Forbes Success at fort Duquesne before this Comes to hand it is Unnecessary to Say any thing on that head only that at General Amherst Request we have kept the 14,00. [sic] old Troops in pay in hopes of another Effort the Next Season to Root the french out of this part of North America at Last.7
If You have Interest Enough to have a Guard Ship Order’d here next Spring it will be Doing us Good Service as M: Chatelau is Gone off Safe after Taking about 30 of our Ships or vessels And no Doubt Several will be on the Coast next Summer and Ruin our Trade.8
Every thing now is Quiet, and our River partly full of Ice so that Navigation is partly stopt at present and no Londoners Arived Except Bolitha.9 Sir be pleased to Except the Compliments of the Season and believe me Yours Affectionately
P:S the post waits.
Addressed: For / Benjamin Franklin Esqr / in / London / via New York
Endorsed: Letter from Mr Hughes one of the Assembly of Pensilvania, to B Franklin Mentioning the Continuance of 1400 Pensilvanians in pay thro’ the Winter at the Request of General Amherst.
Mr. Hughes’s Lettrs. from Jan 1. to Feb. 5 1759 Answer’d.1
6. Although few of his letters have survived, Hughes was one of BF’s most faithful correspondents; see above p. 90.
7. With the recall of the incompetent Abercromby in September 1758, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Amherst (1717–1797) was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America. On Dec. 13, 1758, Amherst wrote Governor Denny asking him to recommend that the Assembly continue the 1400 Pa. provincial troops “in their Pay during the Winter.” Denny sent this request to the Assembly on December 21, and agreement was reached two days later. Pa. Col. Recs., VIII, 236, 240–1.
8. Captain Sebière du Chateleau appeared off the Capes of the Delaware in the beginning of October 1758 in the Prince Edward frigate of St. Malo “pierced for 36 Guns but mounted only 26.” Pa. Gaz., Oct. 26, 1758. The Frenchman created so much havoc in the shipping lanes that on Nov. 23, 1758, the Pa. Assembly directed BF to petition the Admiralty for a vessel of superior force “to be stationed at our Cape, for the more effectual Protection of Trade.” Votes, 1758–59, p. 11. This BF did, and sometime between March 19 and April 7, 1759, he was advised by the Admiralty that the Assembly should apply directly to the naval commander in North America for a ship. See below, pp. 297, 315. It does not appear, however, whether an application was ever made. For BF’s collaboration with Thomas Penn, on an earlier occasion, to get a ship stationed in Delaware Bay, see above, VII, 285.
9. Pa. Gaz., Dec. 14, 1758, reports that the Myrtilla, John Bolitho, Captain, entered at the Philadelphia customs house.
1. These endorsements, in BF’s hand, are on different pages. The other letters have not been found; nor has BF’s answer.