George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Mercer & Schenk, 30 June 1777

From Mercer & Schenk

Boston, 30 June 1777. Encloses a letter from “Messrs Bourdieu & Challet, a Very Considerable house in London, to Messrs Hugh & Alexr Wallace Merchts New York, It was on board of a Brig. bound to N. York from Cadize, Captured by the Privateer Ship Genl Mifflin & Safe Arrived at Casco Bay with a Valuable Cargo, particularly 4,000 lbs. Jesuits Bark a useful & we Presume much wanted Medisan for the Army. We have caused the most material part of Messrs B. & C. Letter Published, but thinking it would be a sattisfaction to your Excellency to Peruse the Original & the whole thereof, we have taken the Liberty to Inclose it.1 . . . N.B. We take the liberty to request your Excellency to forward the Inclosed for Capt. John Mercer, nothing but the hope of Accomodating a friend in distress would Induce us to take this Liberty.”

L, DLC:GW. The docket reads in part, “Ansd by a Line of Thanks.” That reply has not been found, however.

1The enclosed letter from the London merchant firm of Bourdieu & Chollet to New York City merchants and Loyalists Hugh and Alexander Wallace of 2 April 1777 predicts the eventual acknowledgment of the independence of the American states by England and the emergence of a new system of trade based on a federal union of those states. If the firm’s conjectures prove correct, the letter says, “this Country would lose some branches of it’s trade, but would preserve it’s staple, the wollens & other articles. America would then carry it’s produce directly to foreign markets, & receive from thence their produce in return. In that particular we should be less sufferers than other American houses who have no connexions with France. For such contracts as we formerly had the French must employ some Agents here; at the same time private adventurers would be sending their produce to France as before. So far it would make no material alteration to us. But the connexion between America & the French Islands would be productive of a very material alteration & a new system of trade. By the time you receive this letter, you will be able to judge whether these ideas are quite so extravagant as they would have appeared to you at this instant. If you should find that the Campaign is likely to last longer than this year, let us entreat you to take into your most serious consideration the subject now before you, & when you have weighed it properly, to favour us with your opinion at large as to the new system which you apprehend would take place in point of the trade of your Colonies in Europe & the West Indies, carrying with you that we, by our extensive connexions in France, may be assisting in both. That is to say when it can be done legally, for neither you nor we will ever attempt any trade that is otherwise” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries