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d, and commissioned ships, all in neutral territory, even filling up blank commissions sent out to them by the Congress for the purpose. Among expeditions fitted out by them was one under Captain Wickes to intercept a convoy of linen ships from Ireland. He went first into the Bay of Biscay, and afterward entirely around Ireland, sweeping the sea before him of everything that was not of force to render the attack hopeless. Deane observes to Robert Morris that it effectually alarmed England, Ireland, sweeping the sea before him of everything that was not of force to render the attack hopeless. Deane observes to Robert Morris that it effectually alarmed England, prevented the great fair at Chester, occasioned insurance to rise, and even deterred the English merchants from shipping in English bottoms at any rate, so that, in a few weeks, forty sail of French ships were loading in the Thames, on freight, an instance never before known. In the spring of 1777 the commissioners sent an agent to Dover, who purchased a fine, fast-sailing English-built cutter, which was taken across to Dunkirk. There she was privately equipped as a cruiser, and put in comm