Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Franklin, [11 October 1766]

To William Franklin

MS not found; reprinted from extract in [Jared Sparks, ed.,] A Collection of the Familiar Letters and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Boston, 1833), p. 279.

[October 11th, 1766]

I was again with Lord Shelburne a few days since, and said a good deal to him on the affair of the Ilinois settlement.2 He was pleased to say he really approved of it; but intimated that every new proposed expense for America would meet with great difficulty here, the treasury being alarmed and astonished at the growing charges there, and the heavy accounts and drafts continually brought in from thence. That Major Farmer,3 for instance, had lately drawn for no less than thirty thousand pounds extraordinary charges, on his going to take possession of the Ilinois; and that the superintendents, particularly the southern one, began also to draw very largely.4 He spoke, however, very handsomely of Sir William on many accounts.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2For an earlier interview with Shelburne on this subject, see above, p. 424.

3Major Robert Farmar (1735–1780) of the 34th Regiment was the commander of British forces at Mobile in 1763 and led the expedition which occupied Fort Chartres in the Illinois country, Dec. 2, 1765. In the summer of 1766 he was relieved and returned to Mobile. Governor Johnstone of West Florida criticized the expenses of his Illinois expedition, but Gen. Thomas Gage defended him. Clarence E. Carter, The Correspondence of General Thomas Gage, ii (New Haven, 1933), 295, 344, 345, 508, 562–3.

4On Dec. 11, 1766, Shelburne wrote John Stuart, superintendent of the Southern District, that “the Expences of Your District run so much above all Expectation and Proportion that it is very necessary you should attend to this Point very minutely for the future.” Clarence W. Alvord and Clarence E. Carter, eds., The New Régime, pp. 454.

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