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Marine Committee to Committee at Providence



Philadelphia, October 9, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: We have been presented with a letter from John Langdon, Esq˙, Continental Agent at Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, to Josiah Bartlett, Esq˙, a member of Congress, giving a very extraordinary account of your proceedings in respect to the cannon cast in your State for the use of the Continental frigates. He says that


the frigates at Providence cannot be ready to go to sea for two or three months, and that the frigate at New-Hampshire waits only for cannon, which, under one pretence or other, you have refused to supply him with, although they are lying useless in Rhode-Island, and another set might be cast in time for your ship. He represents your refusal of his reasonable request as having its foundation partly in interested motives, and partly in jealousy of the New-Hampshire ship being at sea before yours. We cannot pretend to judge of the propriety of his observations, having only heard one side, but if the representation he has made be a just one, we shall think the Continental interest was much misplaced when put into the hands of those who are capable of acting from such motives against the publick good. You' ll observe we do not pretend to decide on your conduct, because we are willing to hear your defence of it. Mr˙ Langdon is a gentleman of character, and puts his name to what he writes; therefore we suppose he will be ready to make good his charge.

However, it is not our present purpose to inquire into your condnct at this time, but to inform you that we have sent Mr˙ Langdon orders to call on you again for a set of cannon suitable for the New-Hampshire frigate; and as we Understand those cannon are paid for out of the moneys you have received, and drawn for, we now direct and insist that a complete, set most suitable for that ship be immediately delivered to the said John Langdon, Esq˙, or to his order, for the. use of the Continental frigate the Raleigh, now at Portsmouth; and we request that you will render him or his agents all the assistance in your power in transporting the said cannon to Portsmouth, in the most safe and expeditious manner.

Mr˙ Langdon has said nothing about shot or other stores; but as it is our business to consider and attend to the Continental interest at large, abstracted from jarring interest or jealousy of one State against another, we likewise desire you may supply Mr˙ Langdon with shot, or any other stores you have provided for the Continental service, provided he wants them to expedite the sailing of the Raleigh, which is now under orders for immediate service. We also inform you that we shall send an agent to inspect the state of the frigates built under your direction, that we may include them in our intended report to Congress.

We are, gentlemen, your obedient servants.

To the Committee for building Continental Frigates at Providence.