<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0510

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Marine Committee
Recipient: Rhode Island Council of War

Gentlemen

We have ordered the Frigates in the State of Rhode-Island &c out on a
Cruise, and as it seems they are not fully manned, We earnestly request
your Assistance that they may be manned with the utmost Expedition. If
they cannot be fully and expeditiously manned in your State, We desire
that you would order Draughts to be made from the Militia of Men best
acquainted with the Sea to assist in carrying them to Boston where they
may avoid a Blockade and procure Seamen, such of the Soldiers who may
be put on board the Frigates to be discharged, that they may return and
join their respective Companies, as may not chuse to inlist in the Sea
Service.1

We have addressed ourselves to you, Gentlemen, on a Supposition that you
are invested with Powers sufficient to enable you to comply with our
Request if it should be necessary to draught from the Militia, and that
the Genl. Assembly may not be sitting when this reaches you. If the
Assembly should be sitting when you receive this, and you are
incompetent to the

Business, please to lay this Letter before them, otherwise We hope that you
will execute it, for by doing it you will render an essential Service
to the common Cause and greatly oblige, Gentn.,

your most obedt. humble
Servants,

John HancockWilliam Ellery
Robt MorrisAbra. Clark
Wm. WhippleTho Burke
Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Rhode Island State Archives. Written by Ellery and signed
by Ellery, Burke, Clark, Hancock, Lee, Morris, and Whipple.

1 See Marine Committee to Certain Naval Officers, April 4, 1777. In May 1777
the Rhode Island Assembly authorized Capt. John B. Hopkins, commander
of the Warren to impress “a sufficient number of … seamen,
transient, foreign persons.” John R. Bartlett, ed., Records of the
State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England,
vols. 8 – 10 (Providence: Cooke, Jackson, & Co., 1856 – 65), 8:230.