Benjamin Franklin Papers

The Commissioners to Canada to Philip Schuyler, 6 May 1776

The Commissioners to Canada to Philip Schuyler

LS: New York Public Library

Montreal May 6th. 1776.

Dear Sir

General Arnold thinking the publick interest would be better promoted by appointing Colonel Hazen to command at St. John’s and Chambly, in the room of Colonel Buel, has orderd the latter to repair to the Camp before Quebeck, where the General is of opinion his services will be more wanted. Colonel Hazen speaking the French language, and having a considerable influence over the people in the neighbourhood of S. John’s and Chambly, and being as active and zealous in the service, and as intelligent as Colonel Buel, induced us to concur with Genl. Arnold in approving the appointment of Colonel Hazen.1 As we are convinced that you wish only, and seek how best to promote the publick service, so are we satisfied that this arrangement will meet with your approbation. We are informed by General Arnold that the army before Quebeck is only victualled up to the 15th or 20th instant at farthest. We need not point out to you the necessity of keeping our forces in this country well supplied with provisions, as, excepting flower, none can be procured here, and that not without hard money. The army is entirely without surgeons: Dr. Stringer receives 30 s. a day: his assistance is much wanted at the Camp; and the Congress, no doubt, expects, when they pay for services, to have them performed.2 We desire to be respectfully rememberd to your family, and are with great esteem, Dear Sir, Your most obedient humble servants

B Franklin
Samuel Chase
Ch. Carroll of Carrollton

Genl. Schuyler.

Endorsed: Montreal May 6th: 1776 From Commissioners of Congress. B. Franklin and others.

1Hazen, while commanding at Montreal, had sent the report discussed in a note on Hancock to the commissioners above, April 26, 1776. The Colonel (1733–1803) had been a half-pay officer in the British service. He owned land near the border, and his allegiance wobbled when hostilities began, with the result that he was briefly imprisoned by both sides and both plundered his property. DAB. After he joined the Americans he claimed compensation for his losses; the accounts he submitted were considered excessive, and Congress instructed the commissioners to look into the matter. They do not seem to have made a formal report, but he was subsequently compensated. JCC, IV, 73–4, 192, 198–9; V, 812; VI, 900; Carroll, Journal, p. 73. Meanwhile his zeal was called into question. After Arnold complained of his conduct he was courtmartialed and acquitted, and subsequent inquiries upheld the verdict. For a fuller account of this phase of his career see Allan S. Everest, Moses Hazen and the Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution (Syracuse, N.Y., 1976), chap. iii. Lieut. Col. Nathaniel Buel had been commanding at St. Johns; his complete ignorance of French was Arnold’s reason for transferring him: Force, 4 Amer. Arch., V, 1155.

2Samuel Stringer, a medical officer in the previous war and later the leading doctor in Albany, was Schuyler’s friend and probably his family physician, and had been appointed the previous September to head the medical service of the northern department: George R. Howell and Jonathan Tenney, Bi-centennial History of the County of Albany (New York, 1886), p. 205. The implication in this letter that the Doctor was neglecting his duty was, if true, soon remedied: by mid-June he was at St. Johns, trying to deal with a vast number of sick and wounded. Force, 4 Amer. Arch., VI, 1039.

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