Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from James Lyon, April 1763

From James Lyon3

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Brunswick N. Jersey Apr. 1763


As the least suspicion of a Letter from you to me might, possibly, dispose a curious Person to intercept it, permit me to inform you, That I have not yet been so happy as to recieve a Line from your Hand.

I need not remind you, Sir, of the Necessity of putting our Scheme into Execution immediately, if ever:4 And shall only tell you, that, without any Care or Pains of mine, for I have been entirely inactive since I had the Honor and Pleasure of conversing with you, the Number of Adventurers is vastly encreased. Daily Applications are made by Persons of Influence, who are ready to risque their all in such an Enterprize. Two Gentlemen in particular, of considerable Importance, one of which is worth £6000 or £7000 at least, came to me last Week to enquire if there was any Probability of Success, and express’d great desires to view the Country this Summer. Should the Scheme be so fortunate as to meet with your Approbation and Encouragement, I have some Thoughts of going with these Men to the Ohio, as soon as possible, while others are employed in raising the Settlers.5 We impatiently wait to know your Sentiments and Advice, for by these Laws we shall govern ourselves; and be assured, we shall make use of the most proper Measures to express our sincerest Gratitude.6 I am, Sir, your most humble obedient and obliged Servant.

James Lyon

P.S. Col. Bouquet’s Sentiments will also be very acceptable.

Dr. B. Franklin.

Endorsed:7 Brunswick N Jersey Apr. 1763 from Jas Lyon to To Benj. Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3See above, p. 231, for President Finley’s introduction of his former student to BF. Lyon presumably wrote this letter a few weeks after his conference with BF in Philadelphia.

4Lyon’s scheme for a settlement on the Mississippi, referred to above, pp. 215, 231.

5From BF’s comments to Jackson, cited in the note immediately above, it is unlikely that he would give Lyon his “Approbation and Encouragement.” No reply to this letter has been found.

6The fact that Lyon went to Nova Scotia in 1765 suggests that he did not pursue for long his scheme for western settlement. Pontiac’s Uprising and the Proclamation of 1763 checked plans for the west.

7In Richard Jackson’s hand.

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