Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Huntington, 19 May 1781

From Samuel Huntington

Philada May 19. 1781


Your Excellency will receive enclosed, the Copy of a Resolve of the 17th Instant, recommending to the several Legislatures to enact Laws making further Provision (as specified in the Resolve) to guard against the Abuses and deceitful Practices of the British, by making Use of Papers and Clearances they may take in American Vessels.

The Measures recommended in this and the former Resolve of the 11th of November 1780 become the more necessary, as our Allies have not only suffered by the Deception of the British, but in several Instances our own People in the West Indies have also suffered from the French, under the Apprehension that they were British, for Want of Evidence and proper Documents to evince the contrary. I have the Honor to be &c.,


FC (DLC: PCC, No. 15); at head of text: “Circular.” Enclosure (missing): Resolve of Congress of 17 May, requesting that the state legislatures enact laws “ordering the naval officers in their respective ports, to require the master and chief mate of all vessels, unarmed, as well as armed, which shall be despatched from their respective ports, to undersign their clearances in the presence of the naval officer of the port; who is also to insert on the back of the clearance, a minute description of the persons of the master and his mate, with their age, stature, complection, &c. respectively, and to certify the same under his signature and seal of office” (printed in JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xx, 513–14).

Resolve of the 11th of November 1780: The former resolution of Congress was dated 10 Nov. 1780 and was transmitted by Huntington in his letter to TJ of 13 Nov. 1780, q.v. This resolution applied only to armed vessels.

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