<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0645

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Marine Committee
Recipient: the Commissioners at Paris

Gentlemen

Should you see this Letter it will be forwarded to you by Thomas Thompson
Esqr. Commander of the Raleigh Frigate in the Service of the United
States of America. This Ship was built in New Hampshire where is no
Foundreys for Casting Cannon and the distance from the places where
they are Cast to Portsmouth where the frigate now lies is so great that
we think it better to put on board such Guns as can be got for her in
the neighbourhood and send her to France to be compleated, than to Hall
them by Land such an amazing distance, or than to trust them by Water
to her, or her along the Coast to them, now that the enemies Ships are
so numerous and powerful at the Mouths of our Bays and Harbours. We
have ordered her to Brest as the most suitable Port for supplies.
Captain Thompson will transmit you an Indent of all the Guns, Stores
and Materials he wants and we hope you may procure an order for his
being Supplied out of the Kings arsenals or Stores. Orders are given to
the Commercial Agents to pay your drafts for the amount of such
Supplies, but if you cannot obtain them in the way proposed, you will
write to the Said Agents William Lee & Thomas Morris Esqrs. to
purchase every thing necessary on the best terms and in the most
expeditious manner they can.1

We have told Captain Thompson if you had any particular service, Cruize or
enterprize to point out for the benefit of these States, that he should
obey your Orders, otherways to return to America well manned and fitted
Cruizing on our enemies ships the whole voyage. You will therefore
write to him giving such Instructions as you may think best calculated
to promote the honor, Interest and welfare of these
States.2

With great esteem and regard
we remain Honorable Gentlemen, Your obedt. servants

Notes:

Letter book, Marine Committee Letter Book, Marine Committee Miscellaneous
Papers, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration,
Washington, D.C.

1 For an account of Capt. Thompson’s subsequent voyage to France and the
assistance he received there from the American commissioners, see
Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, 2:436; and William J. Morgan,
Captains to the Northward: The New England Captains in the
Continental Navy
(Barre, Mass.: Barre Publishing Co., 1959), pp.
97 – 102.

2 The American commissioners’ instructions to Thompson, dated 25 November 1777, are in Franklin, Writings (Smyth), 7:73 – 75.