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It gives us much concern to find that disturbances have arisen and still continue among you concerning the boundaries of our colonies. In the character in which we now address you, it is unnecessary to enquire into the origin of those unhappy disputes, and it would be improper for us to express our approbation or censure on either side: But as representatives of two of the colonies united,...
Owner anonymous; transcript furnished by courtesy of Dr. Joseph E. Fields, Joliet, Ill. (1957) Less than a month after the creation of the secret committee Silas Deane, one of its members, wrote his friend Thomas Mumford to suggest that he come to Philadelphia to find out what profit could be made under the committee’s aegis. The letter seems to have crossed one from Mumford, who explained...
Copy: University of Virginia Library On November 29, 1775, Samuel Chase brought before Congress a proposal to send ambassadors to France. John Adams seconded the motion, and a vehement debate ensued. A number of alternatives were advanced, and one finally gained approval: to appoint a five-member committee of secret correspondence for the purpose of opening communication with friends of...
ALS : Maine Historical Society By this Conveyance we have the Pleasure of transmitting to you sundry printed Papers, that such of them as you think proper may be immediately published in England. We have written on the Subject of American Affairs to Monsieur C. G. F. Dumas, who resides at the Hague. We recommend it to you to correspond with him, and to send through his Hands any Letters to us...
AD : American Philosophical Society On December 26, 1775, the secret committee contracted with Bayard & Jackson of Philadelphia to spend $15,000 on flour and other produce to be exchanged at Nantes for gunpowder, arms, and cloth. The firm had had earlier dealings with Montaudoüins frère of Nantes, to whom it entrusted the new transaction. The ship selected was the Dickinson or Dickenson ,...
Copy with DS by Nicholas Brown: John Carter Brown Library <[Before Jan. 20, 1776]: Agreed between John Brown on the one part and members of the committee on the other that a voyage or voyages will be undertaken to procure thirty-six tons of gunpowder (or, failing that, sufficient saltpetre and sulphur to make up the same amount), 1,000 stand of good arms, 1,000 gun locks, twenty tons of lead,...
DS : University of Pennsylvania Library <Philadelphia, January 9, 1776, to the New Hampshire committee of inspection: The secret committee, as empowered by the Congress, authorizes John Langdon of New Hampshire to export to the amount of $10,000 the produce of the colonies, in their service and according to the Continental Association; horned cattle, sheep, hogs, and poultry are excepted....
Text printed in Samuel Hazard, et al. , eds., Pennsylvania Archives (1st series; 12 vols., Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–56), IV , 696. <January 11, 1776: It is agreed between the undersigned members of the committee and Oswell Eve and George Losch, of Philadelphia County, that Eve and Losch will manufacture all the saltpetre delivered to them by the committee during the next year into...
AD : National Archives The invasion of Canada, authorized by Congress in June, 1775, had begun in August under Major General Philip Schuyler. Because of his ill health the command almost immediately devolved upon his subordinate, Brigadier General Richard Montgomery, who by November had captured the forts at Chambly and St. Johns and the city of Montreal. Governor Carleton escaped to Quebec...
DS : The Rosenbach Foundation <February 1, 1776: The agreement is between members of the committee and James King and Joseph Harper, Philadelphia merchants and owners of the brigantine Cornelia of approximately 100 tons, Thomas Genn master, to hire her for a voyage to France. She is to sail to a port in South Carolina to be subsequently designated, there to be loaded with rice, indigo, or...
Copy: John Carter Brown Library <Philadelphia, February 6, 1776: The Browns will procure in Europe 10,000 good blankets at approximately 4 s. 6 d. to 5 s. sterling apiece; 9,200 yards of blue and brown broadcloth for uniforms and 800 yards of different colors for facings, most of the cloth, being for privates, at about 4 s. sterling per yard and the rest, for officers, at 6 s. ; ten tons of...
Copy (microfilm): University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill <February 14, 1776: The agreement is between members of the committee and Joseph Hewes of North Carolina, merchant, one of the owners of the brigantine Fanny of approximately 150 tons, now in the York River, to hire her for a voyage to Europe. She will be in good condition and well provisioned and manned. The owners will pay...
