750 | To Thomas Gage

    Boston March 2 1769


    Mr Bowdoin wrote to you some time ago1 upon a Proposal made to Mr Winthrop our Mathematical Professor for him to go or send a Disciple of his to Lake superior to observe the transit of Venus, at which Place it is to be seen from Beginning to End. To this he received from you a favorable Answer, which he communicated to me in Council.2 We have been for a Week past considering of this, desirous if possible to find Ways & Means to fit out this Expedition. But after all we are obliged to give it up not being able to satisfy ourselves that we can constitutionally issue Money out of the Treasury for a Purpose not immediately relative to the Province: It is with great Regret that we decline this Business.

    We are obliged to turn our Eyes towards you, hoping that you will see this Business in the important Light it deserves, and find it within Your Power to expedite it at the Expence of the Crown. Besides the observing the Transit of Venus, an Opportunity which if now neglected will never return, It will also afford an Occasion to take the Longitudes of different Stations upon the Lakes even to the West^end^ of Lake superior & the Variations of the compass and the exact Latitudes, Observations, which when we consider their Importance to Great Britain, It is a Wonder they have not been taken long ago. And these Observations may be particularily3 serviceable at this Time if any Attention should be given to Captn Carver’s Travels.4

    As Mr Winthrop cannot go himself, he has proposed Mr Danforth & Mr Willard, the one lately the other now a Tutor of the College; whom he has engaged to instruct so as to make them quite capable of the Business. We think we can fit out proper Instruments here: they are willing to undertake this without any Pay; so that the Expence of transporting them & their Subsistence will be all. The transporting them may be done with the Kings Sloops & Batteaus and may be brought into the ordinary Expence of the Garrison on the Lakes; the Subsistence of them & two attend[ants] tho’ it should be plentiful would come to no great Matter & may be brought into the ordinary Expence of the Garrison on the Lakes; the subsistence of them & two attendants tho it should be plentiful would come to no great Matter & might be made extra Charge; And Sr William Johnson5 I doubt not, would so far assist this Expedition as to furnish it with Indians & Belts necessary for their Protection & for^with^ some small Presents for the most distant Nations. It would also be of great Service if you could engage an Officer who is a Mathematician & would take a Pleasure in such an Expedition to accompany them.

    Upon a Review of this Plan I flatter myself that it will meet with your Approbation; your carrying it into Execution will intitle you to the Thanks of the learned World. If you should determine upon it, no time should be lost in sending Orders to the the6 several Posts & making Provision. Our Mathematicians shall be kept in Readiness to march immediately upon receiving Orders to join Your Party at Albany; which we think will save Time. They should make the best of their Way untill they have got to the Station where they are to make their Observation of the Transit. We reckon, that if they are well attended with Sloops & Batteaus, they may get from Albany to Lake Superior in 40 Days: but 60 should be allowed for fear of Accidents; or more if they can be got. The Transit is on the 3d of June; when that is over they may make their other Observations at Leisure.

    I am &c

    General Gage

    L, LbC     BP, 7: 217-219.

    In handwriting of Thomas Bernard. A reply from Gen. Gage has not been found in MiU-C: Gage Papers.