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Letter to the Continental Congress


Mr˙ Thomas McFarran, attending, was called in; the Committee conversed with him on the subject of shipping Flaxseed to Ireland to obtain Gunpowder.

Thereupon a draft of a Letter to the Continental Congress, was read and approved of, and is in the words following, to wit:

In Committee of Safety for the Colony of New-York, during the recess of Congress, January 4, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: We have engaged two vessels to despatch with produce to Europe, for the purpose of procuring arms and ammunition, but the season of the year has prevented wheat from coming to market to expedite them so early as we could wish, to have a return in proper time. In these difficulties, we are unable to get bills of exchange, or gold and silver, to despatch those vessels, which we fear will totally defeat our design. We have, therefore, been led to cast our attention on flaxseed, as the only commodity in our power which will rid us of our difficulties, but find that the resolution of Congress, permitting the exportation of produce for ammunition, is confined to the foreign Islands. As our safety depends upon the country being well supplied with powder, we submit it to you whether the sense of Congress should not be taken, without delay, on our exporting two cargoes of flaxseed, to purchase powder. The measure recommends itself by several considerations. There is the highest probability of procuring powder in Ireland at a moderate rate. If this should not be the case, the flaxseed will sell at an advance price there, and be a fund upon which we can draw from any quarter of the world; and if the enemy should take the vessels, the supply will not be so prejudicial to us, or beneficial to them, as the loss of provision vessels. We request you to get a speedy answer on this point, and transmit it to us, by express, for our government.

We are, with great truth and regard, gentlemen, your very humble servants.

By order of the Committee of Safety.

To the President of the Continental Congress, Philadelphia.

Ordered, That a copy thereof be engrossed, and signed by the Chairman, and transmitted.