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Whipple, William (1730-1785) to John Langdon

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06520 Author/Creator: Whipple, William (1730-1785) Place Written: Baltimore, Maryland Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1 February 1777 Pagination: 5 p. : docket ; 32.6 x 20.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Whipple, chairman of the Marine Committee in the Continental Congress, discusses various military and business matters with Langdon, a agent for the Continental Navy. Mentions Miss Wharton. Discusses money submitted to Langdon by the Marine Committee, including a sum transmitted to Langdon by Colonel Bartlett (possibly Continental Congressman Josiah Bartlett). Refers to Mr. Henderson and Mr. [Betten?], who delivered money from Whipple to Langdon. Mentions a ship Langdon was fitting as a result of Mr. Livingston's orders (possibly referring to Continental Congressman Robert Livingston). Mentions recent correspondence in order to keep track of letters which might be intercepted or lost. Encloses a resolution of Congress (not included) ensuring that Langdon will be commissioned to construct a gun ship. Inquires about obtaining supplies, including cordage, from St. Peter based on the orders of a Congressional Secret Committee. Reports that because of enemy vessels in the Chesapeake Bay, American ships planning to travel in the area should divert their course until further information may be obtained. Discusses guns intended for ships built in Connecticut, and the possible transmission of these arms by Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut. Relates "By acco't from abroad our affairs wear a favorable aspect, & our troops have been success full in every skirmish since the 25th Dec ... I am glad to find that you, my Friend are not dispirited, 'tho I must confess I have seen nothing yet, to dispirit a man who prefers Death to Slavery, & he that does not, is not worthy the name of an American." Refers to a treason act and the punishment of Tories. In a post script, mentions the transmission of money to Langdon by Mr. Betten. Discusses correspondence between Continental Congressman John Hancock and Mr. Bowdoin regarding the conduct of Captain John Roche.

Background Information: Langdon served as a Continental Congressman 1775-1776 and as a United States Senator from New Hampshire 1789-1801.

