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The Department of State of the United States.
BEFORE THE CONSTITUTION. THE first Congress of the Revolution as
sembled in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, September 5, 1774. An address to the King of England was adopted and transmitted to the agents of several of the Colonies in London, with instructions to present it to the King. They were to ask the aid of such Englishmen as they might have reason to believe were "Friends to American Liberty.” These instructions were drafted October 26, 1774, by John Jay and Richard Henry Lee,* and were sent to Paul Wentworth, who represented New
* Secret Journals of Congress, I, 58.
tent, diplomatic, and they were the representatives of a power that was soon to become independent.
The first effort by the Congress to establish a foreign service and a channel through which to conduct its business was made November 29, 1775, when the Secret Committee of Correspondence was created by the following resolutions:
Resolved, that a committee of five be appointed for the sole purpose of corresponding with our friends in Great Britain, Ireland, and other parts of the world; and that they lay their correspondence before Congress when directed.
Resolved, that this Congress will make provision to defray all such expenses as may arise by carrying on such correspondence, and for the payments of such agents as they may send on this service.
The members chosen—Mr. Harrison, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Jay.*
Franklin was chairman. The Committee at once opened correspondence with several resi
*Secret Journals of Congress, II, 5.