20 | Circular from William Pitt


    Whitehall Decr. 17th. 1760


    His Majesty having nothing so much at heart, as, by the most vigorous Prosecution of the War, to reduce the Enemy to the Necessity of accepting a Peace on Terms of Glory & Advantage to His Majesty’s Crown, and beneficial, in particular, to His Subjects in America; And as nothing can so effectually contribute to that Great and essential Object, as the King’s being enabled to employ, as immediately as may be, such Part of the Regular Forces in North America, as may be adequate to some Great and Important Enterprize against the Enemy; I am commanded to signify to you the King’s Pleasure, that, in order the better to provide for the full and entire Security of His Majesty’s Dominions in North America, & particularly of the Possession of His Majesty’s Conquests there, during the Absence of such Part of the regular Forces, you do forthwith use your utmost Endeavours & Influence, with the Council and Assembly of your Province, to induce them to raise, with all possible Dispatch, within your Government, Two Thirds of the Number of Men they raised for the last Campaign, & forming the same into Regiments as far as shall be found convenient, That you do direct Them to hold themselves in Readiness, and particularly as much earlier, than former Years, as may be, to march to such Place, or Places in North America, as His Majesty’s Commander in Chief there shall appoint, in order to be employed there, under the Supreme Command of His Majesty’s said Commander in Chief in America, in such Manner as he shall judge most conducive for the King’s Service: And the better to facilitate this important Service, the King is pleased to leave it to you to issue Commissions to such Gentlemen of your Province, as you shall judge, from their Weight & Credit with the People, and their Zeal for the Publick Service, may be best disposed, and able to quicken & effectuate the speedy Levying of the greatest Number of Men, in the Disposition of which Commissions, I am persuaded you will have Nothing in View, but the Good of the King’s Service, and a due Subordination of the Whole to His Majesty’s Commander in Chief: And all Officers of the Provincial Forces, as high as Colonels inclusive, are to have Rank, according to their several respective Commissions, agreeable to the Regulations, contained in his late Majesty’s Warrant of the 30th. December 1757, which is renewed by His present Majesty.

    The King is further pleased to furnish all the Men, so raised as above, with Arms, Ammunition, and Tents, as well as to order Provisions to be issued to the same by His Majesty’s Commissaries, in the same Proportion and Manner as is done to the Rest of the King’s Forces: The Whole therefore, that His Majesty expects and requires from the several Provinces is, the Levying, Cloathing, and Pay of the Men; And on these Heads also, that no Encouragement may be wanting to this great and salutary Service, the King is further most graciously pleased to permit me to acquaint you, that strong Recommendations will be made to Parliament, in their Session next Year, to grant a proper Compensation for such Expences as above, according as the active Vigour & strenuous Efforts of the respective Provinces shall justly appear to merit.

    It is His Majesty’s Pleasure, that you do, with particular Diligence, immediately collect, and put into the best Condition, all the Arms, issued last Campaign, which can be, anyways, rendered serviceable, or that can be found within your Government, in order that the same may be again employed for His Majesty’s Service.

    I am further to inform you, that similar Orders are sent, by this Conveyance, to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey; The Southern Governments are also directed to raise Men in the same Manner, to be employed in such offensive Operations, as the Circumstances and Situation of the Enemy’s Posts, and the State & Disposition of the Indian Nations, on that Side, may point out, and require.

    It is unnecessary to add any Thing to animate your Zeal, in the Execution of His Majesty’s Orders, in this important Conjuncture, which is finally to fix the future Safety & Welfare of America, and of your own Province in particular; And the King doubts not, from your known Fidelity and Attachment, that you will employ yourself with the utmost Application and Dispatch in this promising & decisive Crisis.

    I am with great Truth and Regard Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

    W. Pitt

    Governor of Massachusets Bay

    dupLS, RC BP, 9: 157-162.

    An order-in-council of 1754 had subordinated provincial officers commissioned by the royal governors to those in the regular army holding the king’s commission. Two years later, all general and field officers in the provincial forces were ranked no higher than “eldest captains” in the regular army. The 1757 warrant Pitt mentions gave provincial officers above and including the rank of colonel the same status in rank as British officers in the Regulars, although they were deemed “junior” to regular officers of the same rank. Anderson, Crucible of War, 214.