Full Transcript: Baltimore Feby 1st, 1777
My Dear Sir, Since my last which was of the 21st Ulto your two favors of ye 4th & 21st of Dec: have come to hand, I shall ...agreeable to your desire pay Mrs Whartons, I have heard nothing, of the Friends Advance since I wrote you concerning her but hope she is arrived safe with you, as to insurance if your orders had come to hand reasonably it wod have been impracticable to have got it done, I think by the sketch of the account you have sent me, you have omitted crediting [inserted: the] Marine Committee for several considerable sums I know Col: Bartlett sent you some about the time that I arriv'd at Philadelphia say in Marc last and I sent you I think 10,000 Dol: by Mr Henderson in April, [text loss] it the Marine Committee shod have been credited for, but by looking over my [text loss]ter you may easily see what I sent you, & Colo Bartlett cant tell you what he received for you, I am inclined to think, I sent you another sum besides that which went by Henderson, as neither the Marine nor [illegible] Committee Books are here, I can not ascertain what money you have had, I now send you by Mr Betten 30,000 Dols which you'll credit the Marine Committee I also send by him the remainder of the 20,000 residing in my hands 2,000 to pay Mr: Wharton, when his accot is settled I shall remit you the Ballance so that the sum remitted you now by Mr: Betten is 42.000 I think it wod be as good a way as any to prevent mistakes to give the Marine Committee Credit for the whole sum & debit me with the Ballance in my hands however, this as you please, I shall endeavour to [2] send you by the next opportunity a sum of Money for accot of the Secret Committee. - You say you have strip'd the Exchange as you could not get a Cargo for France, but I suppose you will fit her out for [struck: the] some of the Southern Sates in consequence of orders which I suppose you have receiv'd by Mr Livingston the letter you refer me too, inclosing accot: sales of the Exchange is not come to hand, I have always been particular in mentioning the letters I receive from you by which you'll know if any miscarries, I hope the conveyance of letter will soon be render'd more certain as measures are taken for that purpose. You seem to be doubtful of the authority you have for Building the 74 gun ship, you be assured that I ever have been, & ever shall be, careful, not exceed my Powers However for your full satisfaction I shall send you a [text loss] Marine Minutes [text loss] matter as soon as I can get at [inserted: the] Books, to quiet your mind in the mean time, I inclose you a resolution of Congress for building a 74 gun ship in N Hampshire & you may rely on it that no person but yourself have received directions either by Private letters or otherwise for that purpose. The sum you have charged for the Betsey Frigate cannot be complained of, no doubt it will be agreeable to the Committee, I am sorry that the scarcity of Cordage shod prevent your sending another ship to France, cannot cordage be had at St Peters: if you shod be able to procure cargos for that place agreeable to the directions of the Secret Committee it wod be well to order some cordage from thence provided there shod be any difficulties in procuring cloathing.
I think the Commission you charge will not be complaind of, & if others charge more I shall take care that you [3] are allow'd as much as any one else.
There is [struck: now] several of the Enemies ships now in Chesepeak Bay, & cruising off the Capes, how long they will remain there cannot be known, I therefore think it wod be prudent that those vessels I desired you to send here by order of the Marine Committee for Iron & Flour shod be directed to go to Chingoteage or some other inlet between the Capes of Delaware & Virginia, where they might get information of the situation of the Enemy & if they shod find it too hazardous to go into Chesapeak, perhaps they might get into Delaware, you'll direct your letters by these Vessels to the Marine Committee that in case I shod be absent their Business many be known, As to guns for the Raleigh, if they are not to be had from Connecticut I cannot say where they are to come from at present, Gov Trumbull was desired to send the guns which were made for the ships built in Connecticut provided there was not a probability of fiting that ship out, till more guns could be made for her, I since learn there is no probability of that ship's going to sea, this Winter nor early in the Spring, its therefore likely that the guns will be sent to the eastward, but I am suspiscious that he Boston Gentry intend to get them for the Hancock, as I have heard Capt Manly has been with Gov Trumbull about them, I wish you had sent one of the Raliegh's offices to Connecticut as soon as you received my letter, with orders to tarry there till he saw the guns on their way - we have been ecceedingly disappointed by the Fuencies here, but if the [4] guns were here the difficulty in geting [inserted: them] to you are almost unsurmountable, however I shall use my utmost endeavours, for it really grieves me to the soul to think that those ships shod lay by when they might have been of immence service if they could have been got to sea in season.
By accot from abroad our affairs were a favorable aspect, & our troops have been successful in every skirmish since the 25th Dec: the recruiting service by the best information I can get, goes on tolerably well this way, & I hope when the money gets to you, your [illegible] will soon be compleated & if we can get the proposed army in the field [inserted: with] Heaven on our side we [struck: shall] need not fear all the power of Earth and Hell - I am glad to find that you, my Friend are not dispirited 'tho I must confess I have seen nothing yet, to dispirit a man who prefers Death to Slavery, & he that does not, is not worthy the name of an American, I am sorry to find that the Tories are suffered to show so much of their impudence we [struck: never] shall ever be imbarress'd if those wreckes are treated with so much lenity, why don't you hang, Banish or imprison them? Is not your Treason act finished yet? if it is not, its high time it was; and inforced too, with just severity - This being the fifth letter sine the commencement of the new Year, I number it accordingly & shall in future number all my letters by which means you will easily discovered if any Miscarries I beg leave to recommend the same method to you
I am Your very affectionate
Friend W Whipple
John Lagndon Esq
[5] PS I am now at 8th [inserted: Feb] the detention of Mr Betten is owing to the confus'd state of the Treasury Caused by the removal form Philad he sets off tomorrow morning with a large sum of money for the Eastern states 100,000 of which is for N Hampshire exclusive of the 42,000 for you all of which I wish speedily hand as I Knw it is much wanted -
Mr Hancock has lately received two letters one of them from Mr Bowdoin, respecting Capt Roche in which he is represented in a very unfavorable light they express great surprise at his being employed & think it will be very injurious to the service, I shall transmit you copies of those letters so soon as I can procure them, I must confess I was never pleasd at his having command as he is a stranger & nothing to attach [inserted: him] to the interest of Country the Marine Committee say he was appointed by your recommendation & therefore I suppose will think you in some measure answerable for his conduct. Your W W
Inclosed you have W Bettens express for the 42,000 Dolls, I also inclose the two copies above mentioned which I have unexpectedly obtain'd

[docket:]-
William Whipple Esq
Letter Baltimore
Feb 1 a 8 1777
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People: Whipple, William, 1730-1785
Langdon, John, 1741-1819
Bartlett, Josiah, 1729-1795
Livingston, Robert R., 1746-1813
Trumbull, Jonathan, 1710-1785
Hancock, John, 1737-1797
Roche, John, fl. 1777

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarMilitary HistoryContinental CongressCongressFinanceNavyConstructionCaribbeanMaritimeGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsWeaponryBattleTreasonLoyalist

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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