From Meriwether Smith
Philadelphia, 30 July 1779. Quotes extracts from memorials to Congress from the French minister, Gérard, dated 26 and 28 July, demanding protection for M. Holker, the French consul, whose efforts to obtain provisions for the King’s fleet have been publicly protested and interfered with by a committee of Philadelphia citizens. Smith then adds: “Thus, Sir, you see the good Effects of Committees for regulating of Prices; which have occasioned a great deal of Confusion without producing any Good that I can perceive‥‥ I will take the Liberty of adding that I have it expressly from the Mouth of Mr. Gerard, that he beleives, from Circumstances the most convincing to him, that they are Instruments in the Hands of designing Men, who are not Friends to the Alliance, and wish to throw all Government into the Hands of the People by those Means, the better to enable them to attain their favourite Purpose.”
RC (DLC); 4 p. At foot of text: “(Private).” Endorsed by TJ. Except for the extracts from Gérard’s memorials, the text is printed in full in Burnett, Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress description ends , iv, No. 447.
The letter relates to the bitter popular protests in Philadelphia against the commercial transactions between M. Holker and Robert Morris, believed to be a cause of soaring commodity prices. Gérard’s memorials are printed in Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., iii, 258–60, 264, where will also be found numerous related documents; see also detailed references in Burnett, Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress description ends , iv, No. 487, note 2.