Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Henry Bouquet, 10 August 1764

From Henry Bouquet

ALS and copy:4 American Philosophical Society

Carlisle. August 10th. 1764

Dear Sir

I am sorry that the first Letter I have the Pleasure to write you, must be upon a disagreeable Subject.5 The Desertion has already reduced your Two Battalions to about 750 Men, and I have too much cause to expect they will lose many more before they reach Fort Loudoun.

I can not spare so considerable a Number from the diminutive Force I was to have, and am obliged to apply to the Governor and Commissioners to enable me to compleat these Troops, and to send by a proper Person the money necessary allowing the same Terms as before, viz. The Three Pounds in advance to be afterwards deducted from their Pay and the 20s. for Every Recruit to the officers.6

This will be no additional Expence to the Public and only the application of the whole money voted for that Service, Except the 20 shs. to raise again the men who have deserted, an Article too inconsiderable to form an objection.

As I realy apprehend some Risk in proceeding on this Expedition with so few Troops, I beg you will use your Interest with the Board to obtain me that favour, and prevent a delay, which in the Circumstances would be equal to a denial.7

We are hitherto perfectly quiet here, being neither disturbed by our active Enemy, nor assisted by our Indolent and mean Spirited Frontier Friends.8 I am with great Regard Dear Sir Your most obedient and Humble Servant

Henry Bouquet

Benjamin Franklin Esqr.

Endorsed: Col. Bouquet Augt. 10.64 requesting Money to compleat the Troops. 1st. Letter after his Departure.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4The MS described as a “copy” is followed on the same folio by the text of the first of Bouquet’s two letters to BF of Aug. 22, 1764. The contemporary writing on this folio is entirely in BF’s hand. He labeled it at the top “Copies” and endorsed the fourth page: “Copies of Col Bouquet’s Letters of Augt. 10 & 22. 1764 Originals sent to Secy Todd Genl Post Office.” In a letter of July 26, 1770, he also told Lord Le Despencer, then joint postmaster general, that he was enclosing “original Letters to me from Gen. Bouquet, who commanded the British Troops in Pensilvania in 1764.” APS. The rest of the passage makes clear that BF was referring to Bouquet’s letters of Aug. 10 and 22, 1764. Despite these two statements, ALS versions of both letters copied on this folio are now among the Franklin Papers, APS.

5That is, Bouquet’s first letter to BF after leaving Philadelphia about the end of July in command of the expedition against the Indians in the Ohio Valley. The Pa. troops in his force were supposed to number 1000 men. BF was both one of the provincial commissioners named in the Supply Act of May 30, 1764, to handle expenses for military defense, and a personal friend of Bouquet of several years’ standing and had helped him before. See above, VII, 62 n, 63–5, 181–4. Bouquet wrote to Governor Penn on the same day about the subject of this letter (I Pa. Arch., IV, 199–200; Sylvester K. Stevens and Donald H. Kent, eds., The Papers of Col. Henry Bouquet, XVI [Harrisburg, 1943], 59), yet it was natural that he should also communicate with his friend in hopes of a sympathetic presentation of his problem to the other provincial commissioners.

6In his letter to Penn mentioned in the preceding note Bouquet said that he planned to raise the additional recruits in Va., “as I don’t expect to be able to raise them in this Province.”

7For BF’s support of Bouquet’s application when it came before the commissioners and for the colonel’s gratitude to his friend, see below, pp. 316, 322, 323.

8Here and elsewhere Bouquet expressed scorn for the apathy of the frontiersmen, the very persons who earlier had so vigorously criticized the Assembly for neglecting their defense and the prosecution of the war against the Indians.

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