Benjamin Franklin Papers

The Secret Committee to the American Commissioners, 18 February 1777

The Secret Committee to the American Commissioners

ALS:3 University of Virginia Library

In Secret Committee of Congress Feby 18, 1777

Honorable Gentlemen

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.4 Should you have failed in obtaining the Loan, or of getting the Cloth, Cloaths, &c. mentioned in the Resolve of Congress, you will please turn the Vessel over to Messrs. Thomas Morris and William Lee, or either of them to receive such Continental Cargo as they may be enabled to send in her.5 Unless you should be of Opinion that the public Service requires that she should return immediately to North America with your dispatches, in which case you will direct what you judge best for the public good. We are with perfect esteem, honorable Gentlemen, your most obedient and most humble Servants

Richard Henry Lee
Fra. Lewis
Wm Whipple

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3In the hand of Richard Henry Lee.

4This procedure accorded with Congressional instructions: JCC, VII, 128–9. The duplicate went by Capt. John Adams in the Lynch; see Bradford to BF below, Feb. 25.

5The committee had appointed Lee, then in England, to act as commercial agent with Morris. Smith, Letters, VI, 102–3; DAB under William Lee.

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