From the Committee for Foreign Affairs
In Committee for foreign Affairs Philada. Octr. 28th. 1778
While we officially communicate to you the inclosed Resolve1 the Foundation of which you cannot remain a Stranger to, we must intreat you to be assiduous in sending, to those Commissioners who have left France and gone to the Courts for which they were respectively appointed, all the American Intelligence which you have greater Opportunity than they to receive from hence, particularly to Mr. Izard and Mr. Wm. Lee.2 We do not often send more than one Set of Gazettes by one Opportunity; and we hear of several Vessels which have miscarried.
Congress must and will speedily determine upon the general Arrangement of their foreign Affairs. This is become, so far as relates to you, peculiarly necessary upon a new Commission being sent to Doctor Franklin. In the mean Time we hope you will exercise your whole extensive Abilities on the Subject of our Finances. The Doctor will communicate to you our Situation in that Regard. To the Gazettes and to Conversation with the Marqs. De la Fayette we must refer you for what relates to our Enemies; and close with our most cordial Wishes for your Happiness, Sir Your affectionate Friends
Richard Henry Lee
RC with one enclosure (Adams Papers); docketed: “Hon. Comtee. Lee & Lovell”; and in CFA’s hand: “October 28th 1778. Resolution of Congress inclosed.”
1. The enclosed resolution, signed by Charles Thomson and dated 22 Oct., informed the minister plenipotentiary at the French Court and the commissioners to other European courts that the congress desired that they cultivate “harmony and good understanding” among themselves (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 12:1053). Clearly resulting from reports of dissension among the American representatives in Europe, the resolution was irrelevant to JA, because since Franklin’s appointment he no longer held an official position.
2. The committee’s request that JA transmit intelligence to Ralph Izard, Commissioner to Tuscany, and William Lee, Commissioner to the courts at Berlin and Vienna, indicates the degree to which it was uninformed of the status of American diplomacy in Europe. Neither Izard nor Lee had been able to carry out their missions, and by the date of this letter both were residing in or near Paris.