<br /> Lee Letter: n544

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Samuel Huntington
Recipient: Thomas Sim Lee

Sir, Philada

You will receive herewith inclos’d an act of Congress of the 17th Instant
together with the Copy of a Memorial from the Minister of France and
Copies of three other papers refer’d to in the
Memorial.1

The Wisdom & prudence which have been repeatedly manifest in the
proceedings of the Executive of Maryland leave no room to doubt they
will chearfully comply with the recommendation of Congress contain’d in
the Act enclosd in such manner as on the one hand not to embarrass the
Measures of the Agent of the Marine of France; but give satisfaction to
the Servants of his most Christian majesty our Ally; that his plans and
expectations may not be disappointed; and on the other hand that any
collusive practices under false pretext by any of the Inhabitants of
these United States to monopolize flour may be prevented.

I have the honour to be &c,

S.H. President

Notes:

Letter book, Papers of Continental Congress, item 14, U.S. National
Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

1 In response to an appeal from the French Minister La Luzerne, Congress
hereby “recommended” that Maryland “refrain from seizing the
provisions which have been purchased by permission of the State of
Maryland for the agent of the marine of his most Christian Majesty;
to replace them in case they have been already seized; and to permit
the exportation thereof.” See JCC, 16:67 – 68; and the preceding entry.
To this appeal, Congress also added a mollifying resolution
explaining “That Congress entertain a high sense of the exertions of
the legislature and governor and council of the State of Maryland to
procure an immediate supply of flour and other provisions for the
army.”

Upon receiving Congress’ “recommendation,” the Maryland Council wrote to La
Luzerne on the 24th to explain that it could not interfere with the
operation of the state’s seizure law, but the council assured him
that the act was designed only to prevent “abuses” by purchasers
operating under the cloak of the French agent of the marine, Jean
Holker, and once this goal had been achieved all legitimate purchases
for the French forces could be shipped from Maryland without
interference. For this explanation by the Maryland Council, and
letters subsequently adopted by the council on February 17 in
response to continued complaints by Holker and La Luzerne concerning
Maryland’s reluctance to follow Congress’ “recommendation” against
interfering with French flour purchases, see Md. Archives, 43:66 – 68,
88 – 90, and Maryland Delegates to Thomas Sim Lee, March 7, 1780. For
Holker’s previous difficulties with Maryland officials, see also John
Jay to Conrad Alexander Gerard, July 7.