Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Robert Rogers, [20 February 1772]

From Robert Rogers4

AL: American Philosophical Society

Thursday Eveng [February 20, 17725]

Major Rogers presents his most respectful Compliments to Doctr. Franklin, informs him that his Petition for a Tour thro’ the North American Continent,6 comes on before the Committee of Council on Tuesday next, when he hopes for the Doctrs. Interest on that affair. At the same time requests the Doctr. will inform him where Govr. Pomlin lives.

Addressed: To Doctr. / Franklin / Craven / Street

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4For the famous figure of the French and Indian War see above, XVII, 134–5.

5Rogers presented two petitions to the Privy Council on this subject, almost seven years apart. The first was heard in committee on Oct. 2, 1765, which was not a Tuesday, and the second on Feb. 25, 1772, which was. Acts Privy Coun., Col., IV, 739; V, 316–17. The second petition was therefore the subject of this note, and the Thursday before “Tuesday next” was Feb. 20.

6Rogers had in mind more than a “tour.” His argument in both petitions was that a navigable Northwest Passage existed, and that the only way to discover it was by exploration on land. In 1772 he hoped to obtain support for his scheme not only from BF but from the Royal Society, to which he sent a copy of his petition, differing somewhat from the final version, with a request that the Society use its influence with the government. BF was presumably supposed to transmit the copy and request to the Society, but they are among his papers in the APS. The petition itself was referred by the Privy Council to the Board of Trade, which reported pessimistically, and was then passed on to the Treasury, where it seems to have been interred. Loc. cit.; VI, 417–19, 510.

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