<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0110

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Marine Committee
Recipient: Esek Hopkins

Sir,

As we are informed that the Enemies Fleet and Army have Orders to leave
Rhode Island, if this proves true, you are hereby directed to fit for
Sea the Continental Frigates, Warren, and Providence, with all possible
Expedition; and order them to proceed, forthwith, to cruise upon the
Enemies Ships of War that are now interrupting the Commerce of the
United States from the Harbour of New- Port to the Capes of Virginia.
And they are to take, burn, sink, or destroy all such of the Enemies
Vessels as they shall fall in with. The other Continental armed
Vessels, that are in your Port, you will order to proceed to Sea, and
do their best Endeavour to intercept Supply Ships that may be coming to
the Enemy at New York.

You will please to see that the Wages are duely paid to the Seamen, and
that the Prize Money due to them, be paid to them by the Agent as
punctually as Circumstances will admit, to prevent Murmers among the
Seamen. We have heard some Complaints for Want of Attention to the
Seamen, which induces us to mention it to you. We wish to hear from you
as often as possible,1

and are Sir,
sour hble Servants. By order of Marine Come.

John Hancock Chairman

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Rhode Island Historical Society. In the hand of Jacob Rush
and signed by Hancock. Addressed: “To Esek Hopkins Esqr. Commanding
the Continental Navy at Providence or Elsewhere.”

1 Hopkins’ February 28 reply to this letter is in Morgan, Naval Documents, 7:1319 – 20.