Providence June 28th 1780
As our Grand Allie his most Christian Majesty the King of France, is now Sending a Fleet & Armey to act in Conjunction with the Forces of America; under your Excellency’s Directions—Preparations are now making in this State for the Reception of the same. Your Excellency well remembers I was Appointed Continental Agent, for the Navy in this State by the Honble Congress in the year 1775. To which Department I bent my Whole Strength & Interest and early in the Contest Step’d forward with a hearty Zeal, when other persons hung wavering & rather retarded matters are now Creeping into favour & Endeavouring to Step into Business, which I think are not intitled to.
During this Contest America has been very unsuccessfull in her Navy, for which I sincerely Condole with the Friends of my Country for the loss thereof as no Likelyhoods at Present of Recovering the Stab she has already receiv’d in that Department.
I Thearfore most Earnestly Intreat your Excellency would be pleas’d to Recommend your petitioner as a person for the Furnishing Supply’s for the Hospital and for other Supply’s that may be wanted for said Fleet & Armey, on the Arrival thereof, as I supply’d the Fleet of Count De Estaings when here, and had the Honor of his Acknowledgement to his general Satisfaction.
I should have Address’d your Excellency sooner had I not thought, the Business, of such Public nature would have Come through the Channel of Persons holding Offices under the Honble Congress.
But Doctr Craige who your Excellency, forwarded to this State, for the purpose of making early preparation never made himself known to my Office, but has Recommended another person for the Department, who has never had the Honor of holding a Commissn under the Honble Congress but on the other hand has been Imminceing a Fortune by Merchandize during the whole Contest & Whome our Council of Warr, has been pleas’d to appoint by Vertue of the Doctors Recommendation, and having taken no notice of the Commission I had the Honor to Bear, although I was present at the Time the Counsell sat.
I likewise here inclose you a Copy of the Instructions I Recd from the Honble Navy Board on said Business for your Excellencys further satisfaction; but on my Applycation to Chevalier de la Touch, with the voice Consull he had previously appointed, one Mr Carter agent for his prises, wch appointment seem’d very disagreeable to the Honble Voice Consull; this Mr Carter belongs to Boston and as no other Recommendation, only that he speaks the French Language Fluent. but Capt. De La Touch inform’d me what ever he wanted for the Repairs of his Ship he should apply to me for, the Honble Consull, Told me he should write to his Most Christian Majesties Embassadore at Philadelphia on the Subject.
Therefore as my Office has been Constantly kep’t Open, so that no delay of Business might happen on that account I Ernestly intreat your Excellency would be pleas’d to mention to the Gentlemen, Officers under your Excellency’s Direction this way, that all publick Business may go through the Channel (for the future) of Publick Officers held under the Honble Congress, wch then will no doubt attended to.
Your Excellency may be fully Assured I shall pay my whole Attention to said Business (as I always hitherto have done) & flatter my Self I shall give as good satisfaction as any Gentleman whatever.
But possible it may be suggested, that having had the Honor of Holding, my office as Continental Agent for sometime I must have made Something very handsom thereby.
But in Order to Obviate that Suggestion, I can with Truth Assure your Excellency, it’s quite the reverse—For I always advanc’d my Own property for what ever was wanted and waited ’till I could have it repaid me again which was always some months first, in which time the money was greatly depretiated, to my Disadvantage, and I have to this very Day upwards of £1000 advanc’d in the Cloathing Department, as well as in the Naval Department, in the year 1775...which has not yet been repaid.
This Circumstance, I don’t mean to speak as a Reflection by no means, & hope not to be understood as such but only to Explain to your Excellency Facts as they now stand; when other Gentlemen at some time was very unwilling to Supply the Department with any one Article without their money, secured to them—I am very sorry to take up so much of your Excellen[cy’s] time on the Subject. Therefore Beg your Excellency Pardon for being so Lengthy and Conclude with my sin[cere] wishes for your Excellency Success the Ensuing Campaign & hope I may expect an Answer; which will Infinitely Oblige Your Excellency’s Most Divoted and most Obedient, very hble Servant
Danl Tillinghast Contl Ag.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Navy Board Eastern department Boston. 12th June 1780
This will be Deliver’d to you by Mr Daniel Bell (an assistant of the Honble John Holker Esqr. Consul at Philadelphia,) who is accompanied by Mr Valnais. Consul of the King of France in this state, both of those Gentlemen are going to Newport, for the sole purpose of giving all the necessary Assistance to the Le Harmoine Frigate Commanded by the Chevaliere de la Touch, that was put into Newport in a shattered condition occasioned by a severe engagement with one of our Enemies ships off long Island.
We are specially directed, by the Board of Admiralty to give every Aid & Assistance, in our Power, to all Ships of our good Allies, that is in our power. We therefore desire that you in Consequence thereof, go down to Newport, & make such provision, for the sick & wounded as may be requisite, either by providing Hospitals, Medicines, or Surgeons, If Doctr John Bartlet is at Newport or near at hand call upon him, as a Continental Surgeon, if not, upon some other that is well affected to our Cause—If any spars or other Articles are wanted, that are not to be had with you send Immediately to New London, Requesting Mr Deshons to send them forward with all dispatch, in one word, let every thing be provided, that may be called for by Captn La Touch—we are respectfully your humble Servants sign’d
P.S. What ever money, you have Occasion for, let us know & it shall be furnished immediately.