. Charles Carroll (1737–1832), owner of a manor comprising 10,000 acres in Frederick co., Maryland, was an ardent
patriot, a delegate to the congress from 1776 to 1778, and a signer of the Declaration
of Independence (
). The appointment of Carroll, which had been suggested to
by Samuel Chase in his letter of 12 Jan.
(above), was an attempt to take advantage of his religion that in the end had no
effect on the outcome of the mission.
The commissioners were appointed on 15 Feb.; for their instructions, see
's Service in the Congress, 9 Feb. – 27 Aug., Nos. II
(above). When the commissioners arrived at Montreal on 29 April, they found the American
Army in disorder, crippled by lack of money, desertions, and the ravages of smallpox.
Canadians were generally hostile, angered by the actions of the American forces (particularly
those of Gen. Wooster) and suspicious of the attitude of the congress toward Catholicism
in view of its statements about the Quebec Act and the recognition that it gave that
religion. From the start it was apparent that the commission could do little. Franklin
left Montreal on 11 May because of ill health, and Father John Carroll followed him
the next day. Chase and Charles Carroll stayed on until 21 May and presented their
pessimistic report to the congress in June (
, 4:151–152; 5:435–436; Ellen Hart Smith, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
, Cambridge, 1942, p. 137–152; Brantz Mayer, ed., Journal of Charles Carroll of Carrollton
, Baltimore, 1845, repr. 1876; for the commissioners' letters to the congress, see
, No. 166, f. 17–56).