Copy: South Carolina Historical Society; copy: Connecticut Historical Society We normally summarize contracts of the secret committee signed by Franklin, but this one is important enough to be printed in full because it was the initial reason for Deane’s going to France. Soon after he lost his seat in Congress in October, 1775, and thereby his membership in the secret committee, he began to...
DS : Connecticut Historical Society; DS : Library of Congress; copy: South Carolina Historical Society; copy: Yale University Library We the underwritten, being the Committee of Congress for secret Correspondence, do hereby certify whom it may concern, that the Bearer, the Honourable Silas Deane Esquire, one of the Delegates from the Colony of Connecticut, is appointed by us to go into France,...
Copy: Connecticut Historical Society; copy: Yale University Library; copy: South Carolina Historical Society These instructions, which were probably drafted by Franklin, are the first to an American agent in a foreign country. They mark an important step toward the assumption of sovereignty, and the committee of secret correspondence seems to have taken that step on its own initiative. The...
LS : Historical Society of Pennsylvania These instructions were composed on the day that Congress authorized the secret committee to export to the West Indies enough goods to pay for the 10,000 muskets described in the second paragraph. Bingham’s mission to the Caribbean was similar to Deane’s earlier one to Europe in that both went in a dual role. Each was the agent of the committee of secret...
LS : American Philosophical Society We deliver you herewith two Letters from the secret Committee of Congress, one directed to Messr. Adrian Le Maitre and Mr. Richard Harrison at Martinico, whereby they are directed to pay the Net Proceeds of a Cargo of Provisions Consign’d them per the Sloop Fanny Capt. Britton to our Order and We have endorsed on said Letter that the Payment is to be made to...
LS : American Philosophical Society We wrote you the 2d Ultimo by the Sloop Fanny Capt. Wm Britton which we hope will get safe, at that time we directed how you were to dispose of the Net Proceeds of the Cargo Consigned you by said Sloop and probably you may have complyed with those orders before this reaches you, if so its well, but if those orders are not executed and you remain possessed of...
LS : American Philosophical Society In Consequence of the Annexed letter of order from the Secret Committee of Congress We desire you to Account with Wm. Bingham Esqr. the bearer hereof for the Amount of the Cargo mentioned therein and either pay him the whole or any part of the Money or do with it what he may desire for the Public Service of this Continent. We are sirs Your humble servants...
LS : Historical Society of Pennsylvania We have already wrote you of this date by the Sloop Peggy Capt. Patton and directed how you shou’d apply the Net proceeds of that Cargo unless you received other Orders from us. But shou’d you receive this letter in time it will be delivered you by a Young Gentleman who will be Authorized by another Committee of Congress to receive and dispose of the Net...
LS : Historical Society of Pennsylvania In Consequence of the annexed letter of order from the Secret Committee of Congress We desire You to Account with Wm Bingham Esquire the bearer hereof for the Amount of the Cargo mentioned therein and either pay him the whole or any part of that Money or do with it what he may desire which will oblige Sir Your humble servants Addressed: To / Mr. Richd...
Reprinted from The North American and United States Gazette (Philadelphia), October 12, 1855. With this you will receive the Declaration of the Congress for a final separation from Great Britain. It was the universal demand of the people, justly exasperated by the obstinate perseverance of the Crown in its tyrannical and destructive measures, and the Congress were very unanimous in complying...
Letterbook copy: National Archives You will receive this by the Brigantine Dispatch Capt. Peter Parker and with it some letters for Silas Deane Esqr. which being of Considerable Consequence We beg you will cause them to be sent or delivered to him with the utmost Expedition and we make no doubt he has left his address with you shou’d he have left Bourdeaux. You will find herein an Invoice and...
Letterbook copy: National Archives The Brigt. Dispatch of which you are hereby appointed Commander in the Service of the United States of america, being now ready for Sea, You are to proceed immediately onboard said Brigantine for [the] Port of Bourdeaux in France and on your arrival there deliver the dispatches given [?] you herewith to Messrs. Saml. & J.H. Delap Merchts. at that place. You...
