<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0305

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert Morris
Recipient: Committee of Secret Correspondence

Gentn.

I have just received the enclosed letters by a Ship from Martinico, those
from Paris are of an interesting nature notwithstanding Mr. Deane’s
fears & alarms from which I think he wou’d very soon be relieved as
I sent him letters both Political & Commercial the 6th June, 13th
July, 11th August, 12th Septr., 4th Octr. & 23d
Octr.1 beside several letters since
& it is very hard indeed, if some of these don’t reach him soon
after the 25th Octr. when his latest letter is
dated.2 The Committee generally wrote
at the same dates I did which shou’d be mentioned to Congress that they
may know thereby that Mr Deanes want of intelligence has been more
oweing to unavoidable misfortunes than to any neglect, and I cannot
help repeating what I mentioned in a former letter to which you have
never made any reply, that it is absolutely necessary to employ as
Secretary to this Committee some Gentn of learning, knowledge and
extensive abilities, who shou’d be constantly employed in writing
intelligence, keeping a register or Diary of all public events,
Collecting News papers & Political Publications &c &c for
it is impossible for Members of Congress to do this & attend their
other duties as Members. This Secy shou’d also have a Clerk to Copy
& a runner after intelligence & to seek out Conveyances &c
&c.

I have got a Young Gentn that can be depended on to proceed in the Sloop
Independance for Martinico & thence to France in a French Bottom
with your dispatches marked No. 2.3 I
shall add every material intelligence since the date of your letters. I
have sent the Fly in search of the Randolph, Capt Biddle, with orders
for him to proceed for Martinico & have embraced that Conveyance
also to transmit the amplest advices I cou’d give.

I also send you herewith a packet which I recd from France some time ago
& from the old date I concluded it at that time to be a Copy of one
Doctr Franklin received before he departed. Therefore I locked it up
intending to be the bearer of it myself but accidentally looking into
it again I am doubtfull whether it is the Copy I took it for or not and
as I dont care to trust any body with the Translation of it I now send
it for you to do as you please with, and as its detention here a few
weeks has been purely Accidental I hope you will not blame me, for it
might have happened in the same manner to any of you.

I suppose the Prussian officer will soon be applying to me; those French
Gentn sent by Mr Penet are very impatient for being employed &
really I think the Congress cannot too soon determine to form a Corps
of Foreign Officers to Act in a Body & as they learn our language
keep drafting them out into other Regiments. If you want to send other
dispatches the Sachem will soon be ready to carry them & so will
the Andw Doria & Race Horse after her. The Fly being too small to
carry remittances I have ordered her after speaking the Randolph &
delivering the dispatches to proceed off the Capes of Virginia to turn
from thence the inward bound Vessels & I sent the Fly two mo[nths]
provisions for that Cruize. The Musquito wants repairs & the
Georgia Packet is loaden for Georgia.

I hope soon to see you here & am, Gentn., Your obedt hble servt.

Robt Morris

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Papers of Continental Congress, item 137, U.S. National
Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

1 Morris’ July 13 letter to Deane has not been found. For Morris’ other
letters, see entries under their respective dates.

2 In his October 25, 1776, letter, Deane complained that “your silence ever
since the 5th of last June discourages me at times. Indeed, it well
nigh distracts me. From whatever cause the silence has happened, it
has greatly prejudiced the affairs of the United Colonies of
America.” Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, 2:183.

3 Undoubtedly John Reed, brother of Joseph Reed. See Morris to William
Bingham, February 25, 1777.