<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0457

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Committee of Secret Correspondence
Recipient: Commissioners at Paris

Sir,

We are commanded by Congress to transmit Copies of their Resolve of the 13
instant to all the Gentlemen abroad that hold correspondance with any
of their Committees.1 The Necessity of
Such a resolution and due attention to it, is fully evinced by the
heavy expence America has been put to by many Gentlemen received into
their Service, who have found it impossible to render themselves
usefull for Want of the Language and we think this the most likely
means to save others the charge and trouble of a long Voyage, as well
as the mortification of being disapointed in their expectations. You
will therefore serve all such and oblige us by discouraging their
coming to America for Military employments.

We are sir, Your Obedt. Servants. By order of the Committee of Secret
Correspondance,

Robt Morris

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, American Philosophical Society. In a clerical hand and
signed by Morris. Addressed: “To The Honorable Doctr Benjn Franklin,
Silas Deane & Arthur Lee Esqrs, Paris.”

1 On March 13 Congress had directed the Committee of Secret Correspondence to
write their ministers and agents abroad “to discourage all gentlemen
from coming to America with expectation of employment in the service,
unless they are masters of our language, and have the best
recommendations.” Nevertheless foreign officers continued to arrive
in large numbers, with and without recommendations from the American
commissioners, causing innumerable difficulties for the Continental
Army and Congress. As a last resort, Congress began to pay for the
return passage of European officers who were not given commissions.
See JCC, 7:174, 177, 185, 189, 335 – 36, 8:406, 450 – 51, 559 – 60, 637 – 38, 721 – 22, 9: 792, 875 – 79, 902 – 5. Several letters of recommendation
from the American commissioners are in Wharton, Diplomatic
Correspondence, 2: 145, 176, 261, 265, 269 – 70, 304 – 5. See also Don
Higginbotham, The War of American Independence (New York: Macmillan
Co., 1971), pp. 214 – 16; and Edmund C. Burnett, The Continental
Congress (New York: Macmillan Co., 1941), pp. 241 – 43.