Copy: National Archives; typescript of ALS : Yale University Library We take the liberty to enclose herein some dispatches for Messrs. Saml. & J. H. Delap Merchts. in Bourdeaux which youl please to deliver into Capt. Clevelands own hands with a strict charge to take the utmost care of them and follow the orders also enclosed herein directed to him which you will be pleased to deliver and...
LS : American Philosophical Society <Philadelphia, July 30, 1776: Bradford has informed us that he has outfitted the Dispatch and appointed you commander; “he gives you an extreme good Character.” You will receive this from John Philip Merkle, and you will be bound by the following instructions until they are superseded: You will give Bradford bills of lading for the cargo, which is consigned...
LS : Maine Historical Society; letterbook copy: National Archives The above is a Copy of our last, which went by the Dispatch Captain Parker. The Congress have since taken into consideration the heads of a Treaty to be proposed to France, but as they are not yet concluded upon, we cannot say more of them per this conveyance. You will see by the Newspapers which accompany this, that the...
LS : Maryland Historical Society <Philadelphia, Sept. 13, 1776: We have been asked for powder for the continental frigate built at Baltimore. The powder should have been ordered there, and we understand you have a considerable supply; please furnish four and a half tons for the purpose to Messrs. William Lux, Samuel Purviance, and David Stewart. We will repay you in kind or supply more if...
LS : Yale University Library Your several letters of the 4th. 15th. and 26th August to this Committee have been duely received with the several enclosures and the whole have been laid before the Congress. We can therefore communicate that satisfaction which we dare say it must afford you to know that you have so far obtained the approbation of that August Body. It is not necessary that we...
LS : New York Public Library <Philadelphia, September 27, 1776: Several vessels bringing clothing have been captured. Please purchase on the best possible terms 10,000 striped blankets, 30,000 yards of blue and brown broadcloth at 3 s. to 6 s. the yard, 3,000 yards of different colors for facings at about 4 s. , and 1,000 pieces of Duffields or the equivalent at about 90 s. Use either funds on...
LS : American Philosophical Society; LS : New York Public Library; LS : Harvard University Library Having received advice that our Agent Monsr. Hortalez is dispatching Sundry Articles wanted for the Service of the United States of America to Martinico recommended to the care of his Excellency the General or the Governor and Intendant there, to be by them delivered to whoever Shall be properly...
LS : Harvard University Library; letterbook copy: National Archives Mr. Morris has communicated to us the substance of your letters to him down to the 23rd June when you was near setting out for Paris. We hope your reception there has been equal to your expectation and our wishes, indeed we have no reason to doubt it considering the countenance we have met with amongst the French Islands, and...
ALS : Haverford College Library; letterbook copy: National Archives We have this day received from the Honorable Congress of Delegates of the United States of America the important papers that accompany this letter being, These papers speak for themselves and need no Strictures or remarks from us, neither is it our business to make any. You will observe, that in case of the absence or...
Copy: National Archives We Commit to your care sundry dispatches delivered you herewith, and you are immediately to repair onboard the Sloop Independance John Young Commander now waighting for you between this and Rheedy Island. This Sloop will carry you and Said dispatches with the utmost Expedition to the Island of Martinico, where you must apply to Wm. Bingham Esqr. delivering to him all...
LS : American Philosophical Society; copy: National Archives We send you herewith a copy of what we wrote you the 1st Inst. per the Sloop Independance Capt. Young and hope some of the articles that were to be forwarded to your Island or St. Eustatia by Monsr. Hortalez have arrived. In that case you will apply for, receive and Ship them by these opportunities of our Continental Cruizers, which...
LS : Historical Society of Pennsylvania; copy: National Archives We have wrote you already by this Conveyance of the Brigantine Andrew Doria to St. Eustatia which we deem safer than the Sachem as she sails faster and is of more Force. Therefore we now enclose you some very Important dispatches for Mr. Dean and request you will forward them by the very first good Conveyance advising us...
Letterbook copy: National Archives The Inclosed letter was wrote and signed before we had an opportunity to transmit it and having now so good a conveyance as the Brigantine Lexington we transmit the Same to you as an official Letter from the Committee of Secret Correspondence which you’l observe is distinct from the Secret Committee with whom you also Correspond, by this letter you’l find we...
