<br /> Lee Letter: n317

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Committee of Secret Correspondence
Recipient: Arthur Lee

Sir

By this conveyance we transmit to Silas Deane Esq. a Resolve of the Honble
the Continental Congress of Delegates from the Thirteen United States
of America, whereby you are appointed one of their

Commissioners for negotiating a treaty of alliance, Amity and Commerce with
the Court of France, and also for negotiating Treaties with other
Nations agreable to certain plans and instructions of Congress, which
we have transmitted by various conveyances to Mr Deane another of the
Commissioners.1 We have requested him to
give you immediate notice to join him, and on your meeting to deliver
this letter and lay before you all the Papers and instructions, also to
deliver you the Resolve whereby you are appointed. We flatter ourselves
from the assurances of your Friends here, that you will chearfully
undertake this important business & that our Country will greatly
benefit of those abilities and that attachment you have already
manifested in Sundry important Services, which at a proper period,
shall be made known to those you woud wish.

This Committee will think it proper to address all their despatches unto
Mr. Deane untill they have certain advice that his Colleagues have
joined him, but the communication of them will be the Same as if
addressed to the whole.

We remain with much Esteem and regard, Sir, Your most obedt hble
Servts.

Rob Morris
B Franklin

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Yale University Library. In a clerical hand, and signed by
Franklin and Morris.

1 See JCC, 6:897. Lee, who had been acting as an overseas agent for Congress
since early 1776, had been collaborating with France’s agent
Beaumarchais in laying the groundwork for shipping French military
supplies to America. See Committee of Secret Correspondence to Arthur
Lee, December 12, 1775; and to Silas Deane, October 1, 1776, note 3.
Lee accepted his appointment as commissioner to the French court on
December 31, 1776, referring to a now missing letter of October 31
from the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Lee’s letter reflects
the tension between Deane and himself that became increasingly
important in future years. “The politics of Europe are in a state of
trembling hestitation. It is in consequence of this that I find the
promises that were made me by the French agent in London, and which I
stated to you by Mr. Storey and others, have not been entirely
fulfilled. The changing of the mode of conveying what was promised
was settled with Mr. Deane, whom Mr. Hortalez found here on his
return, and with whom all the arrangements were afterwards made. I
hope you will have received some of the supplies long before this
reaches you. Infinitely short as they are of what was promised in
quantity, quality, and time, I trust they will be of very material
service in the operation of the next campaign.” Wharton, Diplomatic
Correspondence, 2:242.