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TO THE COMMITTEE OF SECRET CORRESPONDENCE.
I have met with disappointments, unexpected as they have been affecting ; after orders and counter orders and manoeuvres, the very history of which would fill a volume, the Amphitrite departed with the first parcel of the stores on the 14th ult., and I was then in full confidence that the other vessels would instantly follow, as they lay ready in their different ports, when, to my surprise, counter orders arrived. While laboring to remove these, the Amphitrite returned into port, pretendedly through the want of live stock, k,c. by the officers. The Captain has protested, that he returned in consequence of the positive orders of Mons. du Coudray, to whom a superior power was given. I have no time to decide so disputable a point as that respecting Monsieur du Coudray's return, but the consequences have been bad. This, I must say, he acted an unwise and injudicious part, in returning into the port lie did, as he thereby gave a fresh alarm to the ministry, and occasioned a second counter order. Indeed Mons. du Coudray appeared to have solely in view his own ease, safety, and emolument, and instead of instantly despatching the ships with supplies, and thereby preventing a noise, he left the ships, and returned quite to Paris without the least ground, that I can (ind, for his conduct ; and has laid hi? scheme to pass into America in a ship without the artillery, which is inconsistent and absurd, and contrary to our original agreement, and constant understanding, as I engaged with this man solely on account of the artillery he was to assist in procuring, expediting, and attending in person. His desertion of this charge, with his other conduct, makes mc wish he may not arrive in America at all. I am sensible that my difficult situation may affect you, and therefore I shall, if possible, prevent his going out at all. With respect to the other stores they are embarked, and I am promised a permit, which is all I may say on the subject, which is left solely to my management by my colleagues.
M. du Coudray, not content with leaving the ship, took with him the papers which occasioned a still further delay after she was ready ; but I will not enlarge on these disagreeable topics, but wishing the stores at hand, I am, with much esteem, etc.
I recommend the Captain to the generosity of Congress.
- Silas Deane
- The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. Vol. I., Jared Sparks, 1829