<br /> Lee Letter: n567

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Samuel Huntington
Recipient: Thomas Sim Lee


I am sorry to inform your Excellency that it is not in the Power of
Congress to comply with your request by sending any Ships of Force into
the Chesapeake for the Protection of the Navigation there at this
critical Juncture.

I have no Doubt your request would have been complied with most chearfully
had it been in the Power of Congress.

By the Act enclosed you will see that all the Continental Vessels of Force
were preengaged in a most important Service before your Letter was

I have the Honor to be, with the highest regard, your Excellency’s most
obedient humble serv,

Sam. Huntington President


Receiver’s copy, Maryland State Papers (Red Books), Maryland Hall of
Records Commission, Annapolis. In a clerical hand and signed by

“Huntington’s explanation that all the Contintental frigates were preengaged
in a most important Service before your Letter was received” was
unlikely to have set well with Maryland officals, however, because the
legislature’s previous appeal for naval protection in June had not been
answered. For this June 12 request, which had been referred to the
board of Admiralty on June 19, see JCC, 17:526 – 27; and PCC, item 70,
fols. 373 – 80.

1 In a letter of July 28, Governor Lee had instructed the Maryland delegates
to request the deployment of a Continental frigate to the Chesapeake
for the protection of the state s shipping, which had been suffering
from British vessels patrolling the bay. “This State has always
contributed to the expence of the Continental Navy,” Lee pointed out,
“but the State or its Trade has never received any benefit or
advantage from the Marine of the United States.” The letter had been
referred on July 31 to the board of Admiralty, whose recommendations
were adopted verbatim in the enclosed August 7 resolution of
Congress. Only four Continental frigates are or will be ready for sea
this season, the board explained, and these had already been placed
under the direction of General Washington to enable him to conduct
joint operations with the French forces under the command of Admiral
Ternay. See JCC, 17:682, 7023; PCC, item 70, fols. 415 – 18; and Md.
Archives, 43:238.