<br /> Lee Letter: n549

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Maryland Delegates
Recipient: Thomas Sim Lee

Sir, Philadelphia,

We are honor’d by your Excellency’s Favor of 18th
last.1 The Minister of France knows very
well, however wrong he may have deemed the Measure, that the Seizing
the french Flour was to releave the exceeding great Distress of the
Army, & we have never understood, or even heard it suggested, that
the Conduct of the State was imputed to any other Motive. We have no
Reason to think that he doubts the Attachment of Maryland to the
Alliance, & have heard him express Pleasure at the Receipt of your
Excellency’s late Letter, which he says is fully
satisfactory.2 We have set before him, in
the clearest Point of View we cou’d, the Extent of your Powers, which
will not permit the suspension of any Law, without an Exception for
that Purpose, & that it is your Duty to see all Laws executed in
the utmost Extent; of all which he appears fully persuaded. The
Consequences which he mentions to have imparted to one of us were, that
as he found the Supplies were uncertain, & not to be depended upon,
even after being purchased & stored, he cou’d not, under such
Uncertainty, invite a french Fleet to our Coast. We have ever esteemed
it our Duty, & hoped we had discharged it, to communicate to the
Governor & Council, in Recess of Assembly; all Matters of
Importance acted upon in Congress which may relate to Maryland;
therefore are at some Loss for the Meaning of your last Paragraph, as
we know of no Matter of Importance, relative to the State lately
discussed which has not been forwarded – there is indeed a Report of a
Committee on the Application of Mr Holker for three thousand Barrels of
Flour over & above the Quantity last assigned, which when passed,
we shall not fail to communicate.3 We have
the Honor to be with the most perfect Respect,

Yr Excellency’s most
obt. & very hum. Servants,

Geo Plater
James Forbes

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Maryland State Papers (Red Books), Maryland Hall of
Records Commission, Annapolis. Written by Plater and signed by Plater
and Forbes.

1 Lee had written to the Maryland delegates on February 18 regarding the
purchase of clothing for Maryland troops, for which see Maryland
Delegates to Lee, February 23, 1780. The letter to which the
delegates are replying here, however, is a February 17 letter from
Lee relating to Maryland’s seizure of flour purchased by the French
agent of marine Jean Holker, for which see Md. Archives, 43:89 – 90;
and Samuel Huntington’s letters to La Luzerne and to Lee, January 18,
1780.

2 For the Maryland Council’s February 17 letter to La Luzerne, see Md.
Archives, 43:88 – 89.

3 See Samuel Huntington to Certain States, March 11, 1780, note 1. In
addition, Maryland was also sent an emergency appeal for flour for
the Continental Army by the Board of War this day, since New Jersey
was already nearly “exhausted by its Exertions for the Supply of the
Troops this Winter.” See Md. Archives, 43:444.