6 May 1781
as I think myself intitled to hope the plainess and cander his Excellency has seen in my way of transacting bussiness with him has had his approbation—I thought it would not be improper to offer to his consideration some few lines written down in the same way in relation to the artillery to be put in newport from the stores of this kind belonging to the continent or [ ] particular states and I desire to answer to general chatellux about the matter till I could receive from his Excellency further direction.
I must in the first place Lett his Excellency know that from some particular notions of mine I am somewhat affraid it could be some mistake about the artillery said to be destined for the ships now building at Portsmouth so it may happen if his Excellency relys entirely on that and drop all other means of providing for the works erected at newport with the artilary necessary for th[eir] differences we could be exposed to some iretrievable miscount further more as it is necessary to apply to the congress to obtain it the indispensable time to come to an answer can perhaps be too long for the possable necesities of the circumstance.
so I concieve that without lying wholly aside this mean it would be in some degree useful to apply to the neighboring states to obtain some [ ] wanted for artilary and as by what I have heard from his Excellency I am sensible that a [pressing] and peremptory recquisition on that be half would perhaps not very conveniantly come from hisself could not such recquisition be made by the French general who on very obvious reasons can be more easily excused for the improprety if any in the demand and may be more effectually operate on the minds of the rulers of the several states specially if accompaned with some expressions of his Excellency approving of the demand.
If I am in the right in this my opinion his Excellency can either propose it [descetly] to general Rochambeau or derect me to advise him of it by the way of general chatellux as all this Business has been till now come to me by this channell.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
c.6 May 1781
Extract of the Orders of General Rochambeau to Dy Adjt General Menonville.
Mr Menonville must take notice of a letter from Docr Franklin to the president of Congress, to enable himself to pay draughts on him by a supply of subsistence made by the United States for the French Forces serving in America.
He shall likewise take notice of one Resolve of the Congress who approving the [proposition] made by Dr Franklin promise to supply the French Troops with Flour—Corn—Meat &c. to the amount of 400,000 dollars payable on the order of the Congress in France.
He will set out directly for New Windsor, where he is to confer with His Excellency General Washington on this Business and the ingenuity of his Character is too well known to entertain the least doubt of his intention of supplying the french Forces with every thing they can want, when the subsistence of his own army is secured, and it is hoped he will let Mr Menonville know what can be depended upon without making the subsistence of the Continental Army doubtful and precarious, and in the various stages the affairs can run in, in the course of the ensuing Campaign, when all the Forces sent to the West Indies must be looked on as lastly directed this way, when supplies of men can come in on a sudden—so it looks very important to know before hand what sort of supplies can be expected and afforded on both sides, in some variety of probable cases and events.
this being the object of sending Mr Menonville to General Washington, he shall let it know to His Excellency and take his orders to act accordingly with the Congress and he will continue his journey to Phila[d.] with the Instruction he shall receive from His Excellency [ ].