Copy: Haverford College Library; copy: National Archives <Philadelphia, October 23, 1776: We have written you twice today by different ships. This letter goes by the Andrew Doria to St. Eustatius, to be forwarded to William Bingham and by him to you in a French vessel. We enclose two resolutions of Congress. The first replaces Thomas Jefferson as commissioner with Arthur Lee, whom you will...
LS : Yale University Library; two copies and extract: National Archives By this conveyance we transmit to Silas Deane Esq. a Resolve of the Honble. the continental congress of Delegates from the Thirteen United States of America, whereby you are appointed one of their Commissioners for negotiationg a treaty of alliance, Amity and Commerce with the Court of France, and also for negotiating...
LS : American Philosophical Society; letterbook copies: Library of Congress; National Archives The Congress having Committed to our Charge and Management their Ship of War called the Reprisal, Commanded by Lambert Wickes Esqr. carrying sixteen Six pounders and about one hundred and twenty Men, We have allotted her to carry Doctor Franklin to France and directed Capt. Wickes to proceed for the...
LS : American Philosophical Society, New York Public Library, University of Virginia Library, British Library; AL (incomplete draft ): American Philosophical Society; three copies: American Philosophical Society, National Archives, Library of Congress This letter was in response to Deane’s of October 1, which was the first word from him in Paris that reached Philadelphia. He complained hotly...
LS : American Philosophical Society; Haverford College Library; LS without postscript: Joseph E. Fields, Joliet, Ill. (1958); AL (draft ): American Philosophical Society; copies: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; National Archives (two) The military defeats that had followed consistently on the Battle of Long Island, and had brought the British so near Philadelphia that Congress had fled to...
LS : Library of Congress; University of Pennsylvania Library; copies: Library of Congress, National Archives (four) Congress relying on your wisdom and integrity, and well knowing the great Importance of the Case, have appointed you their Commissioner to negotiate a treaty of friendship and commerce with the Court of Spain. The Idea of Congress on this Subject you will find in the instructions...
LS : American Philosophical Society; copies: Library of Congress; Yale University Library Captain Hammond having been detained longer than we expected, furnishes us with an opportunity of giving you the information we have since our last received from the Army, thro a Committee of Congress left at Philadelphia; for we have yet had no regular accounts from General Washington. On the 2d....
ALS : American Philosophical Society; LS : American Philosophical Society, Harvard University Library; copies: Library of Congress, British Library. I have the honor to enclose herein a Copy of two Resolves of Congress passed the 19th and 29th Novr. by which the Secret Committee are directed to import two hundred and twenty Six Brass Canon and Arms and equipage compleat for three thousand...
LS : American Philosophical Society; LS : Rutgers University Library ; draft: Harvard University Library; copies: National Archives (two), Library of Congress You will recieve inclosed copies of our letters of the 21st. and 30th. Decemr., and of the Resolves of Congress accompanying them. It concerns us not less than we are sure it will you, that you should have heard so seldom from us, but...
ALS : British Library; draft: Harvard University Library We have the honor to inclose you a Resolve of Congress that is of great Importance to the public Service, which has suffered considerably the last Fall, and during this Winter, by the insufficient manner in which our Soldiers were clothed. Having found much Delay heretofore in getting Cloth made up, the Congress desire that 40,000...
ALS : University of Virginia Library You will receive herewith a Copy of our Letter of Yesterday by the Lexington, with its enclosures. This goes to Boston for a Passage from thence. An armed Vessel belonging to that State will carry the dispatches and will be governed by your directions respecting her Load back, and the Time of her return. Should you have failed in obtaining the Loan, or of...
LS : University of Virginia Library; two copies: National Archives; draft: American Philosophical Society The events of war have not since our last furnished any thing decisive. The enemies Army still remains encamped upon the hills near Brunswick, and still our Troops continue to beat back and destroy their Convoys insomuch that we understand their Horses dye in numbers, and we have reason to...
LS : American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress We are commanded by Congress to transmit Copies of their Resolve of the 13 instant to all the Gentlemen abroad that hold correspondance with any of their Committees. The Necessity of Such a resolution and due attention to it, is fully evinced by the heavy expence america has been put to by many Gentlemen received into their...