A New Hampshireman and one of the most famous military figures in colonial America, Robert Rogers saw brief service in the militia during King George's War, but found fame as a commander of rangers during the Seven Years War. An efficient leader and crack woodsman, Rogers gained a hard driving reputation in leading his rangers against the Abnaki Indians at St. Francis Quebec, and for service at Quebec, Montreal, Fort Pitt, and Detroit. After voyaging to England in 1765 to advance his career, he was appointed to the command of Fort Michilimackinac at the tip of the southern peninsula of Michigan, but was recalled less than two years later for impropriety and suspected treason. He later offered his services to George Washington before serving in the Loyalist Queen's Rangers.
As Commander of Fort Michilimackinac from 1766-1768, Rogers sat at the critical nexus of the British fur trade, the point connecting the vast interior of the western Great Lakes and northern plains to the trading centers at Montreal and elsewhere in the east. His "Estimate of the Fur and Peltry Trade in the District of Michilimackinac, according to the bounds and limits, assign'd to it by the French, when under their government: together with an account of the situation and names of the several out-posts" is, as the title suggests, an overview of this most important area of economic activity. Rogers gave this manuscript to Jonathan Carver (the man he has sent on an expedition to find the Northwest Passage), who relayed it to Thomas Barton of Lancaster, Pa., who, in turn, sent it to the American Philosophical Society. It was received at the APS and referred to the Committee on Trade and Commerce on December 20, 1768.