Governor Henry to George Wythe, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, 18 November 1777

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Letter text, November 18, 1777

(From Va. State Archives, Ex. Com.)
Novr 18th, 1777.


An Estimate of the probable Expences [sic] of the current Year237 is here inclosed. It is as accurate as I can possibly make it. I have the honor to be

Your most obedient Servant

The Honble George Wythe

Speaker of the House of Delegates

Endorsed:] Letter from the Governor Nov: 18th 1777 inclosing [sic] estimate of expences [sic] for the Current Year.

Refd to Committee of the Whole on Supply.

Letter text, November 24, 1777

(From Journal of the House of Delegates.)
Monday, November 24, 1777.

The Speaker laid before the House a letter from the Governor, enclosing two letters from General Washington, together with a return of the Virginia regiments of this State in the continental service.

Letter text, November 25, 1777

Tuesday, November 25.

The House resolved itself into a committee of the whole House.

Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, That the Governor and Council be empowered to appoint commissioners, in any part of this Commonwealth, to seize for the use of the army, all proper woollens, [sic] linens, shoes,- and stockings, which shall be found in the possession of any person having purchased the same in any part of the United States of America, for sale; to have such goods valued by sworn appraisers, and to draw upon the treasurer for the amount of the value; and that such part thereof, as shall be applied to the use of the troops, in continental service, be charged to the United American States.

Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, That the Governor be desired to recommend it to the lieutenant, or commanding officer of each country, within this Commonwealth, to request of the inhabitants of his county, one pair of shoes, stockings, gloves, or mittens, for each soldier raised by the county and now serving in the continental army; for the payment of which he shall draw upon the public treasurer, who is hereby empowered to answer the said draught.

Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, That the Governor and Council be desired to give proper directions to the deputy quarter master general, to have the articles for the army, when procured, conveyed with the greatest expedition to General Washington.

Letter text, November 27, 1777

(Journal of the House of Delegates.)
Thursday, November 27.

Ordered, That the Governor be desired to direct the commanding officer of the troops of this Commonwealth, stationed in and near the city of Williamsburg, to review them at that place, on Saturday next.

Ordered, That the Governor be desired to direct the commanding officer of any of the militia companies in the counties of Botetourt and Augusta, who may have returned from the late western expedition, to retain and take care of all tents, camp-kettles, or other necessaries, for marching troops, not being private property, until further orders; and that he be also desired to write to General Hand, and request him to permit such of them as belong to the United States to be delivered to the volunteers now raising in this Commonwealth, to reinforce the continental army.

Letter text, November 29, 1777

(From Journal of the House of Delegates.)
Saturday November 29th 1777

The Council having at the Governors [sic] request taken into their Consideration the present State of the Trade carried on by this State, and the alterations that may be made in the method of prosecuting it for the future, have greed [sic] upon the following Mode as the best to be adopted: that is to say,

That all the Vessels of this State, at present employed in the European Trade, be sold on their arrival at Nantz with their Cargoes, and the produce laid out in such Goods as we may want, & shipped in French Vessels to Cape Francois, there to be delivered to our Agent & by him shipped in Pilot Boats, ordered to the safest ports to the Southward of our Capes, Except a Sum sufficient to purchase & fit out one small Sailing armed Vessel to be manned with the Crews of our Vessels & to cruise from Nantz to Cape Francois there to receive further orders.

If such a Vessel is not to be had, the Crews may either Ship themselves on board American Cruisers, or be sent passengers to the West Indies, at their Election, & if the latter they may assist in navigating our small Vessels from thence.

That we endeavor to establish a Credit in France for whatever Goods we may want in future, to be shipped in French Vessels & as French Property, to Cape Francois, & reshipped there in our swift sailing Boats engaging to pay for the said Goods by shipping Tobacco sufficient for that Purpose in any Vessel our Correspondents may send for it, for which we would allow a generous freight, and have it insured if Insurance can be made at twenty five per Centum.

That a proper Agent be appointed in France to negotiate this Business who shall be directed to request Messieurs Franklin & Deane to use their Interest with the Ministry or Merchants of France to effect [sic] our purposes if necessary.

If the necessary credit for this plan cannot be established, then that so much of the Produce of our Vessels as is requisite shall be laid out in Salt to be sent in two good French Vessels of a moderate burthen

to be chartered from Nantz to Virginia for that purpose & for carrying back a load of Tobacco.

If any difficulty should arise in this from the risque [sic] and insurance on these Vessels cannot be made in France for twenty five Per Centum, then the State will stand Insurers of them at that Premium.

That Six swift Sailing Vessels to carry about thirty or forty Hogsheads Tobacco each (or the best we have or can procure), be kept constantly running from Albemarle Sound to Cape Francois with Tobacco, or any other more profitable Cargo, to be always kept ready for them, to be shipped to France in French vessels as he may find best.

That our Agent always keep a Stock of such Articles as may be procured in the West Indies, such as Salt, Rum, & Molasses by him, to be sent in our Boats when there is room for them & that he be also directed to Charter French Vessels to bring Sale to this Country and carry Cargoes back, either to the West Indies or Europe as he can best agree, and to allow that these Vessels may come at the risque [sic] of this State if they cannot be got otherwise.

And the Governor is advised to appoint William Lee Esquire,238 late Alderman of London, now resident at Nantz Agent for this State at that Port, to superintend and direct the Trade of this State at that Port, to superintend and direct the Trade of this State, and to write to him on the subject requesting him to give the preference to J Gruel & Co 238½ as our agents there, so long as they will furnish us with necessaries on as good Terms as others. And the Governor is further advised to give directions to our Agent here to conform in all his Transactions to this Resolution & write to Gruel & Co informing them that they are to follow Mr Lees directions. All which his Excellency orders accordingly.

237Laid before the House the same day,

Ordered, That the said letter and estimate, be referred to the committee of the whole House, on the motion “that a supply be provided for the public exigencies.”


238 William Lee, seventh son of Thomas and Hannah (Ludwell) Lee. Born at “Stratford”, Westmoreland Co., Aug. 13, 1739; appointed commercial agent of the United States in France, April 21, 1777; in September of the same year he represented the government at Berlin and at Vienna; in 1778 negotiated a loan for the American Colonies in Holland; died June 27, 1795; buried in the churchyard at Jamestown.

238½ A letter of October 17th, written from Nantes by Pliarne, Penet & Co. to Wm. Aylett, runs as follows:-- “This is just to Inform you we have dispatched your Two Vessels ye Congress and Liberty we likewise contracted with Mr. John King in behalf of State which we shall send very soon as you’ll be informed per same Opportunity by Letter from J. Gruel & Compy you’ll please observe that we are the Persons mentioned in ye said firm and ye reason of our names not being explained was on acct of Mr. Pliarne being in America and myself P. Penet being Obiged [sic] to go to Germany to procure some Artillery for ye United States and other things which I’ve effected and shall send ym [sic] as soon I receive ym [sic] from ye Manufactories; but for ye future I shall rest here constantly and overlook ye Affairs myself so that any Vessells [sic] you may send from your State shall meet with every kind of Dispatch.”—Tyler’s Quarterly, I, 151.

A letter of November 26 from Wm. Aylett to William Lee announces the arrival in Virginia of “a valuable supply of Goods, per our Sloop Congress.”—Tyler Quarterly, I, 155.